Personality Disorder: Types, Symptoms & Causes

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A personality disorder is a broad term that includes a number of mental disorders, and given that researchers suggest roughly 10% of the population suffers from one disorder in some way, it is critical to understand the different types, symptoms, and causes of personality disorders.

What is a Personality Disorder?

A “personality disorder” is a much broader classification of mental disorders that can affect behavior and personality in many different ways. A general description of mental disorders is a situation in which negative patterns of thinking and behavior become long-term concerns, leading to views of the world and one’s self in a way that is different than that of their cultural norms. There are numerous manifestations of personality disorder, from poor cognition or impulse control to lessened emotional capacity and social dysfunction. This term has become much more common in medical and psychiatric circles in the past decade, as the truly pervasive and widespread nature of mental disorders has become better understood.

Causes of Personality Disorders

The causes of personality disorders are as varied as the ways in which they present, including environmental and genetic predisposition causes, but one of the most common factors is an emotionally traumatic or abusive childhood, which is when permanent behavioral traits are often formed and solidified.

The early years of development are crucial to an individual’s perception of the world, as well as their place within it. Due to the timing of abuse and emotional maturity, personality disorders are typically diagnosed in the teenage or early adult years, although some cases are accurately diagnosed in younger children. A family history of mental disorders or an early childhood diagnosis of conduct disorder can both manifest into the problems you most fear.

The mind is a terribly powerful and frightening tool when it goes awry, as these disorders show so clearly. Since the spectrum of personality disorder is so wide, they are generally broken down into three categories – A, B and C.

Types of Personality Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders divides personality disorders into the following three “clusters”.

Cluster A – Odd, Bizarre and Eccentric

The three types included in this cluster are Paranoid, Schizoid and Schizotypal Personality Disorders. Although these are notably different, it is not within the scope of this article to describe each condition. As a group, they are characterized by:

  • A lack of desire to interact socially
  • Tendency towards suspicion and mistrust of others
  • Retreating into an inner world and believing in the fantastical notions they find there
  • Fear interaction with others and some may find it too difficult or have no interest in doing so

Cluster B – Dramatic or Erratic

This second cluster represents people with four common personality disorders: Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Again, while each of these is unique, the cluster as a whole exhibit:

  • Behavior of selfishness and self-obsession, either placing themselves ahead of the needs of others, or
  • Being seemingly “unable” to care about others
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • The flexibility or absence of a permanent personality which may lead to failed relationships, a penchant for deception and manipulation, and a weakened sense of identity.

Cluster C – Anxious or Fearful

The types contained in this cluster include Avoidant, Dependent and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders. The primary characteristics of these disorders are:

  • Fear of inadequacy or a lack of control, which results in extreme anxiety
  • A tendency to see the world as either good or bad, black or white, harmful or safe.
  • A strong feeling of anxiety about social connections, either constantly needing to be with others for validation or avoiding social contact due to fear of rejection or criticism.
  • A lack of control over reality drives them to attempt to assert more control, but the cycle repeats and leaves them feeling helpless

Thankfully there are many home remedies that can help in providing relief from personality disorders. Some of the home remedies for relieving symptoms of personality disorder include yoga, meditation, exercises, aromatherapy, ketogenic diet and good sleeping habits.

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