Is Personality Disorder Affecting Your Wellbeing & Your Social Life 

Girl with brown hair, leaning against a wall in dim hallway, head down, face hidden with hair - Personality Disorders

A normal personality has many traits that go in flow with the world around you. Your personality perceives and relates to situations and people around you. It is your personality that influences you to be involved in relationships, social recreation, work, or school. Your personality helps you to be flexible according to different situations.  

But what if your style of thinking, behaving, and performing, is toxic and inflexible?

If you have trouble perceiving and relating to situations or people around you it is likely that you are suffering from a personality disorder. Personality disorder affects 9% of adults in the U.S. and about 6% of the global population – affecting the normal functioning of a human being.

Personality disorders commence in teenage years or early adulthood. They become less noticeable as you pass through middle age.  You are not aware of it because you think it is your natural behaving and performing pattern. You find yourself blaming others for hurdles and challenges that you face on a daily basis. You feel isolated, which can contribute to depression and anxiety. 

Today, we will unearth all the symptoms, signs, causes, and treatment of personality disorder.

Sad disturbed man hold his head - Personality disorder

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorder 

Personality disorders fall into three categories or clusters based on characteristics and symptoms. You can experience symptoms from more than one clusters. Let’s have a quick look at the symptoms of personality disorders, for a better understanding. 

a) Cluster A 

If you have Cluster A personality disorder, you exhibit traits of suspicion, characterized by unusual or odd thinking or activities. 

1. Paranoid personality disorder (PPD)  

  • Persistent suspicion of others, their motives, loyalty and honesty. 
  • Baseless conviction that others trying to hurt or cheat you 
  • Holding grudges 
  • Reluctance in confiding in others due to fear of the same information getting used against you  
  • Perception of friendly comments or blameless situations as personal insults and hence giving angry or aggressive reaction 

2. Schizoid Personality disorder (ScPD) 

  • Choosing to be alone, lacking interest in social and personal relationships 
  • Showing limited emotional expressions, often behaving cold or indifferent to others. 
  • Failure to interpret social cues. 
  • Little interest or complete failure to take pleasure in most activities, including sex  

3. Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) 

  • Social anxiety or discomfort with close relationships
  • Odd thinking, beliefs, talking, behavior or dressing style. 
  • Unfitting emotional responses, often unkind, inappropriate or suspicious 
  • Odd perceptions such as hearing voices that no one else can 
  • Believing the notion that you can impact people and happenings with your thoughts 
  • Believing there are secret messages meant only for you among the normal occurring incidents 

b) Cluster B  

If you have Cluster B personality disorder, you behave by intense, overly emotional, unpredictable and impulsive thinking or activities. 

1. Anti-social personality disorder (ASPD)  

  • Frequent violent and rash behavior and no regrets for it 
  • Frequent neglect, irresponsibility and violation of others’ feelings, desires and rights 
  • Stealing, lying, using pseudonyms and deceiving others 
  • Neglect of others’ or own safety, leading to problems with the law. 

2. Histrionic personality disorder (HPD)  

  • Frequent attention seeking by being  dramatic, expressive or sexually provocative 
  • Quick change of emotions 
  • Unnecessary anxiety about physical appearance 
  • Effortlessly prejudiced, speaking with solid views but none or baseless facts to substantiate those claims 
  • Thinking your relationships are stronger than they actually are 

3. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)  

  • Expecting persistent compliments and esteem, believing yourself to be superior and significant than others 
  • Imagining and exaggerating about fame, authority, charm and achievements 
  • Egoistic approach, taking advantage of others 
  • Jealous of others or believing that others are jealous of you 
  • Not considering others’ feelings and desires 

4. Borderline personality disorder (BPD) 

  • Unsteady or delicate self-confidence and relationships 
  • Anxiety and unsteady mood due to stress 
  • Feeling hollow, fearing being alone or abandoned 
  • Showing strong angry bouts, suicidal behavior or threats 
  • Rash and risky conduct like binge eating, betting or unsafe sex 

c) Cluster C 

If you have Cluster C personality disorder, you have an anxious and appalling thinking or activities.  

1. Dependent personality disorder (DPD) 

  • Feeling the necessity to be dependent or be taken care of by others. Fear of taking proper self-care if left alone.  
  • Urgency in starting new relationship if a near one has ended 
  • Being obedient or clingy to others 
  • Accepting offensive or unsatisfactory treatment when better alternatives exist  
  • Dreading being disapproved by others, finding difficulty in disapproving others 
  • Seeking too much assurance and guidance to make small decisions 
  • Lacking self-confidence 

2. Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD) 

  • Introversion in social activities and personal affairs, escaping new work or activities which require social interaction 
  • Sensitivity or fear of disapproval or refusal
  • Feeling laughable, discontent, poor or unappealing 

3. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) 

  • Obsession with minute specifics, uniformities and rules 
  • Obsessively meticulous, setting your own severe standards to do tasks, getting distressed when result is not same as expectation, feeling the need to impose your own standards to outside environment 
  • Disregard to friends and recreational activities due to obsessive commitment to work 
  • Stiff and stubborn about ethics or beliefs 
  • Yearning to control others, responsibilities and conditions 
  • Failure to let go of useless or damaged objects 
  • Stingy approach to spending money 

It should be noted that obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is not the same as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which is a type of anxiety disorder. 

What are the Causes of Personality Disorder 

The exact cause of personality disorders is not known, but it is assumed that they are triggered by genetic and environmental factors. You inherit it in your genes and environmental factors may trigger them.

In childhood, were you a victim of emotional, physical or sexual abuse? Were you exposed to long-term grief as a child? Were you neglected by any of your parents? Did you grow up with a family member who had a mental condition or who misused drugs or drink? If you answered in affirmative to any of these questions then that is the trigger cause of your personality disorder. 

Sad women in therapy session - Personality Disorder

How to Treat a Personality Disorder 

Personality disorder can be treated according to its intensity through talk therapy (Psychotherapy) or by medications.  

Intervene early

The importance of early intervention for personality disorder is to find the right cause and the right treatment at the earlier stages of life to get hold of the problem before it progresses.

Use talk therapy (psychotherapy)

For non-serious and mild symptoms, psychotherapy is a good option because, during psychotherapy, a therapist will not only discuss your disorder but also consider your views and feelings as you describe them.  There are many types of psychotherapy. The therapist will decide which type is suitable for you. Certain meditation techniques are also included in the therapies, in which, you will be explained how to manage stress and anxiety to cope with your disorder. 

Try medications

For high intensity personality disorder the doctor can recommend certain medications – anti-anxiety, anti-psychosis, anti-depressants, and mood stabilizers to help you cope with the extremity of the problem.

Focus on the positive

Instead of focusing at the problem, develop hobbies and interests that you find interesting and entertaining. Go for long walks in the morning to clear your head. Follow a lifestyle prescribed by your doctor to gain maximum benefits.

Sad disturbed boy at sunset - Personality disorder

How is a Personality Disorder Diagnosed 

If you suspect that you or someone you know has any type of personality disorder, then it’s time to get it under check. Your Doctor or therapist will use a reference, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) to diagnose your disorder. Using this reference, he will ask you questions to come to any conclusion.

Some of the basic things that will be analyzed include:  

  • How appropriate are your emotional responses 
  • How controlled are your impulses 
  • How you observe, understand and act with people around you 

If he suspects that the cause of your personality disorder is medical, he will order blood tests to investigate further. If he suspects substance interference, he will order a screening test for alcohol or drugs. 

Personality disorder affects the normal functioning of your mental and physical being. It not only disturbs your life, but also of those surrounding you. It causes havoc with relationships, work or education. It leads to loneliness, depression or alcohol and drug misuse. Since it is treatable, it is a good step to go ahead and get it treated for the betterment of your physical, mental and social being. 

A good step to start dealing with personality disorder right away is to find comfort in meditation -Learn the Five Key Points of Meditation to Achieve Serenity and help you fight personality disorder.

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