Personality disorders are a group of mental health issues
Personality disorders are a group of mental health issues

Based on people’s features, signs, and symptoms, personality disorders are grouped into three main types called clusters: cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C. Each cluster is further divided into more subtypes.

Cluster A

People with cluster A personality disorder have odd or eccentric behavior. They are suspicious and have difficulty in relating to people. It includes:

Paranoid personality disorder:

People with paranoid personality disorder are suspicious, untrusting, and unforgiving. They perceive others as unfaithful, disloyal, or deceitful. They have hold grudges and are prone to angry aggressive outbursts without any reason. They may be jealous, guarded, and secretive, appearing to be aloof and serious.

Schizoid personality disorder:

People with schizoid personality disorder are introverted, withdrawn, distant, and emotionally cold. They are indifferent toward people, fear closeness with others, have very few social relationships, and prefer to be alone. They may be brooding with introspection and fantasy and have cognitive and perceptual distortions.

Schizotypal personality disorder:

People with schizotypal personality disorder have odd or eccentric behavior of dressing, thinking, or speaking. They may react inappropriately, talk to themselves, have weird thoughts, and have difficulties forming relationships. They exhibit signs of magical thinking, believing that they can see the future, read other people’s minds, and influence events.

Cluster B

People with cluster B personality disorder have impulsive, dramatic, or erratic behavior. They are unpredictable and find it difficult to control their emotions. Cluster-B includes:

Antisocial personality disorder:

People with antisocial personality disorder are impulsive, irresponsible, and insensitive to others’ feelings or needs. They are quarrelsome, violent, and aggressive. They ignore rules and social norms, face recurrent problems with the law, persistently lie, steal, and con people. They do not remorse for their behavior. Typically the antisocial personality shows up in childhood. These people are at high risk for substance abuse and alcoholism.

Borderline personality disorder:

People with borderline personality disorder have unstable interpersonal relationships, mood swings, fragile self-image, episodes of stress-related paranoia, unpredictable self-destructive actions, and frequent displays of anger. They tend to engage in impulsive and risky behavior, such as unprotected sex, binge drinking, and gambling. They fear being alone or abandoned. So, to manipulate others, they display suicidal behavior or threaten others. 

Narcissistic personality disorder:

People with narcissistic personality disorder have an inflated sense of self-importance. They exaggerate their achievements and brag about their attractiveness, success, or power. They constantly seek praise and admiration, lack empathy for other people, act selfishly to gain success, exploit interpersonal relationships, and take advantage of others.

Histrionic personality disorder:

People with histrionic personality disorder constantly seek attention by being overly dramatic and emotional. They are also sexually provocative. They like being the center of attention and feel uncomfortable when ignored or criticized. They are easily influenced by others, have shallow feelings, and are excessively concerned about their physical appearance.


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Cluster C

People with cluster C personality disorder have anxious fearful behavior and might appear aloof. Cluster C includes:

Avoidant personality disorder:

People with avoidant personality disorders have social inhibition, timidity, isolation, low self-esteem. They avoid activities involving interpersonal contact. They are sensitive to rejection, criticism, and being judged negatively. Due to extreme shyness and fear of disapproval, embarrassment, or ridicule, they may have no close relationships beyond their family circle.

Dependent personality disorder:

People with dependent personality disorder lack self-confidence, require excessive reassurance, exhibit submissive or clingy behavior, rarely do things independently, and depend on others for their emotional and physical needs. They are easily hurt by criticism or disapproval. Typically, they do not disagree with others and have tolerance for abusive treatment due to fear of disapproval or rejection. They are distraught when a relationship ends and urgently start a new relationship when one has ended.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder:

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder have an overwhelming need for perfection, order, rules, and regulations. They have a strong desire to control people, tasks, situations, and budget money. They are extremely orderly and methodical but inflexible and incapable of adapting to changed situations. They cannot delegate tasks and discard broken or worthless things. They neglect social and fun activities due to excessive commitment to work.

What causes personality disorders?

Combination of factors that contribute to causing personality disorders include:

  • Genes: Genetic factors and family history.
  • Trauma: Includes physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse.
  • Environment: Involves the surroundings, events, and relationships when growing up.
  • High reactivity: Sensitivity to light, noise, texture, and other stimuli has been linked to certain personality disorders.

What is the treatment for personality disorders?

Treatment may be required for months or years. It also depends on the type of personality disorder and its severity. Treatment may include:

  • Psychotherapy includes dialectical behavior therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, cognitive analytical therapy, mentalization-based therapy, psychodynamic/psychoanalytical therapy, therapeutic communities, and family therapy.
  • Medications include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotic, and anti-anxiety medications.
  • Hospitalization treatment program.
  • Self-help and coping.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/24/2021
American Psychological Association. What Causes Personality Disorders?

Bienenfeld D. Personality Disorders. Medscape.