At Visions Treatment Centers, we approach teen paranoid personality disorder treatment through a long-term therapy process, helping adolescents identify and address harmful thoughts and behaviors.

Paranoid personality disorder describes a persistent pattern of distrusting others and being suspicious of peers for little to no reason. Teens with paranoid personality disorder will assume others are out to harm them with no evidence and will consistently struggle with fear regarding other people’s intentions across settings and groups, including family members, classmates, teachers, and friends.

This can manifest in a variety of harmful ways, including aggressive standoffishness, hypervigilance resulting in violence, passive aggressiveness and aloofness, distancing and isolating oneself from others, and a deeply sardonic attitude towards friends and peers when suspicions arise. Teens with paranoid personality disorder may seem cold or isolated, are overly critical of others, and feel the need to control those around them.

While the causes behind paranoid personality disorder remain unknown, researchers have found potential genetic links to instances of schizophrenia and psychosis (delusional thinking or hallucinations) in the family. As with most personality disorders, trauma may also play a significant role in developing or triggering symptoms, especially unfounded suspicion, and paranoia.

Common Teen Paranoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

Teens with paranoid personality disorder are often described as hostile and self-important. They may be deeply distrusting and insecure, and as such as generally unforgiving, suspicious of others, and jealous.

While these are all normal emotions in their own right, an important distinguishing factor in paranoid personality disorder is the degree to which these reactions and interpersonal conflicts interfere with a teen’s normal functioning, and the degree to which they can be reasonably founded on truth.

Teens with paranoid personality disorder may often exhibit these emotions for no apparent reason or will be adamantly distrustful of others. Some telltale teen paranoid personality disorder symptoms include:

  • Believing others have hidden motives
  • Doubting loved ones “loyalty”
  • Not taking criticism well
  • Quick to anger and react aggressively
  • Often detached and removed from others
  • Reading hidden meaning into innocuous statements
  • Believe they are always right/unable to see their own faults


Teen paranoid personality disorder can occur on its own, yet may often co-occur with symptoms of schizophrenia, other examples of psychosis or delusional thinking, as well as mood disorders and anxiety. The degree to which a teen’s distrust and unreasonable paranoia affects their lives and relationships can differ, with some cases being more severe than others.

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Teen Paranoid Personality Disorder Treatment

Teen paranoid personality disorder treatment relies on long-term therapy. There are no medications approved for therapeutic use in teen paranoid personality disorder treatment, although psychiatrists may prescribe certain medications to combat co-occurring symptoms, especially symptoms of psychosis or persistent low mood. At Visions Treatment Centers, teen paranoid personality disorder treatment includes (but is not limited to):

Psychotherapy

At Visions, we rely on cognitive behavioral therapy to help teens with paranoid personality disorder recognize how their disorder is affecting their thinking and their relationships. Teens begin to distinguish between their disorder and reality and learn to separate feelings of being betrayed or perceiving harm from what is really going on. This process may require a lot of time investment, and progress may be slow. However, it can make a serious difference in a teen’s relationships and interpersonal skills.

Medication

As mentioned previously, there is no medication currently approved for the treatment of paranoid personality disorder. However, some teens with paranoid personality disorder also experience symptoms of other mental health issues greatly complicating treatment and diminish the effectiveness of therapy. Medication can help treat and reduce these symptoms, and help therapy focus on the destructive parts of their paranoid personality disorder. Typical medications include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers (like lithium).

Long-term teen paranoid personality disorder treatment is essential. At Visions Treatment Centers, we work with a teen’s parents to prepare for continuing care via local resources, therapists, and group-based therapy. During paranoid personality disorder treatment, we also emphasize each teen’s academic development, and help them keep up with their peers while at Visions. As many older teens prepare for college and life beyond school, our specialists and educators also help teens work on preparing for their SATs and other examinations and preparing for course and career options.