Types Of Personality Disorders That You Should Know About

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Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and inherited characteristics. A person’s personality typically stays the same over time. A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.

What is Personality Disorders

The concept of personality disorder itself is much more recent and tentatively dates back to psychiatrist Philippe Pinel’s 1801 description of manie sans délire, a condition which he characterized as outbursts of rage and violence (manie) in the absence of any symptoms of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations (délires).

Types Of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders diagnoses are grouped into three ‘clusters’, A, B, and C.

Cluster A

People with cluster A personality disorders can find it hard to relate to other people. Their behavior might seem odd or eccentric to other people.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

A pattern of being suspicious of others and seeing them as mean or spiteful. People with a paranoid personality disorder often assume people will harm or deceive them and don’t confide in others or become close to them.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Being detached from social relationships and expressing little emotion. A person with schizoid personality disorder typically does not seek close relationships, chooses to be alone and seems to not care about praise or criticism from others.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

A pattern of being very uncomfortable in close relationships, having distorted thinking and eccentric behavior. A person with a schizotypal personality disorder may have odd beliefs or odd or peculiar behavior or speech or may have excessive social anxiety.

Cluster B

People with cluster B personality disorders can find it hard to control their emotions. Other people might see them as unpredictable.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

A pattern of disregarding or violating the rights of others. A person with the antisocial personality disorder may not conform to social norms, may repeatedly lie or deceive others, or may act impulsively.

Borderline Personality Disorder

A pattern of instability in personal relationships, intense emotions, poor self-image, and impulsivity. A person with a borderline personality disorder may go to great lengths to avoid being abandoned, have repeated suicide attempts, display inappropriate intense anger or have ongoing feelings of emptiness.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

A pattern of excessive emotion and attention seeking. People with histrionic personality disorder may be uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention, may use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves or have rapidly shifted or exaggerated emotions.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A pattern of need for admiration and lack of empathy for others. A person with a narcissistic personality disorder may have a grandiose sense of self-importance, a sense of entitlement, take advantage of others or lack empathy.

Cluster C

People with cluster C personality disorders have strong feelings of fear or anxiety. They might appear withdrawn to other people.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

A pattern of extreme shyness, feelings of inadequacy and extreme sensitivity to criticism. People with an avoidant personality disorder may be unwilling to get involved with people unless they are certain of being liked, be preoccupied with being criticized or rejected, or may view themselves as not being good enough or socially inept.

Dependent Personality Disorder

A pattern of needing to be taken care of and submissive and clingy behavior. People with a dependent personality disorder may have difficulty making daily decisions without reassurance from others or may feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of fear of inability to take care of themselves.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

A pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfection, and control. A person with an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be overly focused on details or schedules, may work excessively not allowing time for leisure or friends, or maybe inflexible in their morality and values.

Treatment of Personality Disorders

Commonly used types of psychotherapy include:

  • Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychoeducation (teaching the individual and family members about the illness, treatment, and ways of coping)

In addition to actively participating in a treatment plan, some self-care and coping strategies can be helpful for people with personality disorders.

  • Learn about the condition. Knowledge and understanding can help empower and motivate.
  • Get active. Physical activity and exercise can help manage many symptoms, such as depression, stress, and anxiety.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and illegal drugs can worsen symptoms or interact with medications.
  • Get routine medical care. Don’t neglect checkups or regular care from your family doctor.
  • Join a support group of others with personality disorders.
  • Write in a journal to express your emotions.
  • Try relaxation and stress management techniques such as yoga and meditation.
  • Stay connected with family and friends; avoid becoming isolated.

Family members can be important in an individual’s recovery and can work with the individual’s health care provider on the most effective ways to help and support. But having a family member with a personality disorder can also be distressing and stressful. Family members may benefit from talking with a mental health provider who can provide help coping with difficulties.