How Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy Help Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder?

When a person has a pattern of distrust with persistent suspicion of others, it can feel uncomfortable. What’s more, this can be perceived by others as odd thinking and behavior. As a result, a person who has symptoms of paranoia may become completely isolated from others. This isolation may not only be a result of rejection from others but also result from a fear of hidden threats or malicious intentions. Further compounding the problem is that an individual may refuse to confide in others for fear the other party will use that information against them. Because of this, it can be difficult to treat paranoid personality disorder (PPD). However, choosing professional mental health treatment can significantly improve the quality of life of those with PPD. 

What Is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

According to the journal Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, in the past, PPD was thought to be associated with a separate mental health condition called schizophrenia. This assumption was due to the astonishing similarity of paranoia and suspicious thought patterns. After continued research, PPD became another diagnosis that is considered milder than schizophrenia. 

Over time, the medical community has also acquired a greater understanding of the possible causes of these symptoms. The journal mentioned above reports that based on four cross-sectional studies, childhood trauma such as neglect and physical abuse may be a risk factor for developing PPD. Additionally, genetics play a major role in the development of the condition. Brain trauma is yet another risk factor. 

PPD is often linked with other personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD). Therefore, individuals with PPD are at an increased risk for developing symptoms of BPD such as suicidal thoughts and attempts. 

Paranoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

According to the aforementioned journal article, individuals diagnosed with PPD may present with varying characteristics. However, a majority of individuals experience symptoms such as: 

  • Hypervigilance
  • Intense paranoia
  • Negative emotionality
  • Aggression
  • Cognitive rigidity
  • Hostile disposition
  • Unjustified suspicion of others
  • Grudge holding
  • Impaired social cognition

Self-Help Strategies to Help Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder

Although PPD can be one of the most challenging mental health disorders to treat, practicing self-care in addition to attending psychotherapy can be extremely beneficial in establishing long-term mental stability. These strategies can be especially helpful for individuals who have a more severe case of PPD. 

A person with PPD can benefit from learning self-help strategies that help them cope on a day-to-day basis. Self-medicating with drugs and alcohol is strongly discouraged by mental health care professionals as it can worsen one’s mental illness or potentially interfere with treatment. Creating a self-care routine can serve as a positive distraction and a healthy outlet when feeling overwhelmed with symptoms of PPD. Self-help strategies may consist of: 

  • Getting a sufficient amount of sleep 
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Participating in sober activities
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Walking trails and spending time outdoors
  • Exercising or staying active

How Can Dialectical Behavior Therapy Help Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder?

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services (MDHS), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) has been clinically proven to assist individuals facing challenges with PPD. This type of therapy is one of the best and most effective evidence-based treatments for individuals with PPD. Through this therapy, individuals can learn safe strategies to cope with the stress associated with this mental illness. DBT can also help individuals develop mental stability and healthy connections with others. 

DBT is based on effective cognitive-behavioral principles, which means that it involves challenging distorted thought processes. Depending on the facility chosen, a person may attend a DBT intensive outpatient program every week. Someone can usually attend group skills training or take on a more individualized treatment approach if they prefer. Regardless of the route taken, DBT can help individuals with PPD appropriately manage past trauma and effectively respond to life-threatening behaviors or paranoid thoughts without self-medicating. 

Moving Forward With 12 South Recovery to Treat Paranoid Personality Disorder

A person with PPD may feel hesitant to surrender to professional mental health treatment. This can be especially true because of their persistent feelings of mistrust and paranoid thoughts related to others. Although this is common, individuals with PPD have found DBT with 12 South Recovery to be effective in developing problem-solving skills and helpful strategies to better cope with their condition. 

At 12 South Recovery, clients learn new life skills and find relief from problematic behaviors with each session. They may find that their emotions are more regulated and their relationships are improved. Another benefit can be that clients learn appropriate coping mechanisms they can use when met with certain triggers associated with PPD. 

It is crucial for clients to stay committed to their individualized treatment plan to achieve long-term recovery. Using the skills learned in DBT therapy in addition to self-care practices can significantly increase one’s progress with their mental health. Journaling any concerns and reporting them to a mental health professional can also ensure a more comfortable path moving forward. Reaching out to friends and family can also help provide the emotional support needed to stay on track with treatment.  

It can be challenging to manage paranoid personality disorder (PPD). However, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) can help individuals learn the tools needed to manage their symptoms. Fortunately, the staff members at 12 South Recovery are knowledgeable about treating PPD. At the core of our facility is our client-centered focus that considers each individual’s unique mental health needs. We understand that individuals struggling with personality disorders and/or substance abuse disorder (SUD) usually cannot solve their problems alone. When personality disorders are involved, seeking support is imperative. If you are facing problems with past trauma, substance misuse, or PPD, call 12 South Recovery at (888) 830-8374. We can help you manage your condition and create a healthy, worthwhile life. 

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