Different types of Personality Disorder (A comprehensive approach)

Different types of Personality Disorder
Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.


In this guide, we will discuss about the different types of personality disorder and elaborate on different domains like the causes, symptoms and treatment of this common issue. 

Personality is defined as an individual’s style of thinking, perceiving, and reacting across different situations. Our character stays almost the same in different locations. Whereas, a personality disorder is defined as a disorder that causes maladaptive functioning in an individual. In this disorder, an individual has a substantial and unhealthy pattern of thinking, operation, and behaving. 

This maladaptive functioning deviates from social norms that are pre-set by our society. Thus, it is readily observable by other people around that individual. Moreover, this personality disorder leads to social and occupational dysfunction as well. These individuals form difficulty in forming a positive and close bond with other people. Also, these personality disorders begin by late adolescence and are a cause of severe distress in an individual.

Causes of personality disorder:

The following is the aetiology of personality disorder:

  1. Genetics Play a huge role in the onset of a disease. There are some traits that you have inherited from your parents. These traits are hard to change and are named as temperament. The genetic factor increases the intensity and vulnerability of causing a behavior. 
  1. Environment: Surrounding is the place you learn a lot from. You see others and unconsciously at times, learn from them. Moreover, this even includes the bond you share with your family members, friends, relatives, etc. 
  1. Trauma: More causes of a personality disorder is trauma. It can be childhood abuse ranging from physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual abuse. It can be any injury or accident, as well. 
  1. Imbalance in the brain: Neurotransmitters in your brain play a vital role in your health. Thus, their decrease or increased quantity creates a disturbance in the normal functioning of an individual. The imbalance of serotonin causes personality disorder. This imbalance leads to depression, increased aggressive and violent behavior, and uncontrollable as well as recurrent thoughts of destroying oneself or others. 
  1. The problem in brain development: The development of science is proven through different MRIs, and CT scans that if any part of the brain is not developed correctly, it can lead to bipolar personality disorder. The three significant parts (amygdala, hippocampus, and orbitofrontal cortex) of the brain were not accurately developed than usual, which increases vulnerability. Amygdala is an organ that helps in regulating negative emotions like anxiety, fear, and rage, etc. Hippocampus and orbitofrontal cortex play vital role in memory formulation, decision making and future planning. 
Different types of Personality Disorder (A comprehensive approach)

Symptoms:

Many symptoms of personality disorder are made into three groups, based on their similar features. It is not crucial for all the signs to be present for the diagnosis of this disorder. Following are the symptoms of a personality disorder:

Personality disorder: Cluster-A

Cluster A possesses odd or unconventional behaviour. It is further divided into a paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.

1. Paranoid personality disorder: 

This type includes the following features:

  • Constant suspicion of other individuals and feelings of extreme distrust.
  • The unwarranted belief that others are in a constant trial of harming you. 
  • Hesitant to make a strong bond with others, due to the belief that they will use you in the end.
  • Showing extreme reaction like anger or disgust, on molecular events. 
  • The unjustified belief that your spouse is not faithful and trustworthy.
Different types of Personality Disorder (A comprehensive approach)

2. Schizoid personality disorder:

  • Social and occupational dysfunction. They prefer to stay alone. 
  • Inability to seek happiness in pleasurable things. 
  • Not able to see cues around. 
  • Little or no emotional expression. 

3. Schizotypal Personality disorder:

  • Hallucinations including mostly auditory hallucinations.
  • Delusions like persecutory delusion; a constant belief that someone is going to kill them, grandiose delusion; a firm and irrational belief about one’s skills and efforts. 
  • Little or no emotional expression.
  • Inability to be social and make a strong bond with others. 
  • Deviant and indifferent reactions to others. 
  • Directing every adverse event at oneself that it was meant for you. 

Personality disorder: Cluster-B

This group possesses overly-emotional reactions, unforeseeable, and dramatic style of thinking or behaving. The group B includes antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder Characteristics:

  • Showing the least concern for others feelings.
  • The constant habit of lying or stealing. 
  •  Instant or impulsive reaction. 
  • No regard for others safety. 
  • Showing aggressive and violent behavior. 
  • Continuous violation of laws.  

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms:

  • Showing impulsive behavior. 
  • The constant change of moods, especially during stressful situations.
  • They don’t possess a good self-image. 
  • Recurring thoughts of death and suicidal behavior. 
  • Showing aggressive behavior often. 
  • Extreme fear of being left alone or disregarded.

Histrionic Personality Disorder:

  • Increased attention-seeking behavior. 
  • Speaking with a lot of emotions and in a dramatic way with little or no facts to support them. 
  • Portraying instant or rapid change in moods. 
  • Getting impressed by others easily. 
  • Heightened concern about their looks and appearance.
  • An unrealistic view of the strength of relationships with others.  

Narcissistic personality disorder:

As the name suggests, this disorder revolves around oneself. Following are the symptoms of this disorder:

  • A firm belief that you are essential and outstanding than others. 
  • An unrealistic belief about one’s power and strengths than what they are in real. 
  • Showing arrogant and aggressive behavior.
  • Least concerned about others’ feelings and emotions.
  • A heightened image of one’s own achievement or skill. 
  • A pervasive and firm belief that others are jealous and envy you.

Personality disorder: Cluster-C

This group is characterized by the possession of fearful and an anxious style of thinking or reacting. It includes avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. 

Different types of Personality Disorder (A comprehensive approach)

Avoidant personality disorder:

  • the disorder includes the following symptoms:
  • A heightened rate of sensitivity to any criticism or rejection.
  • Constant feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
  • Occupational dysfunction that includes ignorance of work activities that require contact with other people. 
  • Possession of social anxiety that includes socially awkward, isolated behavior and includes avoiding new activities and meeting up new people. 
  • A heightened rate of shyness in social situations and personal relationships, as well. 
  • Extreme fear of being disregarded, disapproved, embarrassment, or ridiculed by others.

Dependent personality disorder:

You can understand by the name; this disorder revolves around extreme dependency on others. Following are the features included in this disorder:

  • Showing extreme clingy and adherent behavior towards others. 
  • Portraying a heightened dependency on other people with a firm belief that they need to be taken care of. 
  • Little or no self-esteem, including minimum confidence in oneself. 
  • No decision-making ability needs constant affirmation from others before making any decision, may it be a small or big one. 
  • A heightened fear of being left alone. 
  • Facing a lot of issue in initiating a new project.
  • Conforming to every situation and advice, with a fear that disapproval may lead them to be left alone. 
  • Extreme tolerance of negative and poor behavior when alternatives are present. 
  • Cannot live an independent life; if one close bond has ended, they need a new one urgently. 

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder:

This disorder contains the following traits:

  • They possess an extreme need for order and management; otherwise, it would cause them distress. 
  • A heightened rate of perfection in every situation. If perfection is not achieved, it would lead to serious impairment in functioning and will cause severe distress. 
  • Setting up unrealistic and perfect goals for one and others. 
  • A need to be in control of people and the inability to do leadership activities.
  • A decreased rate of socialization because of extreme involvement in works and tasks. 
  • They cannot discard and throw away unwanted things. 
  • Having a firm and stubborn behavior. 
  • Showing a very firm and strict behavior in rules and values. 

Possible Treatment Options:

  • The development of Psychology, many treatments have been created for Personality disorder. Many different kinds of Psychotherapy are provided to clients. Psychotherapy is a way for individuals to talk their heart out, gain insight about themselves selves and the various situations they face. Moreover, psychotherapy helps an individual coping in a different difficult situation. It helps people understand how their behavior impacts others and in what ways. 
  • Treatment for clients is tailored according to their needs, severity level, onset time, and the environment they live in. 

There are different types of psychotherapies that are applied to Clients and following are some of them:

  • Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic-It includes treatment based on an individual’s past. The primary purpose of this technique is to make an individual understand their problem. Moreover, it helps them in coping with different situations on their own. Thus, it makes them durable and capable enough to deal with their issues in the best way possible, but this technique does not work well for addictions and phobias. 
  • Dialectical behavior therapy-training based on evidence and behavior. 
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy-training based on changing irrational beliefs that cause negative behaviors. It is excellent for short term purposes, but it needs more data and research of an individual for long term purposes. 
  • Group therapy in the form of a group. 
  • Psych education- educating individuals and their families about the disorder, environmental effects on it, ways to cope with it and treatment. 

There are no particular and specific medications designed for this disorder. However, if one faces an extreme form of this disorder, then antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, or mood-stabilizing medications are given by the specialists. But, you should refrain from doing self-medication that can increase the vulnerability of this disorder.

Along with psychotherapies, some self-care tips and ways to tackle the situation on their own are taught to clients suffering, which is as follows:

  • The family members need to accept the disorder. If once approved, half the problem has been dealt with and resolved. It should be clearly understood that suffering from a mental issue is excellent. We can work on it and fix it. 
  • Knowledge about the problem and situation is crucial, as well. It helps an individual in taking future precautions as well. 
  • Proven by science, physical activity helps in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression that are some of the symptoms of Personality disorder. Physical activity, like exercising, releases hormones that make an individual happy and peaceful. 
  • It can increase the rate and intensity of personality disorder. Thus it is incredibly essential to abstain from drugs, alcohol, and tobacco for a better prognosis. 

Some useful resources:  

  1. Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder
  2. I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality
  3. Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship
  4. Borderline (Disorder Mix)
  5. The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook: An Integrative Program to Understand and Manage Your BPD (A New Harbinger Self-Help Workbook)

Conclusion

After going through all the symptoms, features, and treatment, it should be remembered that this disorder cannot be self-medicated. Moreover, it can include hallucinations and delusions as well, which can lead to little or no reality contact. Thus, you should contact a psychologist or psychiatrist as soon as possible when anyone around you goes through these symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do you know if someone has a personality disorder?

By examination and observation of the signs and symptoms discussed above.

Q2. What is the most common personality disorder?

Obsessive compulsive disorder

It is a disorder in which a person feels an urge and does a work repeatedly and cannot overcome the thoughts to do such things in a repetitive process.

Q3. Is bpd worse than bipolar?

It depends on the severity of the respective disorder.

Q4. Can personality disorders be cured?

Such disorders are difficult to treat because the persons having such disorders feel complication in overcoming the thoughts and are always tensed in all dealings of life.

Q5. Does bpd get worse with age?

It depends on the environment and the management he or she is taking. Moreover, the family history and heredity play a role in all of this.

Q6. What is the most difficult personality disorder to treat?

BPD is the most difficult disorder to treat as it is hardest to diagnose this disorder which delays its treatment as well its prognosis. 

References:

Different types of Personality Disorder (A comprehensive approach)