Treatment for Paranoid Personality Disorder and Addiction

paranoid personality disorder

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is overwhelming. However, when a person also suffers from addiction, it seems hopeless. But, addiction and paranoid personality disorder treatment eases the suspicion of PPD and corrects behaviors of addiction.  

A dual-diagnosis of PPD and addiction needs integrated treatment. It’s crucial because treating one disorder leaves people suffering from the other. As a result, people have a recurrence of symptoms and behaviors.

Integrated treatment includes:

  • Identify the causes of addiction and PPD 
  • Gain greater insight into how thoughts affect behaviors
  • Improve stress coping skills without using drugs or alcohol
  • Combination of  traditional and holistic therapies
  • The proper use of pharmacotherapy

What is Paranoid Personality Disorder?

A paranoid personality disorder is a mental health condition. PPD symptoms include intense suspicion and distrust of others. Also, it interferes with thoughts, actions, and daily life. 

For example, people with PPD are looking looking for signs of deceit and threats. Even if it’s unfounded, they still question people’s motives. But if they feel rejected or judged, they respond with anger or blame others. 

The fear and distrust of paranoid personality disorder make forming and keeping relationships hard. This fear also interferes with work and home life. Loved ones get frustrated over the blame, stubbornness, and hatred. 

Paranoid personality disorder also makes people exaggerate the negative in any situation.  As a result, friends and family pull away. When friends pull away, it further fosters paranoia and distrust. But, paranoid personality disorder treatment builds the skills to form and maintain relationships. 

Signs and Symptoms of Paranoid Personality Disorder

PPD appears in early adulthood. But, it is seen in children. Moreover, men are affected by PPD more than women. To begin with, those with PPD don’t see their behaviors as odd or wrong. Instead, they see it as defending themself against harm and betrayal from others. 

Common symptoms of paranoid personality disorder include:

  • Unrealistic suspicion that others are trying to harm or deceive them
  • Obsession over the lack of loyalty from friends and family
  • Being secretive in fear that others will use personal information against them
  • Isolation or detachment
  • Cold, controlling, jealous
  • Finding hidden meanings in innocent conversations or events
  • Overly sensitive to the perceived judgment
  • Responding with anger or controlling behaviors
  • Repeatedly accusing a spouse of cheating

Although it’s a common personality disorder, PPD can be difficult to detect. After all, at some point, most people are wary and behave angrily. That doesn’t mean they have PPD. Furthermore, anxiety and addiction are common with PPD.  

Common Co-Occurring Disorders with Paranoid Personality Disorder

People with paranoid personality disorder risk co-occurring mental disorders. They include obsessive-compulsive disorder, substance use disorder (SUD), and other personality disorders. A study in Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports states 75% of people with PPD had co-occurring personality disorders, SUD, and panic disorder. 

Common co-occurring disorders with PPD include:

Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorder

Paranoid personality disorder and addiction often co-occur. It’s because people are looking to escape their symptoms of PPD. Alcohol and some drugs can be calming and lessen the anger. They can also reduce negative obsession and anxiety.

Unfortunately, the effects are temporary. The use of substances also leads to intense symptoms of PPD. Additionally, it lowers inhibitions and enables those with PPD to act on anger, causing harm to themself or others. 

Common symptoms of PPD and addiction:

  • Affects daily life
  • Angry outbursts
  • Ignores/denies there’s a problem
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Isolation from friends and family

Obstacles to Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

The first challenge to paranoid personality disorder treatment is getting the person to see there’s a problem. And, they need treatment for distorted thinking. However, forcing a person to seek treatment often backfires. Unfortunately, this adds to the paranoia that people are out to get them. 

Another challenge to paranoid personality disorder treatment is getting the person to trust others. The suspicion and mistrust of PPD make it hard to trust those trying to help. But, the relationship between therapist and member is vital in paranoid personality disorder treatment.

The right therapist is patient with people struggling with PPD and addiction. Treatment must feel like they are in charge and leading the way to recovery. Additionally, the therapist encourages lifelong treatment that supports recovery. 

Addiction and Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Addiction and paranoid personality disorder treatment focus mainly on therapy. It helps people build trust and improves communication skills.  As a result, people develop and maintain healthy relationships. 

However, group therapy may increase paranoid thoughts and anxious behaviors. So, individual therapy in paranoid personality disorder treatment is often more helpful than group therapy.  

Individual Therapy in Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Behavioral therapies help in co-occurring addiction and paranoid personality disorder treatment. They include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectal behavior therapy (DBT). But the key to paranoid personality disorder treatment is focusing on both disorders at once. 

Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment: Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

CBT helps members become aware of their paranoia. It also helps them understand how it affects their beliefs. Even though they don’t see a problem, their actions push people away. 

CBT in paranoid personality disorder treatment can help with recovery. The benefits include:

  • Members with PPD and addiction believe they are bad. As a result, they interpret everything negative. Above all, this confirms the belief they are bad.  
  • CBT helps members become aware of their thoughts. It also allows them to understand how thoughts affect feelings and behaviors. 
  • CBT helps get rid of the negative thoughts by revisiting situations and experiences. 
  • The CBT approach gives members control over their feelings and thoughts. 

Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment: Dialectal Behavior Therapy

Members with PPD and addiction benefit from DBT for many reasons. They include:

  • While people may seek treatment, they tend to leave early. They find it difficult to open up. And shut down when feeling judged. Although they crave attention, they act in anger when questioned or corrected. 
  • DBT helps members find a balance. It is useful in individual and group settings. 
  • The focus of DBT is emotional awareness and social skills. These skills help control paranoid thoughts and interact with others. 
  • DBT uses mindfulness. Mindfulness allows members to observe their emotions without reacting. 

Importance of Integrated Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Integrated treatment is essential for anyone struggling with PPD and addiction. Since addiction is from self-medicating to cope with PPD, treating only PPD will still leave a person fighting addiction. Furthermore, only treating the addiction leaves those with PPD struggling to cope with symptoms of PPD. 

Paranoid personality disorder treatment should be individualized to meet the needs of each person as well. A “whole person” approach to paranoid personality disorder treatment addresses the person’s physical, mental, social, and emotional needs. For the most part, treatment plans should include:

  • Individual therapy
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Prevention of recurrence of use
  • Support groups and 12-step meetings
  • Holistic or alternative therapies
  • Ongoing lifelong aftercare

Although the symptoms of PPD make it difficult to feel comfortable in group settings, it’s essential to add them eventually. 

Holistic Therapies in Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Holistic addiction and paranoid personality disorder treatment consider the whole person. The whole person includes the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Besides, healing begins from the inside. So, the focus of holistic therapies is the balance between mind, body, and spirit. 

Those with PPD and addiction spend a lot of time alone; hence, they spend a lot of time in their heads. As a result, they believe their thoughts and beliefs are the only truth. But, holistic therapies help mindfulness, self-care, and self-acceptance. 

Yoga in Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Yoga is popular in holistic addiction and paranoid personality disorder treatment. It’s a form of exercise that consists of poses, smooth transitions, and rhythmic breathing. It helps members become in tune with their bodies. Yoga is followed up with meditation and relaxation.

Members benefit from yoga by:

  • Decreasing stress
  • Motivates recovery
  • Encourages exercise 
  • Boosts better nutrition and diet
  • Improves sleep
  • Decrease the cravings for drugs and alcohol
  • Helps grounding and healthy thoughts in PPD

Mindfulness in Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Mindfulness is being present in your own life. It brings greater awareness and a real understanding of self and the world. Because PPD causes unrealistic negative thoughts, mindfulness is essential to staying focused on what is the truth. 

Three main parts of mindfulness include:

  • Is it intentional?
  • Is it accepting?
  • Is it nonjudgmental?

Meditation in Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Being in addiction and paranoid personality disorder treatment can be overwhelming. And, during moments of high stress or feelings of leaving treatment, meditation can help. Different techniques are also used to reduce stress and maintain recovery. 

  • Visualization meditation
  • Deep breathing
  • Om meditation
  • Focus meditation

Meditation is beneficial in treating addiction. It allows members to eliminate worries, cravings, and stress. Likewise, by reducing stress and relaxing, members with PPD find it easier to control negative thoughts.

Gain Control of Your Life at Sana Lake Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and PPD, there is help. Paranoid personality disorder treatment at Sana Lake Recovery Center offers integrated treatment to heal the whole person. Contact us today and start your journey to recovery.

References:

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000938.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4176679/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5793931/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972129/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18186120/

Article Reviewed by David Sherman, MD

David Sherman, MDDavid Sherman, MD is a Fellow of the American Society of Addiction Medicine (FASAM) and board certified in Addiction Medicine with the American Board of Preventive Medicine. He is a native Missourian and graduated medical school at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. Dr. Sherman completed a two-year fellowship in Addiction Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He leads a highly trained staff of master level certified addiction professionals. Men and women from all over Missouri and the United States come to Sana Lake Recovery Center to get the care they need and deserve.