Personality disorders are chronic psychological disorders that may affect a patient’s life to a great extent. Having this kind of disorder usually affects the patient’s family, social life and work negatively. Symptoms of the disorder may be mild or severe if featured completely. The majority of sufferers may conduct a normal daily life with mild personality disorders, if managed properly with medications. However, periods of increased stress or pressures often worsen the symptoms of the disorder and may critically interfere with one’s emotional functioning.
Classification of personality disorders
There are ten diagnosed personality disorders, grouped into three classes or clusters: A, B, and C.
Cluster A refers to odd or eccentric disorders such as paranoid personality disorder (characterized by irrational mistrust and suspicion of others), schizoid personality disorder (characterized by the lack of interest in social relationships) and schizotypal personality disorder (characterized by strange behavior or thinking)
Cluster B refers to dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders such as antisocial personality disorder (characterized by disregard of the law and rights of others), borderline personality disorder (characterized by extreme black and white thinking and emotional instability), historic personality disorder (characterized by extreme attention-seeking behavior) and narcissistic personality disorder (characterized by the need for admiration and a lack of empathy).
Cluster C refers to anxious or fearful disorders such as avoidant personality disorder (characterized by social inhibition and negative self-image), dependent personality disorder (characterized by extreme dependence on other people) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (characterized by rigidness and excessive orderliness).
Cluster B personality disorders
Antisocial Personality Disorder
People with antisocial personality disorder are often labeled sociopaths or psychopaths. This condition is characterized by an omnipresent model of disregard and violation of the law and rights of the others, which begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. Symptoms of the disorder include the habit of lying or stealing, lack of remorse and empathy for others, cruelty to animals, insufficient anger control, expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, inability to tolerate boredom, violent behavior, disregard for safety and chronic difficulties with the law. In order to be diagnosed with this condition, an individual has to be older than the age of 18 and to have a documented history of social norms violation
Borderline Personality Disorder
This disorder is characterized by frequent mood swings and “black and white” thinking. Patient is often stuck in idealization or devaluation episodes and has severe problems with interpersonal relationships, self-worth, identity and behavior. In most severe cases, patients may go through periods of dissociation. Patients borderline personality disorder will often swing between the phases in which they idealize or demonize their close ones. This may severely affect social relationships with family, friends and coworkers. They are also prone to eruptions of anger that also include a self-harm behavior.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Persons with historic personality disorder will seek the extreme attention and have pronounced need of approval. They may often manifest an inappropriate seductiveness and seem to be vigorous, theatrical, passionate and flirtatious. They are easily influenced by others and may manifest many other psychological and emotional features such as: egocentrism, self-indulgence, manipulative manners, yearning for appreciation and may have feelings that are easily hurt.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Persons with this disorder have an excessive need for admiration and they are usually preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power and prestige. They are extremely self-centered. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder usually believe they are superior to others and they show no empathy for other’s feelings or problems. However, deep inside, narcissistic persons are people with fragile self-esteem, extremely vulnerable even to the slightest criticism.