The idea of the personality disorder can be traced back to the turn of the 19th century, where German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin created a list of seven forms of antisocial behavior as part of a condition he referred to as psychopathic personality. This idea was expanded upon by his younger colleague, Kurt Schneider, who published his improved classifications in his book “Psychopathic Personalities” (1923), forming the foundation of the personality disorders that are currently used today.
There are 10 types of personality disorders, grouped in three clusters: A (bizarre and eccentric behaviors), B (dramatic/erratic) and C (anxious and fearful). Bottom of F They are not designed so much to be a rigid classification system as they are a general locator of where the person lies on the spectrum, with many symptoms within the same cluster overlapping and blurring together. The diagnosis of personality disorders is not only important for the sake of treating the disorder per se, but because of their tendency to lead to other mental illnesses and substance abuse issues as well. Following is a brief discussion of the 10 currently accepted personality disorders:
Cluster A disorders
- Paranoid personality disorder – This disorder is marked by a deep distrust of others, prompting them to constantly seek validation for their paranoid thoughts and beliefs. People with PPD usually have a strong sense of self-importance and are sensitive to anything that contradicts their view of reality, easily feeling shame and embarrassment. Because of this, they will usually hold grudges, inhibiting their ability to maintain close relationships.
- Schizoid personality disorder – Schizoid refers to a tendency to direct the focus of one’s attention away from the world and inward onto themselves. These people usually have no desire for any type of relationship nor social conventions, usually unable to form friendships and appearing emotionless. Although sharing some common symptoms with sociopathy and autism spectrum disorders, people with schizoid personality disorder usually do have a desire to make social connections, but avoid them due to it being emotionally overwhelming.
- Schizotypal disorder – Characterized by bizarre speech, thinking and behaviors, people with this disorder share many symptoms of schizophrenia (leading to it at some point in the future sometimes). Common odd beliefs include having special powers or believing things to be “magical.” People affected by this disorder may exhibit suspiciousness and obsessive thoughts, often being fearful of social interactions due to their perception that people are attempting to use or harm them.
Cluster B disorders
- Antisocial personality disorder – Marked by callousness and a disregard for the feelings of others, people with this order are often irritable and aggressive, impulsive and stubborn. Sharing symptoms with psychopaths, people with APD often have functional relationships, appearing charming and social; however, they are often short lived due to the person’s disregard for others as well as criminal activity that may accompany it.
- Borderline personality disorder – Characterized by a lack of a sense of self, people with BPP usually experience intense feelings of emptiness and fears of being abandoned, resulting in unstable relationships that involve emotional outburst and impulsive behavior. Originally named after its position on the “borderline” between anxiety and psychotic disorders, BPD is commonly caused by childhood sexual abuse, making it arguably more prevalent in women.
- Histrionic personality disorder – People with this disorder suffer from an inherent lack of self worth, depending on the attention and approval of others and often resorting to melodramatic behavior in their efforts. They will often seem superficial or disingenuous due to their tendency to play a role for each person they are seeking attention from, reacting very poorly to criticism or rejection.
- Narcissistic personality disorder – Probably the most self-explanatory one on this list, people with NPD have an inflated sense of self-importance and need to be admired. Despite expecting others to envy them, they are usually envious of others and lack empathy, allowing them to more easily exploit others. Common traits include being selfish, controlling, insensitive, stubborn and vindictive.
Cluster C disorders
- Avoidant personality disorder – Marked by perceptions of being socially inept or inferior, people with APD will often avoid social situations out of fear of being embarrassed or rejected.
- Dependent personality disorder – Those affected by DPD suffer from a lack of self-confidence, often accompanied by neediness. They will ask for help for everyday decisions, fearing abandonment and doggedly pursing affection similarly to those with histrionic personality disorder. People with DPD often form relationships with those with cluster B disorders, feeding their need for admiration and inflated self-importance.
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder – Although different from obsessive compulsive disorder, people with OCPD are characterized by a preoccupation with organization, focusing obsessively on details, schedules and order. Common traits are being doubtful, overly cautious, controlling and humorless as well as being anxious in general.
Despite this current system enjoying over a century of use, it is not without its flaws. Due to excessive co-occurrence of symptoms and redundancy, many experts suggest a new system altogether. The most likely candidate involves a dimensional model, doing away with the unilateral lists of diagnostic criteria that do not account for many of the other variables in each situation, such as ones pertaining to the patient’s physical health. If you would like to learn more about the ways in which Sovereign Health treats personality disorders, feel free to browse the treatment programs section of our site or contact us today.
Written by Sovereign Health Group writer, Chase Beckwith