Personality Disorders Articles
However, most personality disorders are treatable. While medication has a role to play, talk therapy is usually the only way of really addressing the fundamental issues. The following articles can provide some information on personality disorders and how to manage them.
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What is a Personality Disorder?
A personality disorder is a mental illness where the individual has a rigid way of viewing the world. People with these conditions tend to engage in black and white thinking, meaning they have trouble seeing matters from others points of view. Their rigidity in thought processes impacts the quality of their relationships. An individual with a personality disorder has difficulty relating to others in social situations and can struggle to maintain healthy boundaries at times. They may have challenges maintaining healthy long-term relationships, and trouble connecting to people. They could struggle with anger issues, and lash out at others or alienate people with their persistent distorted viewpoint of the way things are.
Confronting the Truth About Your Personality Disorder
Some people might be in denial that they have a personality disorder. If they continue the pattern of denying that they have a condition, they aren’t likely to get the right treatment to live a fulfilling life. Personality disorders have late onset, typically beginning in the new teenage years or early adulthood. Some even show their first signs at middle age.
Getting a Diagnosis
Trained mental health professionals including psychologists, psychiatrists or therapists can diagnose personality disorders. You general doctor might ask you a series of questions and do a physical exam. If they find that you meet the criteria for a personality disorder, they’ll refer you to a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis. There are three different categories of personality disorders. You’ll need to have a psychological evaluation to determine what your condition is. The provider will refer to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders). Once you receive your diagnosis, you’ll learn what your treatment options are. They could be therapy, medication or a combination of both.
Types of Personality Disorders
Personality disorders are grouped into three categories called clusters. There’s Cluster A, Cluster B, and Cluster C. Each cluster has similar behaviors that the conditions share.
Individuals with Cluster A personality disorders display eccentric or strange behaviors. Their actions might appear odd to the average observer. The Cluster A personality disorders are paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Marked distrust of others
- Persistent believe that others are trying to deceive the person Angry or hostile reaction to perceived slights or insults
- Holds grudges
- The persistent belief that a partner is unfaithful
Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Lack of pleasure in life activities
- Little to no interest in sex with a partner
- Stoic or cold expressions with others
- Limited expression of emotions
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Auditory hallucinations
- The belief that the individual can influence major events by thinking about them or “magical thinking.”
- Eccentric thinking or way of dressing
- Social anxiety
- The belief that there are hidden messages for the individual in certain events
People with Cluster B personality disorders are exceptionally emotional bordering on dramatic. Their behavior is unpredictable, and they can be volatile or even violent if left untreated. Here are the Cluster B personality disorders: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Lack of care or concern for other people’s feelings
- Lying, cheating or stealing
- Legal problems or arrests
- Violent actions or behaviors
- Lack of personal responsibility for actions
Borderline Personality Disorder
- Fear of abandonment
- Risky behavior including promiscuity or unsafe sex
- Unstable or fluctuating self-image
- Volatile or unstable interpersonal relationships
- Mood swings
- Suicidal ideation or active suicide attempts
- Outbursts of Anger
Histrionic Personality Disorder
- Persistent attention-seeking behavior
- Provocative displays including inappropriately sexual behavior
- Overly dramatic speech with strong opinions
- Easily swayed by other people’s opinions
- Emotions that change quickly within minutes or hours
- Preoccupation with physical appearance
- Misperception of how close interpersonal relationships are
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- A fundamental belief that you are superior to others
- Preoccupation with high achievement and fame
- Inability to acknowledge other people’s emotions
- Inaccurate or grandiose perception of self and accomplishments
- Needs constant praise and validation for their accomplishments
- Manipulates others for their gain
- Sees people are trophies
The Cluster C personality disorders are conditions where the sufferer is anxious and engages in behaviors due to fear. They are avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Overly sensitive to criticism or rejection
- Feelings of inadequacy in their sense of self or physical appearance
- Social isolation and fear of meeting new people
- Fear of being mocked or having their choices disapproved of by others
Dependent Personality Disorder
- The need for others to take care of the individual
- Neediness towards loved ones
- Fear of being alone and caring for oneself
- Lack of self-esteem or self-worth
- Challenges starting and completing projects
- Accepts abusive due to lack of self-confidence
- Needs to start a need relationship after an old one ends
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Obsession with minute details
- Perfectionism to the point of taking extreme measures to achieve their goals
- Issues with control or letting other people have the lead
- Overworking and neglecting social activities
- Unwavering or rigid opinions that cannot be changed
- Extremely frugal with money to an obsessive degree
Personality Disorders Are Treatable In Counseling
Not all personality disorders are equally severe, but anyone suffering from them can benefit from professional counseling. With qualified therapists now available online, this is easier to obtain than ever before. Online counseling is an excellent way to address your personality disorder. These conditions are treatable with the help of a trained mental health professional. You don’t have to suffer alone. Counselors can help you cope with your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Search the extensive network of counselors here at BetterHelp and find a match for you.