A Guide to Personality Disorders

Personalities are influenced by several factors, such as experiences, surroundings, and genetics. It’s normal for your personality to change as you grow and mature. But if someone starts thinking, feeling, and behaving in a way that goes against societal norms – possibly allowing this behavior to affect their daily life – there is a chance that this person has a personality disorder. In this article, we’ll review 10 common personality disorders and their associated traits and behaviors.

What Is a Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are a type of mental illness where a person engages in behaviors seen as offensive, problematic, or disruptive. Yet, they see nothing wrong with their behavior. Without treatment, a personality disorder can last a long time and severely impact a person’s ability to form stable relationships. Mental health experts formally recognize 10 specific personality disorders, though symptoms often overlap.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

A person with an antisocial personality disorder shows patterns of disregarding or violating the rights of others. They also exhibit behaviors that aren’t typically considered societal norms, such as repeatedly lying, deceiving others, or acting impulsively.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

A schizotypal personality disorder entails a pattern of being uncomfortable in close relationships, having distorted thinking, and eccentric behavior such as peculiar beliefs, odd speech, or excessive social anxiety.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

A person with schizoid personality disorder typically doesn’t seek out close relationships, would rather be alone, and doesn’t seem to care or be bothered by praise or criticism.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

A person with avoidant personality disorder often exhibits extreme shyness, feels inadequate, and is extremely sensitive to criticism. They are usually unwilling to get involved with people unless they’re confident they’ll be liked.

Borderline Personality Disorder

A person with borderline personality disorder may exhibit a pattern of instability in personal relationships, intense emotions, poor self-image, and impulsivity. They may go to great lengths to avoid abandonment, display signs of intense anger, or feel empty inside.

Dependent Personality Disorder

People with dependent personality disorder tend to be clingy and have a need to be taken care of. They may have difficulty making daily decisions without reassurance or feel uncomfortable when alone because they don’t believe in their ability to care for themselves.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

A person experiencing paranoid personality disorder will exhibit a pattern of being extremely suspicious of others while viewing them as mean or spiteful.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Someone with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is often preoccupied with orderliness, perfection, and control by being overly focused on details or schedules, working excessively, or not allowing time for leisure.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder looks like a need for admiration and a severe lack of empathy for others.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

People with histrionic personality disorder may be uncomfortable when they’re not the center of attention and often use their physical appearance or exaggerated emotions to draw attention to themselves.

How Will a Doctor Diagnose a Personality Disorder?

Assessing whether someone has a personality disorder may entail:

  • A physical exam
  • A mental health evaluation
  • Comparing symptoms to standard guidelines
  • Neurophysiological training

Because symptoms often overlap, it can be a journey to determine the type of personality disorder. However, a correct diagnosis leads to proper treatment.

Let’s Talk Treatment

The best treatment depends on a number of variables, including the type of personality disorder, how serious it is, and a person’s life situation. Treatment can include any combination of the following:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Medication
  • Hospital or residential treatment programs

A treatment team may include a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, pharmacist, and social worker. If you are diagnosed with a personality disorder, it’s essential that you participate in your care, take medication as directed, learn about your condition, avoid drugs and alcohol, and opt in to all routine medical care.

If you suspect you or someone you love has a personality disorder, contact your doctor or healthcare professional for more information.

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