Understanding Personality Disorders
Mental health can be a confusing topic for those who haven’t really read much into the matter, and personality disorders are no exception to this rule. Many people are still in the dark about what these disorders actually entail and conjure up images of people rocking in the corner if you mention it to them. This, obviously, is completely different to the reality. So let’s learn about some personality disorders – it’s easy as ABC!
With this trio of disorders, people have a hard time relating to others and often display eccentric patterns of behaviour.
Paranoid personality disorder
People with this disorder tend to be extremely distrustful of others and may feel that they are being constantly lied to. They may not trust their friends and can worry that their secrets will be shared with others.
Schizoid personality disorder
Characterised as being cold and detached from people, those with schizoid personality disorder have little desire to form (or maintain) connections with people. They prefer to be alone, don’t tend care about praise or criticism and have a limited ability to experience pleasure.
Schizotypal personality disorder
These folks tend to have poor social skills and delusional thoughts. Some people believe they have special powers such as telepathy or that the newspaper headlines are messages to them.
As with A, those in cluster B also often have trouble relating to others, but it tends to manifest in a more erratic, dramatic way.
Antisocial personality disorder
This disorder is characterised by a lack of empathy or concern for consequences, which can lead to bullying others. Individuals tend to have a lack of remorse, are unable to sustain long-term relationships and may blame others for their mistakes.
Borderline personality disorder
People with BPD have a tendency to be very unstable in their identity and emotions. This can lead to impulsiveness, intense relationships and black-and-white thinking and loss of contact with reality. Sadly, the impulsiveness often leads to self-harm and it has been estimated that 60 – 70% of BPD sufferers will attempt suicide at some point in their life.
Histrionic personality disorder
Individuals with this disorder are worried about being ignored, so will go to great lengths to ensure they are paid attention to. This may be done by constantly seeking reassurance, or engaging in inappropriate sexual or provocative behaviour. They often lack emotional sincerity (they may cry but not actually be sad).
Narcissistic personality disorder
This disorder shares some symptoms with histrionic personality disorder. Sufferers of narcissistic personality disorder flip between believing themselves to be special and feeling they are worthless. They often exaggerate their accomplishments, to justify how special they feel and exploit others for their personal gain. They lack empathy for other people’s weaknesses.
The characteristic trait of this group of disorders is that sufferers fear relationships and socialising, and may be withdrawn around others. This can cause a lot of problems in social situations.
Avoidant personality disorder
These individuals appear incredibly shy, feel inadequate, and are extremely sensitive to rejection. They desire close relationships (unlike schizoid personality disorder) but lack the confidence to actually form them.
Dependent personality disorder
People with dependent personality disorder feel unable to function independently, so may come across as “clingy”. They cannot make decisions without others’ guidance and may go to extremes to obtain support or comfort. This disorder gives them a fear that they will be left to fend for themselves.
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder
It is important to distinguish that this is different from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). These individuals need a rigid, controlled environment in order to function. These people may be workaholics, have very rigid views on things such as ethics and have trouble delegating tasks to others. While OCD suffers often feel compelled to organise, they become anxious about the task in hand; however, those with obsessive compulsive personality disorder actually find relief in it.
People with personality disorders aren’t generally scary, and there’s a good chance that you’ve probably met or known people that have them. They are often managed with talking therapies (and sometimes medication). The symptoms of a lot of disorders do improve over time.