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  • What Are Personality Disorders? | Types, Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

    Published on January 22, 2024
    Woman Suffering From Personality Disorders-What Are Personality Disorders? | Types, Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

    Personality disorders are a mental health disorder that can affect how you interact with others, act in your daily life, and react to the world around you.

    Over time, they can affect your relationships with others and your ability to function. About 9 percent of all adults in the U.S. have at least one personality disorder.

    If you, a loved one, or a family member have a personality disorder, you can get help from a primary mental health treatment center.

    Types Of Personality Disorders

    According to the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5), there are 10 different types of personality disorders.

    Personality disorders are divided into three different clusters, based on how they affect your sense of self, self-confidence, and how you act in social situations.

    Cluster A

    Cluster A personality disorders can cause abnormal ways of thinking, speaking, or acting. There are three cluster A personality disorders, including:

    • paranoid personality disorder
    • schizoid personality disorder
    • schizotypal personality disorder

    These disorders can make your thoughts and actions seem unusual to others.

    Cluster B

    Cluster B personality disorders can affect how you view and interact with others. There are four cluster B personality disorders, including:

    • histrionic personality disorder
    • narcissistic personality disorder
    • antisocial personality disorder
    • borderline personality disorder

    These disorders can cause problems with interpersonal relationships.

    Cluster C

    Cluster C personality disorders can cause anxiety and a need for control. The three cluster C personality disorders include:

    • avoidant personality disorder
    • dependent personality disorder
    • obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

    These disorders can make it difficult to participate in social activities.

    Causes Of Personality Disorders

    The specific causes of personality disorders are unclear. However, abuse and trauma, especially during childhood, are major risk factors for personality disorders. Genetics and a family history of mental illnesses can also increase your risk.

    Symptoms Of Personality Disorders

    The different types of personality disorders have different symptoms. Some disorders may have similar or overlapping symptoms.

    Paranoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

    Paranoid personality disorder is defined by a lack of trust in others, causing symptoms such as:

    • feelings of extreme suspicion or fear of others
    • not opening up to others
    • assuming other people have bad intentions

    Schizoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

    People with schizoid personality disorder may not be interested in forming relationships or expressing themselves. Symptoms may include:

    • flat affect (not showing emotion or facial expressions)
    • spending significant amounts of time alone
    • not caring about the opinions of others

    Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms

    Schizotypal personality disorder can affect your thinking and speaking, causing symptoms such as:

    • strange ways of thinking
    • strange speech patterns
    • being uncomfortable in close relationships

    Schizotypal personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder are different from schizophrenia. These personality disorders may not cause hallucinations or psychosis, while schizophrenia can.

    Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

    People with histrionic personality disorder may constantly need a sense of validation from others. Symptoms may include:

    • a desire to be the center of attention
    • intense emotions
    • mood swings

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

    Narcissistic personality disorder is defined by an inflated sense of self and a lack of empathy for others. Symptoms may include:

    • demanding special treatment
    • excessively high self-image or self-esteem
    • taking advantage of others
    • not caring about the feelings of others

    Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms

    People with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) may not care about the rights of others. They may also have no sense of remorse and get into legal trouble often. Symptoms may include:

    • taking advantage of others
    • repeatedly breaking laws
    • impulsive behavior
    • aggressiveness
    • frequent substance abuse

    Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

    Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is defined by an inability to control your emotions. People with BPD can struggle to maintain close relationships. Symptoms may include:

    • problems with your self-image
    • frequent self-harm
    • frequent suicide attempts
    • lack of impulse control
    • intense emotions, especially anger

    Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms

    People with avoidant personality disorder may feel inadequate and worry about being disliked by others. Symptoms may include:

    • lacking self-confidence
    • spending time alone
    • avoiding social situations (due to a fear of rejection)

    Dependent Personality Disorder Symptoms

    Dependent personality disorder is defined by an over-reliance on others. Symptoms may include:

    • feelings of helplessness when alone
    • trouble making decisions on your own
    • responding poorly to criticism

    People with dependent personality disorder may excuse poor treatment from their loved ones, due to a fear of being left alone.

    Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder Symptoms

    Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is different from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCPD can cause symptoms such as:

    • prioritizing work over family and friends
    • hoarding items
    • obsessing over morals, rules, and schedules

    Common symptoms of OCD, such as obsessive cleanliness and excessive hand-washing, may not be present in OCPD.

    Treatment Options For Personality Disorders

    Treating a personality disorder can be difficult. People with personality disorders may not believe they need help. Referring a family member or loved one to mental health services can be the first step in getting help.

    Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can be the primary treatment option for personality disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can help you understand your mental processes and manage your symptoms when they come up.

    For information on our primary mental health treatment options, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Article Sources

    American Psychiatric Association - What Are Personality Disorders?
    National Institute of Mental Health - Personality Disorders
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Personality Disorders

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