Understanding Personality Disorders


Everyone has a different personality style, including typical ways of perceiving one’s self and the world in general. Although personality development continues throughout life, most characteristic traits are formed by early adulthood of an individual
Personality is an individual’s unique and relatively consistent pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving, while personality disorders are a deviation from ones normal personality. Personality traits are diagnosed as a personality disorder only when they are inflexible, maladaptive and persistent and cause either significant functional impairment or subjective distress.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and uncles, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment. People with personality disorder have chronic problems dealing with responsibilities, roles and stressors, they also have difficulty understanding the causes of their problems or changing their behavioral patterns.
In this article we are going to discuss various types of personality disorders and their characteristics.



This is a pattern of suspiciousness such that others motives are interpreted as malevolent, hyper-vigilant; tense and irritable; always feels other will take advantage of them; oversensitive and tend to misinterpret minute cues; maintain self-esteem by attributing shortcomings to others. It is more common in men than women, those with paranoid personality disorder display four or more of the following:

  • Suspects without sufficient basis.
  • Preoccupation with unjustifiable doubts.
  • Reluctant to confide in others.
  • Always bears grudges.
  • Perceives assumed threat.

These individuals are isolated, experiences illusions, ideas of reference and magical thinking. Depersonalization, is always part of their everyday life. It is also characterized by a pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity foreclose relationships, as well as cognitive and perceptual distortions and odd behaviors from early adulthood as indicated by five or more of the following:

  • Idea of reference.
  • Odd believes and magical thinking.
  • Unusual perceptual experience.
  • Odd thinking and speeches.
  • Paranoid ideations.
  • Behaviour or appearance that is odd, eccentric, or peculiar.
  • Lack of friends or confidant other than first-degree relatives
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These individuals are loaners, a lifelong pattern of social withdrawal, discomfort with human interaction is apparent. Cold, aloof and indifferent to others. Prefer to work in isolation, unsociable, need no emotional ties. In the public they appear shy and anxious. They spear to lack a desire for intimacy, they show a pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationship and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal settings, it is indicated by four or more of these:

  • No desire for close relationship.
  • Always chooses solitary activities.
  • Little or no interest in sexual experience.
  • Indifferent to praise or criticism of others.
  • Shows emotional coldness, detachment or flattened activitity.

Individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder shows chronic indifference and predatory attitude towards others: socially irresponsible: exploitative: fail to conform to law, sustain no stable relationship or employment and have low tolerance for frustration. The essential feature of Antisocial Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others. Indicated by three or more of the following:

  • Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviour.
  • Deceitfulness
  • Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead.
  • Irritability and aggressiveness.
  • Reckless disregard for safety of self or others.
  • Consistent irresponsibility.
  • Lack of remorse.

Individuals with Histrionic Personal Disorder shows self dramatization, extroverted, can’t hold long-lasting relationship, always seek approval and acceptance from others, attention seeking, overly gregarious and seductive, manipulative and exhibitionistic behaviours, tends to be successful, popular, attractive and sociable. The essential feature of Histrionic Personality Disorder is pervasive and excessive emotionality and attention-seeking behaviour, indicated by five or more of the following:

  • Uncomfortable in ordinary situations.
  • Inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behaviour.
  • Rapidly shifting and shallow expression of emotions.
  • Uses physical appearance to draw attention to self.
  • Self-dramatization.
  • Assumes intimacy in relationship than it is.
  • Suggestibility.
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Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder shows self-importance, exaggerated self-worth, hypersensitive to the evaluation of others, believes to have the right for special consideration, lack empathy. These individuals show pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration. Indicated by five or more of the following:

  • Grandiose sense of self-importance.
  • Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love.
  • Believes to be special.
  • Requires excessive admiration.
  • Has sense of entitlement.
  • Lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
  • Envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitude.

Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder shows instability and always seems to be in a state of crisis. Affect is one of extreme intensity and behaviour frequently changes. The individuals show pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal ralationship, self-image, affect, and marked Impulsivity from earl adulthood as indicated by five or more of the following:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
  • Persistent unstable self-image.
  • Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging
  • Recurrent suicidal behaviour, gestures, threats or self-mutilating behaviour.
  • Chronic feeling of emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.

Individuals with Dependent Personality Disorder depend on others, lack of self-confidence, always assume passive and submissive role in a relationship, and becomes anxious with the position of responsibility. The individuals show pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that lead to submissive and clinging behaviour and fears from separation. It is indicated by five or more of the following:

  • Difficulty in making everyday decision without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others.
  • Need others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life.
  • Difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of of fear of loss of support or approval from them.
  • Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of fear of being unable to care for self.
  • Urgently seek another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relyends.
  • Unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of self.
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individuals with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder are excessively preoccupied with trivial details, overly disciplined, perfectionist, meticulous and always formal. These individuals show pervasive pattern of preoccupation orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness and efficiency, it is indicated by four or more of the following:

  • Preoccupied with details, rules, orders, organization, or schedules.
  • Shows perfectionism that interferes with task competition.
  • Unable to discard worn-out worhtless objects even when they have no sentimental value.
  • Reluctant to delegate tasks or work with others unless they submit to his or her way of doing things.
  • Always rigid and stubborn.

individuals with Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder show indirect expression of resistance to demand, lacks assertiveness, always feel cheated and unappreciated. They also show a pervasive pattern of negativistic attitudes and passive resistance to demand for adequate performance from early adulthood as indicated by four or more of the following:

  • Sullen and argumentative.
  • Complains of being misunderstood and unappreciated by others.
  • Unreasonably criticize and scorns authority.
  • Expresses envy and resentment towards those apparently more fortunate.
  • Exaggerated and persistent complaints of personal misfortune.
  • Alternates between hostile disobedience and remorsefulness.
Facial expressions of personality disorders

Personality Disorders are very common among people today, but I believe that with the above information you will be able to identify and understand that the personality of the people around you.

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