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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

Understanding the Different Types of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are mental health conditions which are characterised by unhealthy and inflexible thinking. The behavioural pattern and way of thinking displayed by the individual suffering from personality disorders are considered harmful. Personality disorders can vary from mild to severe.

Every individual has a unique personality which can differ from another in many ways. This makes distinguishing between normal personalities and ones with personality disorders very difficult.

Causes of Personality Disorders

The exact cause of personality disorders is not known. It is widely accepted that a combination of the following factors can cause personality disorders:

Genetic Factors: Personality traits are often hereditary. People in the same families tend to have similar traits. Personality disorders may also run through heredity.

Environmental Factors: External events and your surrounding conditions can have a serious effect on you. Extreme and unhealthy events can trigger personality disorders:

Personality disorders are classified into 3 clusters: These are:

Cluster A Personality Disorders

Cluster A disorders are associated with suspicious and eccentric behaviour. The following disorders come under cluster A:

Schizoid Personality Disorder

A schizoid personality disorder is a condition in which people avoid social gatherings and have difficulty in expressing their emotions. This disorder is rare. Common traits which are exhibited in this disorder are:

●Wanting to be alone


●Having no desire for sexual relationships ●Inability to form friendships ●Lack of enjoyment while performing activities.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

In this disorder, the sufferer is said to have abnormal and unusual behaviours. It is characterised with a deep distrust of others. In most cases, it is accompanied by social anxiety. The following can be symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder:

●Unusual dressing sense ●Using an abnormal speaking pattern ●Hearing imaginary voices ●Abnormal beliefs ●Believing that they have extraordinary abilities ●Unusual mannerisms ●Extremely suspicious

Paranoid Personality Disorders

These are the disorders in which a person exhibits extreme paranoia about every activity around them. There is a constant belief among the sufferers that other individuals want to harm them. Some common traits of paranoid personality disorder are: ●Perception problem ●Constant fear ●Suspicion ●Holding grudges ●Anger towards perceived threats ●Trust issues

 A woman holding her head and screaming.

Credits: Pexels Caption: Constant fear and suspicion are characteristics of paranoid personality disorder.

Cluster B Personality Disorders

These are the personality disorders which are associated with erratic and emotional behaviours. These disorders onset during adolescence or early adulthood. Cluster B personality disorders affect individuals in their day to day working ability and cause distress. The following are cluster b personality disorders:

Borderline Personality Disorder

In this disorder, the way a person views themselves is affected along with their close relationships. The sufferers have a constant feeling of emptiness. Traits of borderline personality disorder are:

●Abandonment issues. ●Impulsive behaviour

A man threatening someone

Credits: Pexels Caption: Impulsive behavior is common in borderline personality disorder.

●Rapid emotional swings ●Chronic emptiness ●Changes in self-image ●Self-destructive behaviour ●Anger Issues ●Recklessness

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

It is a condition in which people believe that they are superior to others. It is characterized by a requirement for excessive admiration and attention along with an increased sense of self-importance.This disorder creates issues in personal as well as professional lives of people. Commonly observed traits are:

●Inability to tolerate criticism ●Excessive self-importance ●Admiration needed ●Entitlement

Histrionic Personality Disorder

In this disorder, the patient constantly wants attention. The need for attention is so high that the individual does tasks with the motive of seeking attention The common traits associated with histrionic personality disorder are:

●Attention seeking behaviour ●False intimacy ●Excessive theatricality ●Provocative behaviour

Antisocial Personality Disorder

This disorder is characterised with antisocial behaviour. People display a blatant disregard for social norms. The following traits are common:

●Manipulation ●Deceitfulness ●Harsh behaviour ●Lack of remorse

Cluster C

Cluster personality disorders revolve around intense anxiety and fear. In these disorders, people avoid social situations as well as interpersonal contact. The following are the disorder under cluster C:

Dependent Personality Disorder

A dependent personality disorder is a condition in which the individual is dependent on someone else for their emotional and physical needs. The basis is often lack of self-confidence and not trusting themselves to make the right decision. They require all decisions to be taken for them by someone else. The traits which are common in dependent personality disorder are:

●Lack of confidence ●Constant care needed. ●Submissive nature ●Tolerating abusive treatment ●Inability to disagree with others

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder


Caption: People with ocd could be obsessed with neatness

People suffering from this disorder need to maintain order and control. An obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is similar to obsessive-compulsive disorder. The difference is that in obsessive-compulsive disorder, a common symptom is unwanted thoughts. These thoughts are absent in this personality disorder. The common traits observed are:

●Hoarding things ●Requiring schedules for everything ●Living by extreme standards ●Difficulty in delegating tasks ●Living in a tightly controlled environment

Avoidant Personality Disorder

It is a disorder in which people suffer from a high degree of shyness along with the constant fear of rejection. Loneliness is also a common symptom. Some of the traits observed in avoidant personality disorder are:

●A high degree of sensitivity towards criticism ●Constantly feeling inferior ●Boycotting social activities ●Lack of personal relationship

Diagnosis and Treatment

The diagnosis of personality disorders is difficult. It focusses on a series of questionnaires which focus on one’s perception, behavioural patterns, emotional responses and impulsive behaviour. The psychiatrist or psychologist does a detailed analysis before giving a diagnosis.

The primary form of treatment is given in the form of various therapies that help individuals in dealing with personality disorders. There are no medications which are specifically used for personality disorders. However, various medications such as antidepressants and antianxiety agents are used by doctors. The following are the therapies which are used:

●Therapy ●Cognitive behavioural therapy ●Psychoanalytic therapy ●Psychoeducation ●Dialectical behavioural therapy

A therapist talking to a patient.

Talking to a therapist is an effective form of treatment for personality disorders    Credits: Pexels


Personality disorders are serious mental health conditions and require expert intervention. If you are suffering from any symptoms, you should seek medical help. Therapies and medications can help in managing the conditions. There is constant research going on to understand personality disorders better. Various disorders such as sadistic personality disorder have been removed from personality disorders as part of the progress being made in this field. We are moving towards better understanding and treatment of personality disorders.

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