Health & Fitness

Personality Disorders- Types, Causes, and Treatment


Thoughts, feelings, and behaviors make up personality, often called traits. These traits outline the way people view the world and the way of relating to others. People may think of their traits as sitting along a scale such as, they may feel emotional or want to be liked at times. But when these traits start causing problems, it may be diagnosed as having personality disorders.

Findings show that personality disorders are common around one in 20 people living with such problems. A personality disorder can affect how people deal with life, manage relationships, and feel emotionally. They may find that their beliefs and ways of coping with day-to-day things are different from others.

Related: Parasocial Relationships

Types of personality disorders

The personality disorders have been grouped into three broad clusters that it refers to as A, B, and C.

1. Cluster A

People with cluster A personality disorder owns odd or eccentric behavior. They’re quite shaky and have problems in communicating to people. It includes

Paranoid personality disorder

People with paranoid personality disorder are untrusting, suspicious, and complaining. They feel others as disloyal, faithless, or dishonest. Such people also hold grievances and are inclined to angry aggressive flare-ups without any reason. They may be guarded, jealous, and reserved. These people may appear to be antisocial and off course humorless.

Schizoid personality disorder

People with schizoid personality disorder are probably far-off, non-communicative, withdrawn, and emotionally cold. They’re apathetic toward people and fear closeness with others.

Possessing very few social connections, people with schizoid personality disorder prefer to be alone. They always try to set with self-contemplation and fantasy and have cognitive and perceptual deformations.

Schizotypal personality disorder

People with schizotypal personality disorder own weird or eccentric actions of thinking, dressing, or vocalizing. Talking to others, they may respond improperly. In this disorder, an individual may seem talking to himself and show odd behavior.

People may face difficulties forming connections and display gestures of magic thinking, believing that they can endure the future, read other people’s minds, and impact events.

2. Cluster B

It includes emotional and impulsive types of personality disorder. Cluster B disorders describes behavior that is emotional, dramatic, or erratic.

Antisocial personality disorder

People with antisocial personality complaint tend to manipulate or treat others without expressing guilt for their conduct. They may involve in untruthful behavior like lying and stealing, and they may be prone to heavy alcohol and drug use.

Borderline personality disorder

People with borderline personality disorder frequently feel void and abandoned, regardless of family or community help. They may have problem dealing with stressful events and have episodes of paranoia. They also tend to catch up in unsafe and impulsive behavior, like as binge drinking and gambling.

Histrionic personality disorder

People with histrionic personality disorder constantly try to gain further attention by being dramatic or provoking. They may be fluently affected by other people and are sensitive to critique or displeasure.

Narcissistic personality disorder

People with narcissistic personality disorder may believe that they’re more important than others. They tend to elaborate their achievements and may flaunt about their attractiveness or success. Other symptoms include a profound need for admiration but lack empathy for other people.

3. Cluster C

People with cluster C personality disorders have deep sensibilities of fear or anxiety. They might appear withdrawn to other people. It includes,

Dependent personality disorder

People with dependent personality allow others to take responsibility for areas of their life. They may not have consequential self-confidence or be not be able to do work alone. Such people put their own requirements after the needs of others. They may feel less confident or stress being alone.

Avoidant personality disorder

People with this disorder may have a fear of being judged negatively. This can make them to feel uncomfortable in social situations. They might not welcome criticism, worry a lot and have low self- determination. Such people may want love, but bother that they will be disapproved.

Compulsive-obsessive personality disorder

With obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, people may feel worried if stuff are disorganized, unplanned or not exactly right. They may have exceptionally huge expectations for yourself and others. They may also be relatively guarded and think about the minor details.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not same as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD explains behavior as opposed to a personality.

Want to know which type of personality disorder is most difficult to cure? Read here.

What are the symptoms of personality disorders?

People with personality disorders are suspicious and complaining.
People with personality disorders love being antisocial.

The disorder tends to start in childhood, but the actions and behaviors become more fixed into adulthood.

The signs vary from the type of personality disorder and individual’s circumstances. Yet, most of the symptoms of different personality disorders overlap.

Common signs of a personality disorder include:

  • Odd or erratic behavior
  • Difficulty handling with relationships
  • Confusing, tiring, and hard to control emotions
  • Distress
  • Developing mental health problems like depression or anxiety
  • Personality problems at school or work
  • Taking risks
  • Extreme mood swings (angry outbursts)
  • Lack of confidence and distrust
  • Drinking heavily
  • Extensive use of drugs
  • Self-harm to cope
  • Need for constant appreciation

People may develop some of these traits, but, necessarily, do not diagnose with personality disorder.

People with personality disorders may not be aware of the problem or may find it hard to ask for help. Family or friends are the ones to seek assistance to such people as they may be severely impacted by caring for someone.

What causes personality disorders?

Currently, the causes for personality disorders are not clear. However, there are several possible reasons and known risk factors that vary depending on the disorder, the person, and the circumstance.

Overall, research shows that genetic disposition and life experiences, like trauma and abuse, cause personality disorders. Other causes may include:

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Parenting
  • Child abuse
  • Neurobiological correlates-hippocampus, amygdala
  • Genetics

Treatment of personality disorders

Some types of psychotherapy are productive for treating personality disorders. During psychotherapy, a person may gain wisdom and knowledge about the disorder and what’s contributing to symptoms. He can talk about reflections, sensibilities, and actions.

Psychotherapy can help a person understand the influence of his behavior on others and learn to manage or get along with symptoms. He may learn to lessen behaviors causing challenges with functioning and relationships. The type of treatment will depend on the certain personality disorder, how hard it is, and the individual’s situations.

 Typically used types of psychotherapy include

  • Psychoeducation ( instructing the individual and family members about the disorder, treatment, and patterns of getting along)
  • Group therapy
  • Psychoanalytic/ psychodynamic therapy
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy

There are no medicines specifically to treat personality disorders. But, still, medication, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety drug or mood stabilizing drug, may be helpful in curing some symptoms. More severe or long lasting symptoms may take a team approach that includes a primary care doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist, social worker and family members.

How to manage personality disorders?

In addition to actively taking part in a treatment plan, some self- care and managing strategies can be helpful for people with personality disorders.

It is better to learn about the condition. Simply, knowledge and understanding can help treat, empower, and motivate the people. Getting active with physical activity and exercise can help manage numerous symptoms, like depression, stress and anxiety.

Avoiding drugs and alcohol can reduce symptoms or interact with medications. It is important to seek routine medical care. People with personality disorders must not avoid checkups or regular care from family doctor.

Joining a support group with others can also treat personality disorders. Such people should try writing in a journal to express their feelings. Relaxation and stress help calming mind like yoga and meditation.

Read: Color Psychology: What does it say about different personality types?

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