Table of Contents

What is Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are mental illnesses that affect a patient’s ability to form and keep interpersonal relationships, adapt to the changing demands of life, and use healthy behavior patterns. People with disordered personalities often feel as though their behaviors are “normal,” but they struggle with their rigid worldviews and social difficulties.

Like all mental illnesses, a personality disorder disrupts a person’s life. Patients must meet several criteria before they receive a diagnosis of this kind. The psychologist must see deeply embedded behavior patterns that show that the patient’s perceptions, actions, thoughts, and relations with others are severely distorted.

Personality disorders tend to present in the teenage years, and symptoms continue well into adulthood. By middle age, the signs of the disease tend to be less evident than before.

How Common Are Personality Disorders?

An estimated ten percent of people in the world live with a personality disorder. While they are less common in popular media and general discussions than other disorders, personality disorders are relatively common. These disorders often occur alongside other types of mental health conditions, such as mood or anxiety disorders.

Types of Personality Disorders

The mental health community divides personality disorders into three main categories, called clusters:

Cluster A, Suspicious

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Cluster B, Emotional and Impulsive

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Custer C, Anxious

  • Avoidant Personality Disorder
  • Dependent Personality Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

What Causes Personality Disorders?

Early childhood events, genetic predispositions, and environmental factors can all play roles in personality disorders. Experts do not entirely agree on the primary reasons that some people develop these illnesses, and the exact causes may vary among patients.

Behavioral health professionals can help patients with these disorders. Search our provider directory to find a top-rated therapist near you.