Personality disorders occur when people find it difficult to normally cope with changes in their daily lives. Inflexible and maladaptive personality traits differ from one person to the other. Only when they reach extreme stages do we call them personality disorders. The American Psychiatric Association identified and assessed 10 different types grouped into 3 main categories: suspicious personality disorders, emotional and impulsive personality disorders and anxious personality disorders. In this article you will learn about the common signs and symptoms of personality disorders.
Suspicious Personality Disorders:
In this mental disorder, a person has general feelings of mistrust and suspicion of others. People with PPD might lose their jobs and have inability to pay their bills due to their pervasiveness sense of paranoia. Such a mental disorder might wreck their lives. PPD is characterized by:
- Long-term distrust and suspiciousness of others.
- Excessive hostility.
- Overt argumentativeness.
- Recurrent complaining.
- Over-the-top guarded, secretive or devious manner.
- Lacking in tender feelings.
- Preoccupation with unjustified doubts.
- Persistently bearing grudges.
- Often imagines spouse infidelity or murder plots against her/him.
It is referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy in popular culture. It is one of the most alarming personality disorders because it might lead to crime if it wasn’t properly diagnosed and treated. The onset of ASPD could be traced back to early adulthood or adolescence. It consists of the majority of these symptoms:
- Failure to conform to societal norms and regulations. People suffering from this disorder always challenge the law and tend to get in troubles and fights very often.
- Repeated lying, use of fake aliases and conning others.
- Aggressiveness, irritability and liability to violence.
- Lack of remorse or empathy.
- Disregard for others’ feelings and safety.
- Irresponsibility especially at work.
This is a chronic personality disorders that is only diagnosed in adulthood. Schizoids suffer a form of long-term detachment from the society. A very prominent feature of this disorder is the lack of sexual desire or interest. A person with schizoid personality disorder avoids intimacy at all costs and is thought of as an “extreme loner“.
Main signs and symptoms of schizoid disorder include:
- No sense of family, no desire for normal familial relationships.
- Rarely has interest in any activities, especially team-building activities and team sports.
- Indifference to praise or criticism from others.
- Overall emotional detachment and often described as “cold” and “distant”.
- Low libido, schizoids have no sex life of any kind and don’t even seek it.
- Difficulty in expressing anger.
- Lack of motivation.
- Impaired employment or work functioning.
4) Schizotypal Personality Disorder
This disorder manifests itself in a wide array of bizarre behaviors that dominates the patient’s life and wrecks it. One key difference between this personality disorder and schizophrenia is the absence of hallucinations and delusions in the former. It is characterized by a pattern of social and interpersonal impairments that present themselves in some of the following contexts:
- Ideas of reference (incorrect interpretation of casual, everyday events).
- Peculiar, eccentric and unusual thinking including extreme superstitions, firm belief in the supernatural, bizarre fantasies and desires.
- Belief in super powers like telepathy, clairvoyance or mind reading.
- Odd thinking and style of speech.
- Belief in conspiracy theories.
- High level of social anxiety.
- Constricted affect (a schizotypal patient wouldn’t be able to express emotions in full range or intensity, as if they are being restricted).
- Perceptual alterations like phantom limbs, derealization, depersonalization and out-of-body experiences.
Emotional and Impulsive Personality Disorders:
Histrionics are defined by intensity of emotions rather than the lack of it. This extreme form of the “attention whore” concept is characterized by the following:
- Desperately seeking attention in all kinds of situations or social circles.
- Discomfort in situations where he/she are not the center of attention.
- Rapidly shifting display of emotions.
- Use of physical appearance and sexuality to gain attention.
- Exaggerated, excessively impressionistic style of speech.
- Theatrical, self-dramatized emotional expression.
- Easily influenced by others.
- Impaired relationships due to the histrionic either acting as the prince/princess or the victim in the relationship.
A narcissist is a person with an ego as huge as the Atlantic Ocean. People suffering from narcissistic personality disorder showcase the following symptoms:
- Egotistical occupation with self.
- Constantly envisioning self in situations of unlimited success, power and wealth.
- Expects excessive admiration from surrounding people.
- A firm belief that he/she is one of a kind, very beautiful and unique.
- Strong sense of entitlement.
- Lacks empathy and compassion.
- Taking advantage of others’ weaknesses.
- Arrogant, haughty and aggressive behavior.
BPD is one of the most serious personality disorders. People with BPD exhibit suicidal and self-injurious behaviors as well as mood swings, impulsive reactions and stressful relationships with family and friends.
Signs and symptoms of BPD include:
- Extreme emotional instability.
- Suicidal, self-injurious behavior including indulging in risky sexual relationships, reckless driving, binge eating and self-mutilation.
- Overall feeling of emptiness.
- Distorted and unstable sense of identity.
- Athazagoraphobia (fear of abandonment).
- Uncontrollable feelings of rage that leads to getting involved in physical fights too often.
- Paranoid thoughts and behavior.
Anxious Personality Disorders:
1) Dependent Personality Disorder
This is one of the personality disorders often manifested in the elderly or victims of sexual abuse. A person suffering from dependent personality disorder would suffer from major bouts of depression, worthlessness and severe dependence on others. Some also express extreme forms of jealousy or possessiveness. The main characteristics of this disorder are:
- Difficulty making everyday, simple decisions.
- Annoyingly needy and “clingy” behavior.
- Fear of being alone that might progress into full-blown phobia.
- Humiliation and submission just to obtain nurturance and love from others.
- Extreme passivity and helplessness.
- Preoccupation with fear of being abandoned, broken up with or left alone.
- Liability to being mistreated or abused without complaining.
- Feelings of worthlessness and shame.
- Self-blame for physical or sexual violence.
- Avoiding responsibility at all costs.
One must not confuse obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). One of the key differences is that OCD belongs to the category of anxiety disorders while OCPD is one of the main personality disorders.
People with OCPD are diagnosed for the presence of four or more of the following:
- Impossible perfectionism.
- Obsession with rules, lists, order and schedules.
- Emotional rigidity.
- Inflexible ideals concerning morality and ethics.
- Inability to discard home appliances, furniture or personal belongings even when they are worn-out.
- Irritatingly bossy nature.
- Extreme miserly attitude with money, even on the expense of his/her health or luxury.
- Hoarding behavior.
- Excessive devotion to work and severe deprivation of his/her own pleasure.
People who suffer from this disorder are often the “very shy, hypersensitive” category of the population. Individuals with this disorder go as far as avoiding any social gathering, work environment or school activity so that they won’t have to interact with other people. This is one of the most disabling personality disorders because it leads to the person being completely isolated from the outside world because he/she has become too fragile to endure even the slightest criticism from anybody.
Other characteristics include:
- Restraining oneself in a relationship. It could be described as “shutting off” the significant other.
- Not fitting in any social environment.
- Feelings of inadequacy or incompetency.
- Reluctant to take personal risks.
- Struggling career due to extreme shyness or backing out of jobs and projects.