Paranoid personality disorder is listed in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) - this disorder is characterized by a pervasive distrust and suspicion of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
- Suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
- Is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
- Is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
- Reads benign remarks or events as threatening or demeaning.
- Persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
- Perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
- Has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner.
Those with paranoid personality disorder are hypersensitive, are easily slighted, and habitually relate to the world by vigilant scanning of the environment for clues or suggestions to validate their prejudicial ideas or biases. They tend to be guarded and suspicious and have quite constricted emotional lives. Their incapacity for meaningful emotional involvement and the general pattern of isolated withdrawal often lend a quality of schizoid isolation to their life experience.