Personality disorders can be described as mental illnesses that have a peculiar pattern of thought and behavior, which is not healthy and flexible and interferes with the normal functioning of daily activities. People with personality disorders have unstable emotions and cannot deal with problems like others.
They have problems in building and sustaining relationships, that may or may not lead to isolation. They can be treated with therapies and medication, although their lack of acceptance and inappropriate attitude and behavior can make it difficult to treat them.
Important Personality Disorders You Should Be Aware Of
1. Paranoid Personality Disorder
People with paranoid personality disorder don’t trust people and are often suspicious that the people around them have a hidden motive to harm or deceive them. Although this mistrust has no basis, they are sensitive to what is said to them, and persistently bear grudges. This pattern also makes it difficult to treat them, as they may not trust their doctors.1
It is difficult for people with paranoid personality disorder to build close relationships. They are detached and socially isolated as they constantly challenge the loyalties of others. Additionally, they experience anger over presumed abuse, anxiety over perceived threats, and are seen as stubborn, argumentative, hostile, and defensive.2
Paranoid personality disorder is more common in families with other psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and delusional disorder.
2. Schizoid Personality Disorder
People with schizoid personality disorder don’t enjoy close relationships, including those with family members. They prefer being a part of activities that require minimum social interaction.
Living in a world of fantasy, they are emotionally cold, unreactive, and indifferent to criticism or praise.
3. Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by odd behavior, strange thoughts, cold and inappropriate emotions, and difficulty in maintaining close relationships with people. Although they are not disconnected from reality, they believe in things that are not considered normal.
Their excessive social anxiety stems from the paranoid belief of others avoiding them. Rather than determining the reason for avoidance, they believe that people are conspiring against them. This leads to withdrawal and isolation.
4. Antisocial Personality Disorder
People with antisocial personality disorder may show negligence towards social norms and morals, behave aggressively, lie repeatedly, and are indifferent towards others’ feelings or perspectives.
They are capable of harming others for their own benefit and have difficulties in sustaining relationships as a result of their impulsive and careless behavior. Antisocial personality disorder is more common in men than in women.3
5. Borderline Personality Disorder
People with borderline personality disorder have disturbed emotions, behaviors, sense of identity, and relationships. To cope with the emotional discomfort, they usually resort to coping strategies such as self-harm, substance abuse, and suicide, making their problems worse.
Intense and sudden episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety are common. The fear of being abandoned affects them, and they experience feelings of emptiness.
Borderline personality disorder is 5 times more likely to occur if a close family member of the person has the disorder.4
6. Histrionic Personality Disorder
When not the center of attention, people with histrionic personality disorder become very uncomfortable. They have a constant need for approval and can have an extremely seductive appearance and behavior. They use their physical appearance to attract attention and influence others.
People with this disorder can be shallow, theatrical, and have inconsistent emotions. Though they are lively and enthusiastic, they can manipulate people for their own needs.
7. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
People with this condition have fantasies of grandiosity, exploit others for their own advantage, exhibit extreme self-importance, and lack empathy. Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by self-esteem that is fragile, thus, requiring constant approval and appreciation from others. They resent others’ success and don’t react well to criticism.5
It is difficult to treat people with this disorder as they believe that they are special and superior. Their defensive and arrogant behavior makes it more challenging.
8. Avoidant Personality Disorder
Low-self esteem, shyness, fear of criticism and being laughed at are some of the characteristics that can describe a person with avoidant personality disorder. These traits prevent the person from interacting with others and, therefore, avoid social activities. They isolate themselves from the fear of being hurt and, thus, have no close relationships.
Their feeling of being inferior and overpowering shyness also stops them from taking risks or doing new things that could land them in a humiliating situation.
9. Dependent Personality Disorder
As the name suggests, dependent personality disorder is a condition where the person is dependent on other people for their needs, emotional or physical. They dislike being alone and fear abandonment. To stay with the person they like, they can tolerate abuse or do anything for the person to avoid separation. This dependence can sometimes become inconvenient for the people around them.
Those displaying symptoms of this disorder find it difficult to take on responsibilities and are easily hurt by disapproval.
10. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is different from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as OCPD describes a type of personality rather than behavior.
The need to keep everything in order and setting goals that are unrealistic are characteristic traits of a person with OCPD. They do not let go easily, especially materialistic things, and are very particular about following rules, morals, and norms. People with OCPD are perfectionists and recheck everything they do repeatedly – because of which they are never on time. Their perfectionist attitude doesn’t allow them to assign tasks to other people.
|↑1||Vyas, Amy, and Madiha Khan. “Paranoid Personality Disorder.” American Journal of Psychiatry Residents’ Journal 11, no. 01 (2016): 9-11.|
|↑2||Esterberg, Michelle L., Sandra M. Goulding, and Elaine F. Walker. “Cluster A personality disorders: schizotypal, schizoid and paranoid personality disorders in childhood and adolescence.” Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment32, no. 4 (2010): 515-528.|
|↑3||Antisocial Personality Disorder. National Institute Of Mental Health.|
|↑4||Borderline Personality Disorder. National Institute Of Mental Health.|
|↑5||Narcissistic personality disorder. U.S. National Library of Medicine.|