Types of Personality Disorders

Everyone can easily name a person in their extended family, workplace or social network who rubs them the wrong way. Personality conflicts are a normal part of social interactions. In some cases, however, a person may be so volatile that nearly everything that a friend says is met with scorn. Another person may seem deliberately unfriendly and cold when attending a social event. In another example, a friend may act unreasonably offended in response to information that has nothing to do with them.

These behaviors could be indicative of a personality disorder. A personality disorder tends to isolate the person suffering from it, with family and friends sometimes electing to stay away, rather than weather the potential emotional storms. The result can be a patient who struggles with not only the personality disorder but an intense loneliness.

The Mayo Clinic provides general information about various personality disorders and their most common symptoms. This article focuses on the disorders that fall into Cluster A of the spectrum of disorders.

Reading the Signs

Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by eccentric thoughts and behaviors. Cluster A includes paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.

The disorders may be easy to confuse, and a person exhibiting these signs requires an evaluation by a mental health professional.

Paranoid personality disorder patients may exhibit a high level of distrust and suspicion of others, have a belief that everyone is out to harm them, and be suspicious of innocent remarks as personal attacks. These patients will also suspect that others are not trustworthy or that they are not loyal. A person suffering from this disorder may be reluctant to share personal information, believing that the information will be later used against them. They may have a strong tendency to hold grudges and may persistently believe that a spouse or sexual partner is having an affair.

By contrast, schizoid personality disorder is characterized by a lack of interest in any interactions with other people. The patient will not pursue any type of relationship, preferring to be alone at all times. The individual will have a very limited ability to express any emotion, and will particularly struggle to find enjoyment in leisure activities.

When in a social situation, the schizoid personality disorder patient is unable to read normal social cues. They may seem cold or indifferent and physical attraction to others will be mild to nonexistent.

Schizotypal personality disorder is the third disorder in Cluster A category of personality disorders. These individuals struggle with behaviors that seem very odd to others, but loved ones should not mistake this serious disorder for normal eccentricities.

Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by unusual choices in clothing as well as unusual thoughts, speech and behavior. These patients may report hearing a voice whispering their name. These symptoms may be accompanied by a lack of emotion, or inappropriate emotional responses. The individual may also exhibit social anxiety and avoid close friendships.

“Magical thinking,” another symptom of schizotypal personality disorder, occurs when a patient believes that they can influence other people and events through their thoughts. They may also believe that everyday events contain hidden messages intended for them.

The three types of personality disorders contained in Cluster A may exhibit some similarities. It is important that an individual showing signs of any of the disorders be evaluated by a mental health professional. A treatment plan can be developed that will not only treat the symptoms, but help improve the quality of life of the patient.

On September 9th, 2014, posted in: Mental Health by Tags: , ,