Paranoid –The truth and Danger of Misdiagnosing Personality Disorders (Part 2- Cluster A)

Paranoid! She is paranoid because she is jealous for no reason! He is always on the look out for someone being after him at work!

Is this enough for a diagnosis of a Cluster A personality disorder, called Paranoia?

Paranoia is one of the three personality disorders under Cluster A (odd, eccentric cluster)

All these personality disorders have in common DETACHMENT.

Many personality disorders overlap, but to meet a diagnostic criteria, they must cause functional impairment in one’s social life as well as subjective distress. In other words, the symptoms are distressing to the person and make their functioning in society difficult.

Paranoid Personality Disorder is characterized by distrust in others. Others are out to get them, humiliate or hurt them. Many times people suffering from this disorder are litigious and would express pathological jealousy. They don’t confide in others and as a result don’t have close relationships. (

Since many personality disorders may co-exist, or paranoia may be present as a result of other conditions, it is essential to make sure the diagnostic meets all criteria.

For instance, paranoia may occur during a psychotic episode, or may be attributable to a substance use disorder ( Such an episode of “paranoia,” does not qualify as a personality disorder.

Other disorders could occur with Paranoia PD:

Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, depressive disorder, anxiety, (agorophobia) OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and substance related and addictive disorders.

Diagnosing correctly a personality disorder is essential to really being able to help the person and all criteria must be considered when making a diagnosis, not just a symptom.

Rodica Mihalis, M.S.

Counseling and Clinical Psychology


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