Personality disorders belong to a group of mental illnesses characterized by unhealthy thoughts and behaviors, which can seriously hinder one’s everyday functioning. A few examples include schizoid personality disorder (cluster A), borderline personality disorder (cluster B), and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (cluster C). These clusters are subgroups of personality disorders and further classify the illnesses: cluster A’s disorders are classified as odd, bizarre, or eccentric; cluster B’s as dramatic or erratic; and cluster C’s as anxious and/or fearful. Now let’s take a closer look at the 10 personality disorders that make up these clusters:
Paranoid personality disorder is characterized by a great distrust in others, even loved ones. Due to this distrust, these individuals are always on guard and suspicious of those around them. They are also overly sensitive, easily humiliated, consistently grudgeful, and have trouble building close relationships.
Schizoid personality disorder leaves individuals feeling detached, uninterested in social relationships, and lacking emotional response. Those affected by schizoid personality disorder are disconnected from reality and more prone to introspection.
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by eccentricities in both appearance and behavior. Individuals with this illness often have strange beliefs, such as magical thinking, and are suspicious of those around them. Like those with schizoid personality disorders, they avoid social relationships—not because they lack the desire to develop relationships with others, but because they fear them.
Antisocial personality disorder causes one to lack empathy, that is concern for the feelings of others. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder are irritable, aggressive, impulsive, and unapologetic for their actions. However, these individuals typically have no problem developing relationships—though they are short-lived thanks to the aforementioned characteristics.
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by an individual’s absent sense of self, which triggers feelings of desolation and fears of abandonment and neglect. People who are diagnosed with this disorder typically have unstable relationships and emotions, as well as outbursts of anger, violence, and impulsive behavior.
Histrionic personality disorder leaves individuals feeling worthless and useless. They rely solely on attracting attention and receiving approval from others for their wellbeing and may come across as charming or act inappropriately seductive. Furthermore, these individuals are sensitive to criticism and rejection.
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by feelings of entitlement and cockiness and a need to be admired or even worshipped. These individuals lack empathy and have no problem exploiting others to achieve their goals; if they feel disrespected or obstructed, they often react with anger and revenge.
Avoidant personality disorder makes people believe that they’re inferior and inadequate human beings. These individuals greatly fear criticism, embarrassment, and rejection—due to these fears, they avoid social interaction and restrain themselves even in relationships with close loved ones.
Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a lack of self-confidence and the individual’s need to be cared for. Not only do they need help making important life decisions, but they require help making mundane decisions on a day-to-day basis. Their biggest fear is abandonment and do whatever it takes to ensure upkeep of their relationships.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder causes individuals to become preoccupied with details, lists, organization, rules, and so on; it is characterized by the utmost perfectionism and productivity that can very well hinder one’s relationships. People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are usually cautious and controlling to a fault.
Treatment and Recovery: Can Someone Ever Be Cured of a Personality Disorder
Unfortunately, there are no known cures for personality disorders and the same goes for a majority of mental illnesses. However, there are multiple ways to effectively treat personality disorders and help these individuals better handle the harmful symptoms that come with their given illness. While the best treatment methods can vary for each personality disorder, the following are promising options that have proven effective:
- Psychotherapy: This kind of therapy allows individuals suffering from personality disorders to learn more about their condition and talk about their harmful thoughts and behaviors, their moods, and their feelings. The therapist helps them cope with the harmful effects of the given disorder and also better manage the illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family-focused therapy all fall into the category of psychotherapy—a mental health profession can help determine which kind of psychotherapy is best for an individual and their condition.
- Medication: While there aren’t any medications specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat personality disorders, there are multiple psychiatric medicines that can help with the symptoms that come with an individual’s personality disorder. These include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety medications, and antipsychotic medications.