Renée came from a close-knit family that had moved out of a small town in search of a better life. Her parents never fully embraced the city life. They were used to unlocked doors and familiarity. Their big apartment building with little neighborly interaction made them feel alienated.

Renée and her younger brother were constantly reminded about the potential dangers in every corner. They were also advised not to trust anyone outside of their small family. Sleepovers were not allowed and play dates in someone else’s home were a rare occurrence. They hardly interacted with people outside of school.

When Renée was 17 she was trying to get admitted to a top-ranked university. Unfortunately, her GPA had gone down in the last two years. She complained that her high school teachers were lowering her grades on purpose. She said they never liked her and did not want her to succeed.

Renée was finally accepted in another university. During her four years as a student, she didn’t make any friends. She was distrustful of everyone. She hid food in her dorm room and locked her drawers. She believed her roommates were trying to steal the nice things she had.


She moved out of campus as soon as she could. Her relationship with her classmates was also rocky. Renée refused to compare her notes with anyone. Group assignments with her were described as “a nightmare” by her peers. Renée would start arguments about how little credit her ideas received. She was also unable to accept any criticism.

After graduating, Renée started working a clerical position at a relative’s company. There she met and started dating Nick. After a short ‘honeymoon phase’, the relationship quickly soured. Renée claimed that Nick was cheating on her with another co-worker. She was convinced that everyone in the company knew about it. She also believed that some colleagues were covering up for them.

This suspicion led to several emotional outbursts in the office. She accused her co-workers of conspiring to destroy her relationship. She also brought up long-gone issues she has had with each of them. Nick decided to break up the relationship.

Renée’s parents were informed about her situation and it was recommended that she speak to a psychologist. After a psychological evaluation, she was diagnosed with a paranoid personality disorder.


Prevalence in the general population: 2.3%–2.4% *
Comorbid with: Schizotypal (37.3%), Borderline (12.3%), Narcissistic (8.7%) *
No gender differences
Course: Insufficient information

*Sources: Lenzenweger et al. (2007)
Torgersen, Kringlen, and Cramer (2001)
Zimmerman, M., Rothschild, L., & Chelminski, I. (2005)


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