A personality disorder is considered to be a type of mental disorder where a person has a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning, and behaving. A person with a personality disorder may have trouble perceiving and relating to situations or people. Personality disorders can cause significant problems and limitations in a person’s relationships, work, school, and social activities.
While personality disorders can be detrimental to a person’s life, they may not always realize that they have a personality disorder. This is due to the fact that their way of thinking and behaving seems natural to them. They may also blame others for challenges that they face.
Personality disorders typically begin in their teenage years or early adulthood. There can be many types of personality disorders. Certain types of personality disorders may become less obvious throughout middle age.
Symptoms of Common Personality Disorders
Personality disorders are usually broken into three clusters based on similar characteristics and symptoms. Most people with one personality disorder may also demonstrate symptoms or characters of at least one additional personality disorder. However, it is important to note that a person does not need to exhibit all signs and symptoms of the disorder in order to be diagnosed.
Cluster A Personality Disorders
Personality disorders that are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior are considered to be part of the Cluster A personality disorders. These include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Pervasive distrust and suspicion of other people and their motives
- Unjustified belief that others are trying to deceive or cause harm to you
- Irrational suspicion of the loyalty or trustworthiness of others
- Resistance to confide in others due to an unjustifiable fear that others will use the information against you
- Perception of innocent remarks or non-threatening situations as personal insults or attacks
- Angry or hostile reactions to these perceived slights or insults
- Tendency to hold grudges
- Irrational, repetitive suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful
Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Lack of interest in personal and/or social relationships. Usually preferring to be alone
- Limited range of emotional expression
- Inability to take pleasure in most activities
- Incapacity to pick up normal social cues
- Typically appearing as being cold or indifferent to others
- Little or no interest in having sex with another person
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Strange dress or peculiar thinking, beliefs, speech or behavior
- Odd perceptual experiences, such as hearing a voice whisper your name
- Lack of emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
- Social anxiety, discomfort with close relationships, or lack of close relationships
- Indifferent, inappropriate or suspicious response to others
- “Magical thinking,” the belief that you can influence people and events with your thoughts
- Belief that certain casual incidents or events have hidden messages meant only for you