Types of personality disorders

Doctors use guidelines for diagnosing mental health problems. The main guidelines used are the:

  • International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) produced by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) produced by the American Psychiatric Association.

Personality disorders are grouped into 3 clusters: A, B and C.

Cluster A personality disorders

Having a cluster A personality disorder means that you find it difficult to relate to other people. You might be viewed as odd or eccentric.

Paranoid personality disorder

You may feel very suspicious of others and feel unable to trust them and confide in them, without any reason. You may believe people are lying to you or trying to take advantage of you.

Your psychiatrist should rule out schizophrenia, psychosis, and mood disorders if you have been diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.

Schizoid personality disorder

You may feel uninterested in forming social relationships and prefer to be alone. You might feel that having relationships would interfere with your life. You might have no interest in sex or intimacy. Other people may view you as being cold and distant.

Schizotypal personality disorder

With schizotypal personality disorder you will find making close relationships very difficult. Others may find your behaviour and reactions to emotions inappropriate or eccentric. You may feel anxious around those who do not share your beliefs.

It is also possible to see things that aren’t there and have strange or paranoid thoughts.

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders are grouped based on those who find it difficult to control their emotions. You might be viewed as unpredictable by others.

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)

With antisocial personality disorder you may be impulsive, reckless and not think about of how your actions affect others. You may be prepared to do things that other would not, in order to get what you want. You may act in a dangerous way and sometimes illegally. You may be easily frustrated, aggressive or prone to violence. Others may perceive you as acting selfishly and without guilt.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

If you are living with BPD you may experience strong emotions, mood swings and feelings you find difficult to cope with. You may feel distressed and anxious a lot of the time. You may have problems with your identity and how you view yourself. This can affect your relationships with others. BPD is also sometimes known as ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’.

Histrionic personality disorder

If you are diagnosed with histrionic personality disorder you may like being the centre of attention. You may feel uncomfortable about being ignored. This can cause you to behave in a way that appears over-dramatic or over-emotional. You may feel dependent on the approval of others and feel like you have to entertain them.

Narcissistic personality disorder

With narcissistic personality disorder you may have a high sense of self-importance. You may act like this in order to cover feelings of insignificance or unimportance. You might act selfishly to gain success, and take advantage of other people. You feel upset if you don’t get what you feel you deserve.

Cluster C personality disorders

People with cluster C personality disorders have strong feelings of fear or anxiety. They might appear withdrawn to other people.

Dependent personality disorder

If you have dependent personality disorder, you may allow other people to take responsibility for parts of your life. You may not have much self-confidence or be unable to do things alone. You may find that you put your own needs after the needs of others. You may feel hopeless or fear being alone.

Avoidant personality disorder

If you have avoidant personality disorder, you may have a fear of being judged negatively. This can cause you to feel uncomfortable in social situations. You might not like criticism, worry a lot and have low self-esteem. You may want affection, but worry that you will be rejected.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

With obsessive-compulsive personality disorder you may feel anxious if things are disorganised, unplanned or not exactly right. You may have exceptionally high standards for yourself and others and worry when you or others make mistakes. You may be very cautious and think about the small details.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is different to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD describes behaviour as opposed to a personality.

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