A personality disorder is a mental disorder characterized by rigid and unhealthy thought patterns that negatively impact a person’s social encounters and behavior. People with personality disorders may have difficulties at work, school or home. They may also have trouble maintaining healthy relationships.
Clinicians have divided personality disorders into three clusters.
Cluster A personality disorders include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder. These disorders are all characterized by odd or eccentric thoughts and behavior.
Cluster B personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. These disorders all share dramatic, unpredictable or overly emotional thought patterns and behavior.
Cluster C personality disorders include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxiety or fearful thoughts and behavior.
Personality disorders are a broad category of illnesses with many different symptoms and manifestations. A person with narcissistic personality disorder would act nothing like a person with schizotypal personality disorder.
Here is a brief summary of the symptoms associated with each personality disorder.
They aren’t. A study published in The British Journal of Psychiatry found that the line between mental illness and personality disorder is more blurred than scientists previously thought. In the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), or the bible of the mental health profession, personality disorders are now grouped with psychiatric illnesses rather than remaining in their own category.
That being said, a number of mental illnesses are regularly confused with personality disorders. For instance, bipolar disorder is frequently mistaken for borderline personality disorder (and vice-versa) because both disorders involve impulsive behavior and periods of depression. The two conditions, however, are very distinct. Unlike people with borderline personality disorder, people with bipolar disorder experience extreme highs. People with borderline personality disorder also tend to experience more difficulties with interpersonal relationships.
Personality disorders can be treated. Psychotherapy and medication may be able to reduce some of the symptoms and allow the patient to lead a healthier life.
Convincing people with personality disorders to seek treatment can be difficult, because they often do not see issues with their behavior and believe that other people are at fault. The most important thing for people with personality disorders is to recognize that their thoughts are not normal and that they can get help.
The Sovereign Health Group provides patients with treatment programs designed to address mental illness by treating it at its source — the brain. From the moment our patients contact us, we work with them to be sure that we know what they need and can provide a solution. For more information, please contact us at our 24/7 helpline.
Courtney Lopresti, M.S., is a senior staff writer for the Sovereign Health Group where she uses her scientific background to write online blogs and articles for a general audience. At the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned her Master’s in neuroscience, she used functional neuroimaging to study how the human cerebellum contributes to language processing. In her spare time, she writes fiction, reads Oliver Sacks and spends time with her two cats and bird. Courtney is currently located in Minneapolis. For more information and other inquiries about this article, contact the author at email@example.com.
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