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Defining Personality Disorders

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A personality disorder is a mental health condition that is characterized by abnormal patterns of thinking. These patterns are often described as unhealthy and contradicts social expectations and social norms. The manner in which individuals with a personality disorder perceive and relate to those around them in social situations is distorted due to their unconventional manner of processing the world around them. 

Not everyone diagnosed with a personality disorder is aware of their irrational perception of the world as they often lack insight and judgement. In most instances they believe their thinking is similar to the way others think.

Types of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders have three types of clusters (A, B, and C) and 10 different subtypes. Let’s take a deeper dive into the specifics of these clusters:

Cluster A

The disorders within Cluster A are defined by aloof and eccentric behaviors and include Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, and Schizoid Personality Disorder.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

The pattern of thinking that defines this disorder is distinctly unconventional and often leads to abnormal behaviors. Individuals with Schizotypal Personality Disorder often have peculiar speech patterns, beliefs, styles of dress, and mannerisms. It is common for those diagnosed with this disorder to also experience social anxiety, discomfort in close relationships, and the belief that they hear voices or possess supernatural abilities.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid Personality Disorder is a pattern of thinking that often causes the individual to become overly suspicious and distrusting of those close to and around them. Those diagnosed with this disorder can have unrealistic beliefs that other people are deceiving/harming them or that a romantic partner is being unfaithful. People with Paranoid Personality Disorder often respond angrily to seemingly innocent remarks and actions because they perceive them as hurtful attacks.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder is a pattern of thinking that causes an individual to remain aloof and detached from those around them. Individuals with this personality disorder find it extremely difficult to cultivate close relationships, understand key social cues, and engage in daily social activities. They often have little to no interest in physical intimacy.

Cluster B

Cluster B personality disorders include behavioral patterns that are exceedingly dramatic, emotional, unpredictable, and impulsive. These disorders include Antisocial Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial Personality Disorder is defined by a lack of empathy and difficulty respecting the feelings, rights, and needs of others. It is common for these individuals to repeatedly have trouble with law enforcement due to recurring instances of stealing, lying, manipulation, and even violent acts. Those with this disorder typically experience very little remorse and often are unable to take responsibility for their actions.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder is defined by behavior that is attention-seeking, provocative, and dramatic. Individuals with this disorder may become obsessed with their physical appearance and their reputation. They also may be easily influenced by the opinions of others.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by patterns of irrational, impulsive, unstable, and reckless behavior. Individuals with this disorder often have a negative self-image and are debilitated by paranoia and recurring feelings of emptiness. They may experience extreme mood swings, thoughts of suicide, or engage in self-harm.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

An individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is usually arrogant, unempathetic, entitled, and has a high sense of self-importance. Individuals with this disorder have glorified beliefs about their talents, power, and attractiveness. They typically fail to recognize the needs and feelings of others and are incapable of acknowledging their own shortcomings.

Cluster C

The final cluster features overly anxious or fearful behaviors and thought patterns. They include Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, and Dependent Personality Disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

An individual with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is obsessed with perfection, orderliness, and control over their surroundings. Individuals with OCD can become extremely distressed when a situation in their life feels out of order or falls below their personal standards. They are often uncompromising about their morals, beliefs, and financial habits. Typically, they are also intolerant of change.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant Personality Disorder includes feelings of intense shyness, inferiority, inadequacy, and unattractiveness. Those with this disorder are exceptionally sensitive to criticism, feel uncomfortable in new social settings, and avoid new relationships.

Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent Personality Disorder produces an intense dependence on other people and a lack of personal confidence. An individual with this disorder often needs someone to take care of them and exhibits clingy and submissive behavior. Individuals with Dependent Personality Disorder require constant guidance and reassurance due to their extreme lack of self-confidence.

Causes of Personality Disorders

Unfortunately, there is no singular cause of personality disorders. However, many experts believe that these disorders can result from both environmental and genetic factors. Family histories of personality disorders or mental other mental illness can increase an individual’s risk of developing a mental health disorder. Environmental factors can also contribute to the development of a personality disorder: cases involving unstable or abusive family life and severe trauma at a young age often result in this disorder.

Treatment for Personality Disorders

There are no specific medications designed to treat those with personality disorders, however antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medications have all been prescribed to help reduce symptoms.

Therapy has proven to be the most successful treatment for personality disorders. Psychodynamic Therapy, Psychoanalytic Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, psychoeducation, group therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can all help individuals  learn to manage and understand their disorder.

Life Adjustment Team offers an assertive case management program that focuses on efforts between the clients, a team of case managers, and their families. Our Team assesses the client’s mental health, then provides mentorship and coordinates a treatment plan that focuses on goals and actions that meet the client’s health and wellness needs. These items are accomplished through working together, honest conversations, case management, and access to necessary resources. These resources help us support the patient’s safety, quality of life, quality of care, and cost-effective outcomes.

Contact Life Adjustment Team

Life Adjustment Team is here to provide you and your family with state-of-the-art comprehensive care for anyone with a personality disorder and other mental health disorders. We have 40 years of evidence-based treatment and experience to allow you or a loved one to learn to live well again. Contact us today to create a balanced, healthy, and fulfilling life.