Teen Paranoid Personality Disorder, What Is It?
Those with Teen Paranoid Personality Disorder experience constant feelings of mistrust of others and fears that conspiracies are always at work against them. This mistrust and suspicion can extend to all areas of a teen’s life, to a degree where he/she doesn’t feel anyone is trustworthy. The teen may suspect others of trying to control them, having hidden agendas, or having dishonest motivations in general. This can lead to them becoming obsessively independent, and isolating themselves from everyone else, whom they consider to be a potential threat.
What It Looks Like
In addition to a general suspicion that others are untrustworthy and possibly against them, sometimes people with the disorder target a certain person as a particularly suspicious entity. Many times, the suspected person is someone close to the teen, such as a teacher, parent, or friend. The teen will believe that this person has hidden agendas that will ultimately lead to harm, and so, this person becomes the target for much defense and hostility.
In addition to a general sense of suspicion and paranoia, those with Teen Paranoid Personality Disorder commonly show some or all of the following symptoms:
- Reading into basic statements as having hidden meanings
- Maintaining a distance between themselves and others
- Argumentative nature
- Aggressive tendencies
- Overall hostility toward others
- Suspicious of kindness
Characterized by extremely high confidence and related stubbornness, causing people to behave obstinately, regardless of potential harm it may cause others
Characterized by narcissistic tendencies, such as boasting and exaggerating their own qualities, in order to hide or diminish their flaws
Characterized by a negative overall attitude, resulting in consistent whining, arguing, and being resentful and moody
Characterized by extreme suspicion of others and harm they may cause, leading people to be reclusive and avoid social interaction, in order to avoid the inevitable harm that awaits them
Characterized by an overall hostile and callous demeanor, as well as a desire to seek to take revenge upon those by whom they feel wronged
The idea of treatment in and of itself can be extremely difficult and threatening to people with Paranoid Personality Disorder, because often the people don’t view themselves as paranoid. Because of this, the suggestion that they need help and/or the presence of doctors and therapists all fall under suspicion and therefore, are untrustworthy. This foundational disbelief can be a real challenge in trying to implement treatment.
If, however, a teen with the disorder is willing to seek treatment, the first step is for the therapist to build a sense of trust with the teen, which may take time. Once this trust is established, a therapist can work with the teen to address their false negative views and suspicions and, in time, help them to replace those negative belief systems with positive and true ones.
Medication can provide some relief from the symptoms and anxiety a teen may be feeling, but is again, often seen as a suspicious threat and therefore, a challenging option to argue.
How successful is teen treatment for Paranoid Personality Disorder?
Because of the nature of the disorder, the suspicion and doubt a teen has toward most things will often include the therapists, facilities, and medications that treatment usually entails. This is a common challenge and one for which parents or loved ones of the teen should be prepared. With this being said, once a teen is willing to engage in therapy- ideally including talk therapy as well as medication- real progress toward changing the teen’s belief system, is very possible.