All About Personality disorders: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Research Based
Medically reviewed by - Dr Lara Mokhtar, MD Written by - Dr. Shilpa R


About Personality disorders

A person’s personality sets them apart from others regarding their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. An individual’s personality usually doesn’t change over time and is influenced by their experiences, environment, circumstances, and inherited traits. A category of mental health issues, personality disorders, impacts how people think, perceive, and interact with others. These illnesses can seriously affect a person’s relationships, daily life, and general health.

This article will delve into the types, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, complications, and prognosis of personality disorders.

A category of mental health issues, personality disorders, impacts how people think, perceive, and interact with others. These illnesses can seriously affect a person's relationships, daily life, and general health.


Types of Personality disorders

Based on their shared traits, different types of personality disorders can be grouped into three clusters:

  • Cluster A – Eccentric or Odd behavior.
  • Cluster B – Erratic, Dramatic, or Emotional behavior.
  • Cluster C – Fearful or Anxious behavior.1Types| Researched based study from

Cluster A Disorders (Eccentric or Odd behavior)

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder – This condition is characterized by disbelief, doubt, and a persistent conviction that others are out to get them.2Types| Researched based study from
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder – The condition is characterized by a lack of interest in social interactions, a lack of emotional expressiveness, and an affinity for solitary pursuits.
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder – involves peculiar thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors, often leading to discomfort in social situations.

Cluster B Disorders (Erratic, Dramatic, or Emotional behavior)

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder – characterized by a disrespect for other people’s rights, impulsivity, a lack of empathy, and a propensity to act criminally.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder – Individuals with this disorder experience intense mood swings, unstable self-image, relationship difficulties, and self-destructive behaviors.3Types| Researched based study from
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder – People with this disorder seek attention, exhibit excessive emotions, have a strong need for approval, and often engage in dramatic or provocative behaviors.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder – refers to an exaggerated sense of one’s own value, a persistent desire for praise, and a lack of compassion for others.4Types| Researched based study from

Cluster C Disorders (Fearful or Anxious behavior)

  • Avoidant Personality Disorder – Due to their vulnerability to criticism and disapproval, those who suffer from this condition tend to avoid social situations and have low self-esteem.
  • Dependent Personality Disorder – In relationships, those who have this illness exhibit dependent and clingy tendencies because they have a great desire to be taken care of.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder – Perfectionism, rigidity, obsessive attention to minutiae, and a need for total control are its defining traits.5Types| Researched based study from


Symptoms of Personality Disorder.

Personality disorder Symptoms

Each personality disorder has its specific symptoms, but some general signs may include:

  • Distorted thinking patterns and beliefs.
  • Difficulty with relationships.
  • Poor self-image and self-identity.
  • Emotional instability or detachment.
  • Impulsive or self-destructive behaviors.
  • Inflexible and maladaptive coping mechanisms.
  • Problems at school or work. 6Symptoms| Researched based study from
  • Unpredictable nature.


Causes of Personality disorders

Despite the fact that the exact root causes of personality disorders remain unknown, studies indicate a combination of the following factors may be involved in their development:

  • Genes.
  • Neurobiology.
  • Environment.


  • Evidence suggests that certain personality traits and vulnerabilities may be heritable. 7Causes| Researched based study from
  • People with a family member with personality disorders or other mental health conditions may have a higher chance of developing a personality disorder.


  • Abnormalities in brain structure and functioning have been associated with certain personality disorders.
  • The brain regions in charge of controlling impulses and regulating emotions may differ in patients with borderline personality disorder, according to research. 8Causes| Researched based study from


Environmental elements such as the ones listed below can have a significant effect on the formation of personality disorders :

  • Childhood trauma – Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect, or early loss of a significant caregiver can contribute to developing personality disorders.9Causes| Researched based study from
  • Unstable or chaotic family environments – Growing up with inconsistent or unpredictable parenting, parental conflict, or substance abuse can increase the risk.
  • Disrupted attachment – Insecure attachment styles, such as ambivalent, avoidant, or disorganized attachment, can influence the development of personality disorders.

Risk factors

Risk factors

Some common risk factors associated with personality disorders may include:

  • Personality and Temperament – Some personalities and temperamental traits may make people more likely to acquire certain types of personality disorders. For instance, people who are more impulsive, emotionally unstable, or introverted may be more prone to certain disorders within the relevant clusters.
  • Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions – Mood disorders like depression, anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders frequently coexist with personality disorders in people making it more difficult to diagnose and treat personality disorders.
  • Cultural and Societal Factors – Cultural and societal influences can impact the expression and manifestation of personality disorders. Cultural norms, expectations, and social pressures may shape the development of maladaptive personality traits and coping mechanisms.



Because personality disorders are complex diseases, diagnosing them can be difficult.

Mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists and psychologists, rely on comprehensive assessments, including the following, to make an accurate diagnosis:

  • Interviews
  • Psychological tests
  • Observation of behavior

The interview may include questions about history, relationships, previous work history, reality testing, impulse control, etc.10Diagnosis| Researched based study from

The answers are then gathered and compared with the criteria for diagnosing personality disorders given in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to come up with a diagnosis.


Treatment strategies for Personality disorders

Personality disorders are usually managed with a combination of treatment including:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication


It is the main approach for treating most personality disorders.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) 11Treatment| Researched based study from
  • Psychodynamic therapy
  • Psychoeducation 12Treatment| Researched based study from
  • Group therapy

These treatments aid in the improvement of interpersonal skills, managing emotions, and better coping mechanisms in patients.


Even though medication is not a main treatment for personality disorders, it may include the following to treat few symptoms:

  • Mood stabilizers – given to avoid intense mood swings, irritability and aggression.
  • Anti-anxiety drugs – to decrease anxiety and sleeplessness.
  • Anti-depressants – given to enhance mood and control anger and impulsivity.
  • Neuroleptics or Antipsychotic drugs – decreases symptoms of psychosis like hallucinations and delusions if any.13Treatment| Researched based study from



  • While preventing personality disorders is not always possible, early intervention and support can minimize their impact.
  • Creating awareness about mental health, promoting healthy coping mechanisms, and addressing early signs of distress can help prevent complications.


Complications of Personality disorder

Complications arising from untreated or poorly managed personality disorders can be severe and may include:

  • Chronic interpersonal conflicts and difficulties in relationships
  • Challenges at an education facility
  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Unemployment
  • Homelessness
  • Domestic abuse
  • Societal crimes. (Especially those with antisocial personality disorder)
  • Divorce 14Complications| Researched based study from
  • Substance abuse and addiction.
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal death 10Complications| Researched based study from


Prognosis of Personality disorders

Personality disorders are not only upsetting for the person but also a source of stress in society. The prognosis for personality disorders varies depending on several factors, including the specific condition, individual circumstances, and the effectiveness of treatment. With proper diagnosis, tailored treatment, and ongoing support, individuals with personality disorders can experience improvements in their symptoms and overall functioning.

Disclaimer: The user acknowledges that this article's information is being offered for informational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to guarantee that the article is informational and correct. If they have any doubts or questions about their health, we firmly advise our readers to visit a doctor or other healthcare professional.

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