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Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are a group of mental health disorders that cause changes in the way you think, feel, and behave. A personality disorder can make it difficult to manage relationships, make situations distressing, and cause issues with daily functioning.

What Is a Personality Disorder?

A personality disorder is a mental health condition in which your long-term thinking patterns, behavior, and mood – and how you relate to people – deviate from cultural expectations. These patterns of thoughts and behaviors are so disruptive and consuming that they cause significant distress and reduce your ability to function in life. Moreover, it can be difficult for someone with a personality disorder to recognize that the issues they face and their relationship problems are a part of their disorder.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), there are ten types of personality disorders, and their common signs can impact at least two areas of functionality:

  • Inconsistent thinking patterns
  • Atypical emotional responses
  • Issues with interacting and relating to people
  • Difficulty controlling behavior

The ten personality disorders are broken up into three main clusters or categories based on common symptoms.

Personality Disorders

  • Cluster A
    • Paranoid personality disorder (PPD)
    • Schizoid personality disorder (SPD)
    • Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD)
  • Cluster B
    • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
    • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
    • Histrionic personality disorder (HPD)
    • Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)
  • Cluster C
    • Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD)
    • Dependent personality disorder (DPD)
    • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)

Table of Contents

Personality Disorder Statistics 

As noted by the Personality Disorders Awareness Network (PDAN), around 9% of adults in the United States have a personality disorder. While there is no known specific cause for personality disorders, research suggests that your genetics and childhood experiences may play a role in the development of one. According to the APA, there is evidence that your genes and childhood trauma are risk factors for the development of personality disorders.

Risk Factors

  • Other mental health conditions
  • Malfunctioning gene linked to BPD
  • Childhood trauma
    • Sexual trauma
    • Verbal abuse
  • High sensitivity
    • Light
    • Sound
    • Texture

Why Is Treatment for Personality Disorders Important?

One of the struggles with personality disorders is self-awareness. If you have a personality disorder, you may not be aware of it because your thoughts feel normal to you. You may see your struggles with work or school or relationships as the faults of others. Therefore, it is even more important to seek help to support you in making realizations about yourself for your overall well-being. The support of a therapist could help you see and understand how your thoughts and behavior impact your relationships and daily functioning. 

In addition, investing in treatment for your mental health can support:

  • Healthier relationships 
  • Coping strategies
  • More stable daily functioning

What Does a Personality Disorder Feel Like?

The symptoms of a personality disorder can vary from mild to severe, depending on the disorder. While symptoms of a personality disorder can be diagnosed as early as late adolescence, these disorders can be difficult to detect. Common personality disorder symptoms include anxiety and depression, but those are more common as conditions themselves than personality disorders. Although there is a large number of personality disorders to consider, symptoms can be categorized based on the cluster group they fall under.

Cluster A Symptoms: 

Atypical and inconsistent thinking patterns and behaviors

  • PPD:
    • Paranoia
    • Assumes people will hurt or deceive you
    • Difficulty trusting people
    • Struggles with developing close relationships
  • SPD:
    • Detachment
    • Lack of interest in relationships
    • Limited emotional expression
  • STPD:
    • Intense discomfort with close relationships
    • Distorted thinking
    • Erratic behavior
    • Unusual beliefs 
    • Extreme social anxiety

Cluster B Symptoms:

Intense and unstable emotions and behaviors

  • ASPD:
    • Disregards the feelings and rights of others
    • Does not follow social norms
    • Impulsive behavior
    • Patterns of lies and deception
  • BPD:
    • Low self-esteem
    • Difficulty regulating emotions
    • Impulsive behavior
  • HPD:
    • Attention-seeking 
    • Approval based self-esteem
    • Unstable emotions
    • Dramatic and inappropriate behavior
  • NPD:
    • Inflated sense of self-importance
    • A sense of entitlement
    • Lacks empathy for others
    • Sense of superiority
    • Excessive need for praise and admiration

Cluster C Symptoms:

Severe anxiety and fear

  • AVPD:
    • Extreme shyness
    • Chronic feelings of inadequacy
    • Hypersensitive to criticism
    • Fear of rejection
    • Avoids social interaction 
  • DPD:
    • Excessive need to be cared for by another person
    • Submissive and clingy behavior
    • Inability to make decisions
    • Needs constant reassurance
    • Fear of separation
  • OCPD:
    • Extreme need for orderliness, perfectionism, and control
    • Hyper-focused on details and schedules
    • Excessively works
    • Makes no time for friends or leisure activities
    • Inflexible views on morality and values

What Makes Our Program Unique?

At Mindfuli, we believe empathy matters in mental health treatment. You can not find what you need on your journey to wellness if there is not an alliance for your well-being between you and your care team. As a virtual platform for care, our flexible real-time video, audio-only, and chat-based services make it easy to get the care you deserve from the comfort of your home. Our licensed therapists and care counselors are trained to guide and support you through your journey to mental wellness with empathy and a strong therapeutic alliance.


  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Psychoeducation
  • Virtual groups

To learn more about our services, visit our How It Works page.

Getting Help

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of a personality disorder, seeking support can help you recognize and understand your thinking patterns and behavior. Personality disorders can make it difficult to form and maintain healthy relationships and function in your daily life. However, with therapy, you can start building a life of long-term wellness for yourself and your relationships. Our evidence-based practices at Mindfuli can help you find a treatment plan that will support you on your mental health journey.

To learn more about Mindfuli and our care team, visit our Resources page.

Personality disorders can make it difficult to function and develop healthy relationships. However, with therapy, you can learn to understand yourself and build coping strategies for long-term wellness. At Mindfuli, our virtual platform and evidence-based practices can support more positive outcomes on your journey to wellness. Call 866.714.8913 to learn more.

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