You may have heard of the term “personality disorder” before, as it’s been prevalent in pop culture, whether it’s our favourite fictional characters or influential people in the media. According to a survey by the National Institute of Mental Health, up to 9.1 per cent or 1 in 11 people in the United States are diagnosed with some type of personality disorder. But not many really know what constitutes a personality disorder. Here is a brief look into the three divisions of personality disorders with a preview of each ten types.
The 10 kinds of personality disorders
According to the American Psychiatric Association, a personality disorder can be classified as a “long-term pattern of behaviour and inner experience that significantly differs from what is normally observed.” The patterns develop during adolescence or early adulthood and are disruptive in how affected individuals:
- Think about themselves or others
- Respond emotionally
- Relate to others
- Control their own behaviour
Cluster A: Odd or eccentric behaviour
The NHS considers patients who fall under the cluster A personality disorders to “have difficulty relating to others and showing behavioural patterns that are seen as odd or eccentric.” The three personality disorders here are paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
Paranoid personality disorder refers to individuals with extreme distrust for others including suspecting loved ones. A patient with schizoid personality disorder is cold, detached, avoids social interactions and has great difficulty experiencing pleasure. Schizotypal personality disorder is when an individual has poor social skills, is delusional and behaves in eccentric ways such as speaking in long incoherent strands or believing they have special abilities.
Cluster B: Dramatic, emotional, or erratic behaviour
With an emphasis on the word ‘dramatic’, cluster B personality disorders are a bit more obvious than cluster A disorders and diagnosed individuals may exhibit behaviour that would be regarded as excessive, unpredictable, and in some cases, disturbing. The four types here are antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
A patient with antisocial personality disorder has a lack of empathy towards others and may be hurtful or manipulative towards them. Borderline personality disorder generally manifests with intense emotional instability, disturbing patterns of thinking, and reckless behaviour. Those with Histrionic personality disorder seek attention to an excessive level and have deep fears of being ignored. Narcissistic personality disorder manifests as an overly-inflated sense of self-worth and a compulsion to have others look up to them.
Cluster C: Anxious or fearful behaviour
The most straightforward of the clusters. C personality disorders fall under the umbrella of anxiety, and patients diagnosed here have a general fear of being around other people or integrating with society. The three types are avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Avoidant personality disorder can be similar to schizoid personality disorder but the individual desires social interaction though is extremely sensitive to rejection or criticism. Patients with Dependent personality disorder are obsessively clingy and have strong fears of being alone or making decisions for themselves. Obsessessive-compulsive disorder is a well-known personality disorder and is characterized by a powerful need to organize due to their fear of chaos and disorderliness.