Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) encompasses several interrelated elements: mistrust, particularly regarding other persons’ intents; wariness, involving a heightened watchfulness for evidence of hidden ill will or impending harm; referentiality, which is a tendency to presume that it is oneself who is the object of others’ attention and the target of their ill will; negative emotionality, unsurprising given that supposed harm is at stake; and, perhaps, overreactivity to particular kinds of harm, such as being ridiculed or betrayed. This entry describes the diagnostic criteria for PPD, related conditions, and research on PPD’s causes and treatment.

Diagnostic Criteria

An “official” definition of PPD is found in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). It begins with the general statement that PPD ...

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