Personality Disorder: Definition, Types, And Causes

Personality disorder

Personality Disorder is only a type of mental illness affecting a person’s ability to function in society and close relationships.

Personality disorders are documented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR). According to a study by NCBI in different countries, more than 10% of adults have different personality disorders.

Despite being fairly common, people have little to no knowledge about how personality disorders affect lives. Let us discuss in detail the symptoms and types of personality disorders.

Personality Disorder: What Is It?

A personality disorder is a mental illness marked by persistent, disruptive thought patterns, behavior, and mood. These behaviors significantly affect the individual and impair their ability to function.

There are ten distinct categories of personality disorders, each with unique traits and signs.

Personality disorders can lead to abnormal behaviors, distorted perceptions of reality, and distress in all aspects of life, including work, relationships, and social interaction. Additionally, those with personality disorders might be unaware of their troubling behaviors or how they affect others negatively.

Also read- Mental Illness Happy Hour- A Guide to The Best Episodes.

What kinds of personality disorders are there?

The standard reference for recognized mental illnesses, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), classifies the 10 different types of personality disorders into three major clusters (categories). Each cluster shares various symptoms.

1. Cluster A disorders are specified by abnormal thought patterns, such as a severe lack of social engagement, mistrust, or strange beliefs. 

Here are the types of Cluster A disorder:

  • A Paranoid personality disorder is characterized by a general mistrust of other people.
  • A Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by emotional detachment and negligible expression in social situations.
  • A Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by difficulties in intimate relationships and abnormal thoughts and behavior patterns.

2. Cluster B disorders are characterized by erratic behavior, aggressive behavior toward others, and unstable emotional states.

Here are the types of Cluster B disorder:

  • An Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a disinterest in other people and is frequently impulsive and aggressive.
  • A Borderline personality disorder is characterized by impulsivity, instability in one’s relationships, and emotions.
  • A Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by over-the-top expressiveness and attention-seeking behavior.
  • A Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an abnormally strong desire for admiration, an exaggerated sense of oneself, and a lack of empathy.

3. Cluster C disorders are characterized by fearful thinking or behavior and having issues interacting with others.

  • An Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by avoidance of social closeness and fear of what others think.
  • A Dependent personality disorder is characterized by a tendency to become overly reliant on others and a fear of upsetting relationships.
  • An Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by unwanted thoughts or sensations (obsessions) or the urge to perform certain repetitive behaviors.

Read more- Somatic Symptom Disorder: Definition, Causes, And Symptoms.

Why do personality disorders occur?

One of the lesser understood mental health conditions is personality disorders. The cause of them is still a mystery to scientists. They currently think that the following elements may play a role in the emergence of personality disorders:

1. Genetics

Scientists have discovered that a gene that isn’t working correctly may contribute to Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. Researchers Guorong ma and other his mates are also peeking into the genetic basis of aggressiveness, anxiety, and fear which is a qualities that can contribute to Personality disorders.

2. Brain alterations

People with specific personality disorders exhibit subtle brain differences, according to Eric lis and his other researchers. These researchers researched Paranoid personality disorder, revealing altered amygdala functioning. Your brain’s amygdala is responsible for processing threatening and fear-inducing stimuli. Also, the researcher Clandlee C dickey discovered a volumetric decrease in the frontal lobe of the brain in a study on Schizotypal personality disorder.

3. Child abuse

According to a study by NCBI, a connection between childhood traumatic experiences and the emergence of personality disorders. For instance, rates of childhood sexual trauma were exceptionally high in people with Borderline personality disorder. Intimacy and trust issues are very common in people with borderline and antisocial personality disorders. Both of these issues may be caused by childhood trauma and abuse.

4. Abusive language

Having Borderline, Narcissistic, Obsessive-compulsive, or Paranoid personality disorders as an adult was three times more common in people who had experienced verbal abuse as children.

5. Cultural influences

The different rates of personality disorders in various nations suggest that cultural factors may also contribute to the emergence of personality disorders. For reference, Taiwan, China, and Japan have significantly higher rates of cluster C personality disorders while having remarkably few cases of Antisocial personality disorders.

What signs indicate a personality disorder?

The ten different types of personality disorders each have distinct warning signs and symptoms.

However, personality disorders typically involve issues with:

1. Identity and self-awareness:

People with personality disorders generally don’t have a distinct or consistent sense of who they are. Their perceptions of themselves frequently change depending on their circumstances or company. They may have unreasonably high or low self-esteem.

2. Relationships:

Due to their problematic beliefs and behaviors, people with personality disorders find it difficult to establish close, stable relationships with others. They might be emotionally cold or overly dependent on care and attention, lack empathy or respect for others, or all of these things.

How do you spot a personality disorder in someone?

Without a professional medical diagnosis, you cannot be sure whether someone has a personality disorder.

Understanding the difference between personality types and personality disorders is crucial. An avoidant or schizoid personality disorder is not always present in one’s shyness or anxiety to interact with others.

It is frequently possible to differentiate between a personality style and a personality disorder by evaluating how the person’s personality impacts various aspects of their life, such as:

  • Work.
  • Relationships.
  • Feelings/emotions.
  • Self-identity.
  • The Consciousness of reality.
  • Conduct and self-control.

The following are some typical indications of people with personality disorders:

  • Their behavior is inconsistent, annoying, and confusing to loved ones and other people they interact with.
  • They might struggle to comprehend what is reasonable and appropriate regarding how to treat people and act around them.
  • They might not be aware of the issues their actions cause for themselves or others.
  • Their parenting style may be cold, overly sentimental, violent, or careless if they have children. Their children may occasionally develop physical, emotional, or mental problems.


It’s crucial to keep in mind that personality disorders are illnesses of the mind. As with all mental health issues, seeking assistance as soon as symptoms show can lessen your life’s impact. You can manage your thoughts and behaviors with the help of treatment plans that mental health professionals can provide.

People with personality disorders frequently cause stress, depression, grief, and isolation in their families. If you’re exhibiting these symptoms, looking after your mental health and getting assistance is critical.

Related- Is Overthinking a Mental Disorder?
To build a supportive society and know more about mental health, subscribe to

Speak Your Mind

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *