What are Different Types of Personality Disorders?

Learn about the 10 main types of personality disorders and how they affect the lives of millions of Americans every year.

Personality disorders occur when people find it difficult to cope with changes in their daily lives normally. Inflexible and maladaptive personality traits differ from one person to the other. Only when they reach extreme stages, do we call them personality disorders.

The American Psychiatric Association identified and assessed 10 different types grouped into 3 main categories: suspicious personality disorders, emotional and impulsive personality disorders, and anxious personality disorders. This article will learn about personality disorders’ common signs and symptoms.

Suspicious Personality Disorders:

#1. Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)

In this mental disorder, a person has general feelings of mistrust and suspicion of others. People with PPD might lose their jobs and cannot pay their bills due to their pervasiveness and sense of paranoia. Such a mental disorder might wreck their lives. PPD is characterized by:

  • Long-term distrust and suspiciousness of others.
  • Excessive hostility.
  • Overt argumentativeness.
  • Recurrent complaining.
  • Aloofness.
  • Over-the-top guarded, secretive, or devious manner.
  • Lacking tender feelings.
  • Preoccupation with unjustified doubts.
  • Persistently bearing grudges.
  • Often imagines spouse infidelity or murder plots against them.

#2. Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

It is referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy in popular culture. It is one of the most alarming personality disorders because it might lead to crime if it isn’t properly diagnosed and treated. The onset of ASPD could be traced back to early adulthood or adolescence. It consists of the majority of these symptoms:

  • Failure to conform to societal norms and regulations. People suffering from this disorder always challenge the law, get into trouble, and fight very often.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Repeated lying, use of fake aliases, and conning others.
  • Aggressiveness, irritability, and liability to violence.
  • Lack of remorse or empathy.
  • Recklessness.
  • Disregard for others’ feelings and safety.
  • Irresponsibility, especially at work.

#3. Schizoid Personality Disorder

This is a chronic personality disorder that is only diagnosed in adulthood. Schizoids suffer a form of long-term detachment from society. A very prominent feature of this disorder is the lack of sexual desire or interest. A person with schizoid personality disorder avoids intimacy at all costs and is thought of as an “extreme loner. ”

The main signs and symptoms of the schizoid disorder include:

  • No sense of family, no desire for normal familial relationships.
  • Rarely is interested in any activities, especially team-building activities and team sports.
  • Indifference to praise or criticism from others.
  • Overall emotional detachment and often described as “cold” and “distant.”
  • Low libido, schizoids have no sex life and don’t even seek it.
  • Difficulty in expressing anger.
  • Lack of motivation.
  • Impaired employment or work functioning.

#4. Schizotypal Personality Disorder

This disorder manifests itself in many bizarre behaviors that dominate the patient’s life and wrecks it. One key difference between this personality disorder and schizophrenia is the absence of hallucinations and delusions in the former. It is characterized by a pattern of social and interpersonal impairments that present themselves in some of the following contexts:

  • Ideas of reference (incorrect interpretation of casual, everyday events).
  • Peculiar, eccentric, and unusual thinking, including extreme superstitions, firm belief in the supernatural, bizarre fantasies, and desires.
  • Belief in super powers like telepathy, clairvoyance, or mind reading.
  • Odd thinking and style of speech.
  • Belief in conspiracy theories.
  • High level of social anxiety.
  • Constricted affect (a schizotypal patient wouldn’t be able to express emotions in a full range of intensity, as if they are being restricted).
  • Perceptual alterations like phantom limbs, derealization, depersonalization, and out-of-body experiences.

Emotional and Impulsive Personality Disorders:

#1. Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionics are defined by the intensity of emotions rather than their lack. This extreme form of the “attention whore” concept is characterized by the following:

  • Desperately seeking attention in all kinds of situations or social circles.
  • Discomfort in situations where they are not the center of attention.
  • Rapidly shifting display of emotions.
  • Use of physical appearance and sexuality to gain attention.
  • Exaggerated, excessively impressionistic style of speech.
  • Theatrical, self-dramatized emotional expression.
  • Easily influenced by others.
  • Impaired relationships due to the theatrical either acting as the prince/princess or the victim in the relationship.

#2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A narcissist is a person with an ego as huge as the Atlantic Ocean. People who have narcissistic personality disorder showcase the following symptoms:

  • Egotistical occupation with self.
  • Constantly envisioning self in situations of unlimited success, power, and wealth.
  • Expects excessive admiration from surrounding people.
  • A firm belief that they are one of a kind, very beautiful, and unique.
  • Strong sense of entitlement.
  • Lacks empathy and compassion.
  • Taking advantage of others’ weaknesses.
  • Arrogant, haughty, and aggressive behavior.

#3. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

BPD is one of the most serious personality disorders. People with BPD exhibit suicidal and self-injurious behaviors, mood swings, impulsive reactions, and stressful relationships with family and friends.

Signs and symptoms of BPD include:

  • Extreme emotional instability.
  • Suicidal, self-injurious behavior includes indulging in risky sexual relationships, reckless driving, binge eating, and self-mutilation.
  • The overall feeling of emptiness.
  • Distorted and unstable sense of identity.
  • Athazagoraphobia (fear of abandonment).
  • Uncontrollable feelings of rage lead to getting involved in physical fights too often.
  • Paranoid thoughts and behavior.

Anxious Personality Disorders:

#1. Dependent Personality Disorder

This is one of the personality disorders often manifested in the elderly or victims of sexual abuse. A dependent personality disorder would suffer from major bouts of depression, worthlessness, and severe dependence on others. Some also express extreme forms of jealousy or possessiveness. The main characteristics of this disorder are:

  • Difficulty making everyday, simple decisions.
  • Annoyingly needy and “clingy” behavior.
  • Fear of being alone might progress into a full-blown phobia.
  • Humiliation and submission are to obtain nurturance and love from others.
  • Extreme passivity and helplessness.
  • Preoccupation with fear of being abandoned, broken up with, or left alone.
  • Liability to being mistreated or abused without complaining.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and shame.
  • Self-blame for physical or sexual violence.
  • Avoiding responsibility at all costs.

#2. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) 

One must not confuse obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). One of the key differences is that OCD belongs to anxiety disorders, while OCPD is one of the main personality disorders.

Learn more about the difference between OCD and OCPD

People with OCPD are diagnosed for the presence of four or more of the following:

  • Impossible perfectionism.
  • Obsession with rules, lists, orders, and schedules.
  • Emotional rigidity.
  • Inflexible ideas concerning morality and ethics.
  • Inability to discard home appliances, furniture, or personal belongings even when worn out.
  • Irritatingly bossy nature.
  • Extreme miserly attitude toward money, even at the expense of their health or luxury.
  • Hoarding behavior.
  • Excessive devotion to work and severe deprivation of their pleasure.

#3. Avoidant Personality Disorder

People who suffer from this disorder are often the “very shy, hypersensitive” category of the population. Individuals with this disorder avoid any social gathering, work environment, or school activity so that they won’t have to interact with other people. This is one of the most disabling personality disorders because it leads to the person being completely isolated from the outside world. After all, they have become too fragile to endure even the slightest criticism from anybody.

Other characteristics include:

  • Restraining oneself in a relationship. Who could describe it as “shutting off” the significant other?
  • Not fitting in any social environment.
  • Feelings of inadequacy or incompetency.
  • Reluctant to take personal risks.
  • Struggling career due to extreme shyness or backing out of jobs and projects.

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