Personality disorders
Personality Disorders:
Causes, diagnosis and treatment of disorders

A personality disorder is a set of perturbations or abnormalities caused by emotional and social problems. Personality disorders, formerly referred to as character disorders, are a class of personality types and behaviors. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines in terms of psychotherapy.

Causes of personality disorders

The obstacle that normally develops a personality is known by the name of frustration, and this corresponds to the circumstances that determine a need or reason fail to be satisfied. The emotional state that accompanies this event is called psychological pressure, tension (stress) and anxiety.

Most personality disorders are associated with problems in personal development and character which peak during adolescence and are then defined as personality disorders. Children and adolescents with a personality disorder have great difficulty dealing with others. They tend to be inflexible, rigid, with inadequate response to the changes and demands of life. They have a narrow view of the world and find it hard to participate in social activities.

There are many formally identified personality disorders, each with its own types of associated behaviors. Most PDs, however, fall into three distinct categories or clusters, namely: cluster A, which includes disorders characterized by odd or eccentric behavior; cluster B, which includes disorders marked by dramatic, emotional or erratic behavior; and cluster C, which includes disorders accompanied by anxious and fearful behavior. The most common disorders in each cluster are given below.

List of personality disorders

The DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association) lists ten personality disorders, which are grouped into three clusters:

These disorders include the following 3 clusters:
• A: "Psychotic" personalities (paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal)
• B: "Extrovert" personalities (antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic)
• C:"Introvert" personalities (avoidant, dependent, obsessive-compulsive)

Cluster A: Personality « psychotic » (odd or eccentric disorders)


Personality disorder « paranoid »
This type of personality is characterized by irrational suspicions and mistrust of others. Evolution of this personality disorder:

Paranoid personalities interpret the actions of others as deliberately threatening or demeaning. People with paranoid personality disorder are untrusting, unforgiving, and often resort to angry or aggressive outbursts without justification because they see others as unfaithful, disloyal, or dishonest. Paranoid personalities are often jealous, guarded, secretive, and scheming, and may appear to be emotionally "cold" or excessively serious.

Personality disorder « schizoid »
This type of personality is characterized by s lack of interest in social relationships, seeing no point in sharing time with others, anhedonia, introspection.

Evolution of this personality disorder: Schizoid personalities are introverted, withdrawn, solitary, emotionally cold, and distant. Often absorbed with their own thoughts and feelings, they fear closeness and intimacy with others. People suffering from schizoid personality tend to be more daydreamers than practical action takers, often living "in a world of their own."

Personality disorder « schizotypal »
This type of personality is characterized by odd behavior or thinking.

Evolution of this personality disorder: Schizotypal personalities tend to have odd or eccentric manners of speaking or dressing. They often have strange, outlandish, or paranoid beliefs and thoughts. People with schizotypal personality disorder have difficulties bonding with others and experience extreme anxiety in social situations. They tend to react inappropriately or not react at all during a conversation, or they may talk to themselves. They also have delusions characterized by "magical thinking," for example, by saying that they can foretell the future or read other people's minds.

Cluster B: Personality « extrovert » (dramatic, emotional, erratic disorders)


Personality disorder « antisocial »
This type of personality is characterized by pervasive disregard for the law and the rights of others.

Evolution of this personality disorder: Antisocial personalities typically ignore the normal rules of social behavior. These individuals are impulsive, irresponsible, and callous. They often have a history of violent and irresponsible behavior, aggressive and even violent relationships. They have no respect for other people and feel no remorse about the effects of their behavior on others. Antisocial personalities are at high risk for substance abuse, since it helps them to relieve tension, irritability, and boredom.

Personality disorder « borderline »
This type of personality is characterized by an extreme "black and white" thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior often leading to self-harm and impulsivity. Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed in 3 times as many females as males.

Evolution of this personality disorder: Borderline personalities are unstable in interpersonal relationships, behavior, mood, and self-image. They are prone to sudden and extreme mood changes, stormy relationships, unpredictable and often self-destructive behavior. These personalities have great difficulty with their own sense of identity and often experience the world in extremes, viewing experiences and others as either "black" or "white." They often form intense personal attachments only to quickly dissolve them over a perceived offense. Fears of abandonment and rejection often lead to an excessive dependency on others. Self-mutilation or suicidal threats may be used to get attention or manipulate others. Impulsive actions, persistent feelings of boredom or emptiness, and intense anger outbursts are other traits of this disorder.

Personality disorder « histrionic »
This type of personality is characterized by pervasive attention-seeking behavior including inappropriately seductive behavior and shallow or exaggerated emotions.

Personality disorder « narcissistic »
This type of personality is characterized by pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.

Evolution of this personality disorder: Narcissistic personalities tend to have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and are absorbed by fantasies of unlimited success. They also seek constant attention, and are oversensitive to failure, often complaining about multiple physical disorders. They also tend to be prone to extreme mood swings between self-admiration and insecurity, and tend to exploit interpersonal relationships.

Cluster C: Personality « introvert » (anxious or fearful disorders)

Personality disorder « avoidant »
This type of personality is characterized by social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation and avoidance of social interaction.

Evolution of this personality disorder: Avoidant personalities are often fearful of rejection and unwilling to become involved with others. They are characterized by excessive social discomfort, shyness, fear of criticism, and avoidance of social activities that involve interpersonal contact. They are afraid of saying something considered foolish by others and are deeply hurt by any disapproval from others. They tend to have no close relationships outside the family circle and are upset at their inability to form meaningful relationships.

Personality disorder « dependent »
This type of personality is characterized by pervasive psychological dependence on other people.

Evolution of this personality disorder: As the name implies, dependent personalities exhibit a pattern of dependent and submissive behavior, relying on others to make decisions for them. They fear rejection, need constant reassurance and advice, and are oversensitive to criticism or disapproval. They feel uncomfortable and helpless if they are alone and can be devastated when a close relationship ends. Typically lacking in self-confidence, the dependent personality rarely initiates projects or does things independently.

Personality disorder « obsessive-compulsive »
This type of personality is characterized by rigid conformity to rules, moral codes and excessive orderliness.

Evolution of this personality disorder: compulsive personalities are conscientious, reliable, dependable, orderly, and methodical, but with an inflexibility that often makes them incapable of adapting to changing circumstances. They have such high standards of achievement that they constantly strive for perfection. Never satisfied with their performance or with that of others, they take on more and more responsibilities. They also pay excessive attention to detail, which makes it very hard for them to make decisions and complete tasks. When their feelings are not under strict control, when events are unpredictable, or when they must rely on others, compulsive personalities often feel a sense of isolation and helplessness.

Diagnosis of personality disorders

To diagnose a personality disorder, it's advisable to visit a psychologist, a psychiatrist or a doctor. This specialist will inform you by asking many questions for a description of your symptoms. In addition, you can also take a personality test or a psychological test.

Treatment of personality disorders

There are many types of help available for the different personality disorders. Treatment may include individual, group, or family psychotherapy. Medications, prescribed by a patient's physician, may also be helpful in relieving some of the symptoms of personality disorders, such as problems with anxiety and delusions. Psychotherapy is a form of treatment designed to help children and families understand and resolve the problems due to PD and modify the inappropriate behavior. In some cases a combination of medication with psychotherapy may be more effective. PD psychotherapy focuses on helping patients see the unconscious conflicts that are causing their disorder. It also helps them become more flexible and is aimed at reducing the behavior patterns that interfere with everyday living. In psychotherapy, patients have the opportunity to learn to recognize the effects of their behavior on others.

Although personality disorders are difficult to treat, there is increasing evidence that both medications and some forms of psychotherapy can help many people. The steps in the treatment of the disorder:

  1. Identification of the current problem.
  2. Modification and solution to this problem. It usually reaches a situation that can lead a normal life, where suffering is beyond basic, but still you have the weakness to such situations. That's why it continues:
  3. Automatic identification of underlying patterns and some of the situations in which they were generated.
  4. Changing patterns and reconstruction of memories and experiences.