All You Need to Know About Personality Disorders

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Human beings are complex social creatures. Our personality plays an important role when it comes to managing relationships with others, whether it is in the home, at work or in social settings, where one can display his/her emotions without a face-to-face encounter, which has led to some of the most unusual and sometimes just plain scary and dangerous posts. How we interact, behave and think is all determined by the type of personality we have. 

What are Personality Disorders? 

Our personality can be determined by many factors. Our upbringing and social environment would be at the top of the list; however, there are certain factors which can result in changes in our mood. This may involve a change in behavior and thought process which is unhealthy and damaging to relationships. An inflexible and destructive thought process and behavior is known as a personality disorder.     

People suffering from these disorders have difficulty in managing relationships and day to day tasks. They have trouble dealing with stress and coping with routine situations which may arise every day. Personality disorders not only affect the behavior with others but it also involves how a person treats him/herself. 

Types of Personality Disorders 

Based on characteristics, personality disorders are divided into three clusters. The signs and symptoms  vary with the type of condition. People suffering from cluster A will exhibit different symptoms when compared with individuals suffering from cluster B. It is possible to get diagnosed with more than one personality disorder. 

Cluster A – Suspicious

This is characterized by odd, eccentric behavior. The common features of this type of personality include social awkwardness and withdrawal. These people have trouble forming close relationships, even with family. Lack of trust even among the closest relatives in one of the most important warning signs. Some of the common personality disorders which are part of this group are:

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder 
  • Schizoid 
  • Schizotypal

Cluster B – Impulsive and Emotional

This cluster is characterized by trouble in controlling emotions and behavior. It causes serious problems when it comes to managing relationships. People suffering from this condition not only have trouble with others but they have irrational and erratic behavior towards themselves as well. The four personality disorders which fall under this cluster are:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline 
  • Histrionic 
  • Narcissistic 

Cluster C- Anxious

This cluster is characterized by intense anxiety and fear. It can seriously hamper a person’s ability to manage routine stress. As a result, it is particularly dangerous as it can affect a person’s normal functioning of life. Disorders included in this cluster are: 

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive 

Causes of Personality Disorder

Personality disorders can be attributed to many factors, not the least of which could be associated with mental illnesses, such as bipolar or schizophrenia, but in this article, we will keep it simple by just listing some of the reasons why one would have a disorder with his/her personality.  

According to research some of the common causes include: 


A malfunctioning gene is an important contributing factor in the development of a number of personality disorders, including OCD. More research is trying to find the link between genetics and other common disorders like anxiety.  

Childhood Trauma 

Childhood trauma is likely to be an important cause of developing personality disorders. A research study has found that the number and type of childhood trauma is closely linked with different types of personality disorders. For example, children who experience sexual abuse have a higher risk of developing borderline personality disorders.    

Verbal Abuse

It is rightly said that verbal abuse is far more dangerous than physical abuse. Research shows that adults who were exposed to verbal abuse during childhood were three times more likely to develop various personality disorders.  

Inadequate Parenting 

Inadequate parenting is one of the potential causes of developing personality disorders. Children who feel left out, are unheard or come from disturbed families are more likely to develop personality disorders. In comparison to those children who were nurtured and brought up in a loving and caring environment. 


A personality disorder is usually not determined by a physical exam. However, a physical exam is conducted to screen and rule out other possible causes of behavioral issues. A detailed psychiatric evaluation is the most important step in identifying and diagnosing the type of personality disorder. The symptoms of the patient are then be compared to the criteria provided by the American Psychiatric Association known as DSM-5. 


Personality disorders are a serious condition affecting the quality of life of a person. It is detrimental to relationships and for the individual. Often people suffering from personality disorders have denial issues. However, it is important to realize that these conditions are not self-curative. They need proper medical intervention. 

These disorders are difficult to cure but appropriate diagnosis and effective treatment can turn out positive results. Common treatments for curing personality disorders include: 


A number of psychiatric drugs are prescribed to control the symptoms of personality disorders. Some common medications used include: 

  • Mood Stabilizers 
  • Anti-depressants 
  • Anti-psychotic drugs and 
  • Anti-anxiety medications. 


Psychotherapy is guided intervention by a psychologist to treat the personality disorder. This method may be used alone or as an alongside treatment with medicines. Trained psychologists use talk therapy to modify the thought process of patients. These sessions are effective for stabilizing mood and behavior. The process may also involve the family members of the patient. Some of the common types of therapies include

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy 
  • Family focused therapy


In some cases, a personality disorder may be very severe. In such cases, it is important to hospitalize the patient. This treatment is usually used when the patient can inflict self-harm or may harm others. To avoid such conditions, patients are hospitalized and adequate treatment is provided.