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The term personality disorder refers to a type of mental illness where the general thought processes as well a way or perceiving situations and relationships are dysfunctional. There are many different personality disorders but what is common between them is that they all mean that a person has a self-destructive or self-denigrating behavior or way of thinking. These disorders bring about changes and disruptions of daily and work routines, as well as relationships, but are sometimes not noticed by the person suffering from them, as they may appear completely normal to that person.

The common signs and symptoms of personality disorders include: frequent mood swings difficulties in making friends poor control of impulsive behavior, angry outbursts and stormy relationships, social isolation a need for instant gratification and alcohol or drug abuse. There are three general groups of personality disorders called clusters. Cluster A is a group of disorders marked by odd eccentric behavior and thinking, distrust and indifference to others, the disorders in this group are: paranoid personality disorder schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder. Cluster B is made up of disorders characterized by antisocial and violent, dramatic and overly emotional behavior and thinking, and these are: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. In cluster C, we can find disorders marked by dependent, anxious, fearful thinking and behavior, and these are: avoidant personality disorder dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Thios final disorder should not be confused with the obsessive-compulsive disorder which is a different type of anxiety disorder.

If you or anyone you know manifest more of these symptoms over a period of time, it would be advisable to see a doctor or a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment, as these disorders can seriously can cause problems in normal life and work. It is crucial to have an open and frank talk with the person who is suffering from any of the disorders to provide encouragement and support for the person in need of help, so that he or she can manage to cope with and understand the condition. You can also help with finding qualified and professional help and organizing appointments if the person is unable to do it on their own. In the case that the person is seriously considering to harm him or herself in any way you should take the person to a hospital or call for emergency help.

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