Personality Disorders

Personality Disorder is a pattern of behavioral and internal experiences that varies from individual to individual, based on their backgrounds and the ways they perceive themselves and others. Appropriateness of emotional responses, interpersonal functioning, and impulse-control can be affected by a personality disorder.

Paranoid Personality Disorder is a condition that leads people to irrationally mistrust others – specifically, to suspect others’ motives and interpret them as malevolent. Criteria include suspecting that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving them; preoccupation with doubts about the loyalty and trustworthiness of friends and acquaintances; reluctance to confide in others; persistent grudges; imagined attacks on one’s character or reputation; and unfounded suspicions of spousal infidelity.

Schizoid Personality Disorder is a detachment in personal and social relationships. Individuals with this disorder neither desire nor enjoy close relationships, including being part of a family. They almost always prefer solitary activities, have little to no interest in sexual relations, take pleasure in few activities, have few if any close friends, appear indifferent to praise or criticism, and show emotional coldness or detachment.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder is a pattern of social and personal deficits marked by discomfort with close relationships, as well as distortion of the thought process or perceptual distortion and eccentric behavior. Schizotypal Personality Disorder traits include odd beliefs and magical thinking (superstitions, belief in clairvoyance, telepathy, or “sixth sense”); unusual perceptual experiences, including bodily illusions; odd thinking and speech; suspicious or paranoid ideas; odd, eccentric, or peculiar behavior; lack of close friends; and excessive social anxiety.

Antisocial Personality Disorder is the disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others. Personality traits include failure to conform to social norms with behaviors that are grounds for arrest; deceitfulness; impulsiveness and a failure to plan ahead; irritability and aggressiveness; reckless disregard for the safety of others; and irresponsibility, along with a lack of remorse for negative actions.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships and self-image. Criteria include frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; persistently unstable self-image or sense of self; impulsiveness in areas that are potentially self-damaging (reckless spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating); recurrent suicidal behavior, threats or gestures; chronic feelings of emptiness; inappropriate, intense anger or inability to control anger; and stress-related paranoid ideas.

Histrionic Personality Disorder is characterized as excessive emotional and attention-seeking behavior. Character traits include feeling uncomfortable in situations where one is not the center of attention. Interaction with others is often characterized by inappropriate sexually seductive or provocative behavior. Other traits include changeable and shallow expressions of emotions; constant use of physical appearance to draw attention to oneself; excessive impressionistic style of speech; showing an exaggerated expression of emotions; being easily influenced by others; and believing that relationships are more intimate than they actually are.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy for others. Traits of the disorder include fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; a grand sense of self-importance; belief that one is special or unique; feeling entitled; taking advantage of others to achieve meet one’s own needs; unwillingness to identify with the feelings or needs of others; envy of others and a belief that others are envious in return; and displays of arrogant behaviors or attitudes.

Avoidant Personality Disorder is a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to evaluations by others. Criteria include avoiding activities because of fear of being criticized, disapproved or rejected; unwillingness to get involved with people unless there is a certainty of being liked; restraint within intimate relationships for fear of being shamed or ridiculed; preoccupation with being criticized or rejected in social settings; views of oneself as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others; and reluctance to take personal risks or engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing.

Dependent Personality Disorder is the excessive need to be taken care of that leads to clinging behaviors and fears of separation. Personality traits include difficulty making everyday decisions without the advice and reassurance of others; the need for others to assume responsibility for most major areas of one’s life; difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear or loss of support of others; difficulty doing things on one’s own; going to excessive lengths to gain support from others, even if that means doing something unpleasant; discomfort being alone for fear of not being able to take care of oneself; urgently seeking a new relationship when a close relationship ends; and preoccupation with fears of being left to take care of oneself.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. Character traits include being preoccupied with details, rules, lists, order, organization, or schedules to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost; having perfectionism interfere with task completion; excessive devotion to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships; inflexibilty about matters of morality, ethics, or values; inability to throw get rid of worn-out or worthless objects; reluctance to delegate tasks or to work with others unless they submit exactly to one’s way of doing things; hoarding money in case of imagined for future catastrophes, to the point of being regarded as “cheap” by others; and showing excessive rigidity and stubbornness.

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