A personality disorder is characterized by inflexible and harmful patterns of thinking, functioning, and behavior. If you’ve struggled with a personality disorder, you’ve most likely had trouble identifying and connecting to situations and other people. In turn, this has caused a problems spanning from your relationships to your work/school life. ¹
Even if you’ve never been diagnosed with a personality disorder, there’s a chance you’re living with one and don’t realize it. There are many cases of individuals who consider their thought and behavior pattern as normal.
In order to truly identify if you struggle with the condition or not, it helps to understand the different types of personality disorders. Psychiatrists will use a system of diagnosis in order to identify between these 10 types.
Throughout this article, we’re going to share with you what exactly a psychiatrist will look for in order to diagnose. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.
The first criteria for personality disorders we’re going to look into is sometimes referred to as “suspicious.” These conditions are characterized by an individual’s unrelenting mistrust and suspicion in other people.
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)
People who struggle with a paranoid personality disorder (PPD) often face the following feelings and experiences: ²
- Difficulty confiding in people, including friends and family
- Difficulty relaxing
- Difficulty trusting other people, getting the sense that they will take advantage of you
- Discovering threats and danger in everyday situations, innocent remarks, and/or causal looks from others (especially when other people don’t see these threats).
If you struggle with a paranoid personality disorder, you may find it difficult to develop friendships and relationships, maintain connections with others, and perform simple day-to-day activities.
It should be noted that PPD is more common in men than women.
Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid personality disorder shouldn’t be confused with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Under those two conditions, people often have a difficult time managing daily tasks. Whereas, someone with schizoid personality disorder is able to go about his/her life fairly well.
People who struggle with schizoid personality disorder are often susceptible to the following:
- Difficulty developing close relationships with others (sometimes, to the point where they choose to live life without interference from others)
- Difficulty relating to others on an emotional basis (usually, come off as cold)
- Don’t experience pleasure from a variety of activities
- Hold little to no interest in sex or intimacy
- Prefer social isolation with their own thoughts
It’s important to note that people with schizoid personality disorder don’t have psychotic symptoms.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Just like our above condition, schizoptypal personality disorder shouldn’t be confused with schizophrenia. Unlike those conditions, people with this disorder often face eccentricities or awkward behaviors that make it difficult to relate to others. ⁴
Of course, these personality traits can be found in many people. You wouldn’t be diagnosed with the condition unless it severely inhibited your daily life.
Some other aspects of schizotypal personality disorder include:
- Difficulty developing close relationships
- Distorted thoughts and perceptions
- Expressing oneself in a way that considered “odd,” using unusual words/phrases
- Feeling extreme anxiety or paranoia in social situations
- Holding the belief that one can read minds or has special powers
- Struggling with anxiety and/or tenseness when others don’t share these beliefs
It’s important to note that people with schizotypal personality disorder don’t have psychotic symptoms.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
People who struggle with antisocial personality disorder not only put their own needs before others, but do so at a rate that’s causes instability in their lives. In many regards, they act out impulsively (usually out of anger) and lack the ability to consider others emotions. ⁵
Some other aspects of an antisocial personality disorder include:
- Behaving aggressively (i.e. gets into fights easily)
- Behaving dangerously (often illegally – some people with this condition have a criminal record)
- Conducting oneself in ways that are unpleasant to others
- Easily bored, acting upon impulse
- Lack of empathy
- Placing oneself in dangerous/risky situations, usually without thinking about the consequences it can have on oneself or others
- Putting one’s own needs and desires before others in order to gain what one wants
It should be noted, under the Mental Health Act, terms like “psychopathy” and “sociopathy” are no longer used. However, in order to be diagnosed with an antisocial personality disorder, you may have to take what’s known as a “psychopathy checklist” questionnaire.
Emotional and Impulsive
The second criteria for personality disorders we’re going to look into is sometimes referred to as “emotional and impulsive.” These conditions are characterized by an individual’s inability to handle day-to-day feelings. Often resulting in compulsive behaviors.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder (BPD), sometimes referred to as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) tend to experience instability within their lives. In turn, this effects their relationships, self-image, and emotions. ⁶
If you have BPD, you may struggle with:
- Acting impulsively and participating in activities that can harm you
- Difficulty in trusting others
- Feelings of emptiness and loneliness
- Finding it difficult to maintain relationships
- Having intense emotions that can change rapidly
- Inability to control anger
- Inability to understand what you want out of life
- Other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, or an eating disorder
- Over worrying about people abandoning you – doing things to prevent this from happening
- Suicidal ideation
Sometimes, people with BPD develop other symptoms when stress is apparent. These include:
- Feeling numb
- Psychotic experiences (hearing or seeing things that aren’t really there)
Out of all the personality disorders on our list, BPD is the most common.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
People who struggle with histrionic personality disorder are in constant need of approval. While it’s normal for everyone to enjoy receiving compliments, what makes those with histrionic personality disorder stand apart is the fact they require this approval to function daily. ⁷
People with histrionic personality disorder are susceptible to:
- Always seeking approval from others (feeling dependent on approval)
- Being dramatic or overemotional
- Being easily influenced by others
- Dressing provocatively or flirting frequently to remain the center of attention
- Feeling the need to entertain people
- Feeling uncomfortable when they’re not the center of attention
- Making impulsive decisions
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
It’s in everyone’s interest to meet their own needs, express them, and have others aware of their accomplishments. These are natural human traits and not bad in and of themselves. However, if these traits become extreme to the point of causing problems in relationship with others, chances are that individual is struggling with a narcissistic personality disorder. ⁸
Some other aspects of narcissistic personality disorder include:
- Begrudge other people’s success
- Feeling upset if you’re ignored by others (or if they don’t give you what you believe you deserve)
- Holding the belief that you are special, better, and more deserving than others
- Having a delicate self-esteem to the point where you rely on others recognition of your worth and needs
- Placing your own needs before other people’s and asserting they must do the same
- Selfishness and being viewed by others as dismissive (often unaware of other people’s needs)
The third criteria for personality disorders we’re going to look into is sometimes referred to as “anxious.” These conditions are characterized by an individual’s extreme sense of worry.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
If you struggle with things, places, or people that cause you anxiety – so much so that you avoid these situations – you may be diagnosed with an avoidant personality disorder. Some characteristics of this condition include the inability to maintain relationships and commit to responsibilities (i.e. work or school). ⁹
Some other ways in which avoidant personality disorder may affect you include:
- Avoiding friendships and relationships out of fear of rejection
- Feeling isolated and lonely (often inferior to others)
- Having the expectation for disapproval and criticism (being extremely sensitive)
- Holding reluctance to try new activities (worry of embarrassing yourself)
- Worry of rejection
- Worrying about ridicule from others
Dependent Personality Disorder
Similar to a histrionic personality disorder, people with a dependent personality disorder often need reassurance. So much so, it can be overwhelming and impact both daily life along with relationships. ¹⁰
Some aspects of a dependent personality disorder include:
- Agreeing to things you believe to be wrong or dislike (simply to avoid being alone)
- Allowing others to develop responsibility for various areas of your life
- Developing low self-confidence
- Fearful of being left behind
- Feeling clingy and unable to make decisions of your own
- Visualizing others as more capable than yourself
Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is often confused for an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, the two are distinct in their own manners.
While OCPD does involve complications with perfectionism, the desire for control, and having difficulty in flexibility, it goes beyond just behavior. Unlike OCD, OCPD is a personality trait that, in many ways, can’t be shaken as easily.
Some other aspects of OCPD include:
- Holding the belief that your way of doing things is the best way
- Feeling anxiety for your mistakes or other’s mistakes
- Feeling anxiety when things aren’t perfect
- The necessity of keeping everything in order and under control
- Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself and others
While personality disorders deeply effect day-to-day life, they can be treated for. Through psychotherapies and medication, you can readjust the way your mind things and overcome the symptoms associated with these conditions.
We hope that through today’s article, you were able to identify a personality disorder type you may be struggling with. If you have, we highly suggest talking it over with a mental health professional.
Still have questions about the different types of personality disorder?
We invite you to ask them in the comment’s section below. If you have any further knowledge to offer – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.
¹ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Personality Disorders
² MedlinePlus: Paranoid Personality Disorder
³ MedlinePlus: Schizoid Personality Disorder
⁴ Current psychiatry reports (HHS Public Access): Schizotypal Personality Disorder: A Current Review
⁵ MentalHealth.gov: Antisocial Personality Disorder
⁶ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Borderline Personality Disorder
⁷ StatPearls: Histrionic Personality Disorder
⁸ Behavioral medicine (Washington, D.C.) (HHS Public Access): Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Clinical Health Psychology Practice
⁹ Psychology Research and Behavior Management (Dove Press): Avoidant personality disorder: current insights
¹⁰ Medline Plus: Dependent personality disorder