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What is a Personality Disorder and How Do I Know If I Have One?

When you hear the term “Personality Disorder,” you might think of people who are obnoxious, extremely shy or have personalities that are just difficult to be around, when, in fact, a Personality Disorder goes much deeper. In psychological terms, a Personality Disorder is a system of deeply embedded, inflexible patterns of thought and behavior that cause all kinds of dysfunction in a person’s life. Personality Disorders often show up in early adolescence and into adulthood, and can manifest as extreme changes in mood and behavior. Personality Disorders can also make relationships, jobs, and family relationships difficult to maintain or filled with conflict and turbulence.

Ten Different Types of Personality Disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder

For those with Borderline Personality Disorder, there is not a clearly defined sense of self, and the patient often has great difficulty with feelings of abandonment or emptiness. While someone with Borderline Personality Disorder is able to form close relationships, they are often highly volatile and rarely last. Outbursts of violence and anger, unstable emotional states, and highly impulsive or reactive behavior can be signifiers of this disorder making it impossible to have fulfilling and healthy relationships.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

One of the more well-known terms in psychology, narcissism comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection. Those exhibiting narcissistic traits are often self-obsessed and feel entitled without any consideration for others’ thoughts, feelings, or needs. Narcissists are unable to have remorse or feel compassion for anyone outside of themselves and believe their family members and children are only extensions of them without their independent needs or feelings.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder takes self-importance to the extreme. When challenged, a sufferer of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can suddenly fly into fits of rage or retaliation. They easily exploit and manipulate others including their family members or friends to boost their own sense of self. The world revolves around them, their thoughts, needs or agendas, and any challenge to their perceived authority are met with fierce resistance, anger, retaliation, or violence.

Antisocial (Sociopath or Psychopath) Personality Disorder

Antisocial Personality Disorder is characterized by an absence of feeling or concern for others or social norms. More common in men, Antisocial Personality Disorder often leads to the highest crime rate of any of the ten disorders. Aggression and irritability, as well as a complete disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations, are clear signs someone is suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder, commonly known as Sociopath or Psychopath.

People with Antisocial Personality Disorder can be very charismatic, charming, and persuasive in order to exploit vulnerabilities in those they come into contact with. Often, they are able to get an accurate read on the most vulnerable people and prey on their weaknesses for self-gain. These individuals can be dangerous as most people can not see through their charm and charisma by allowing them close proximity which ends up getting them into different sorts of trouble. They are also void of any remorse or compassion for anyone they exploit, abuse, or take advantage of.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Those who are struggling with a Paranoid Personality Disorder have an extreme distrust of those around them, even including close friends and loved ones. Constantly on guard for any signs that someone is out to harm or trick them, this person often becomes involved in paranoid fantasies that make them suspicious of other people and their motives which adversely affect their daily lives. Often fearful and prone to shame and humiliation, the paranoid personality has great difficulty maintaining close, intimate, fulfilling, or trusting relationships with other people mostly due to projecting their own paranoia and lack of trust onto other people they come into contact with.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Those with an extreme need for attention and validation outside of themselves are often diagnosed with Histrionic Personality Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The differential diagnoses can be done by a skilled Licensed Clinical Psychologist who is well-trained and has sufficient clinical practice to discern the intricacies in the two Personality Disorders. Lacking a strong sense of self-worth, they derive their sense of self from the opinions of others, and, therefore, go to great lengths to impress, seduce, and charm anyone around them. Impulsive, excitable, and highly performative, those with Histrionic Personality Disorder are extremely sensitive to criticism or rejection and have adverse reactions to loss or failure.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder is characterized by an extreme preoccupation with perfection and minute details. An Obsessive-Compulsive person constantly obsesses over rules, lists, habits, schedules, and organization, and centers all variables in their lives in an effort to achieve a sense of perceived control. They can often be highly cautious, extremely anxious, controlling, overbearing, mostly irritable, and feel easily overwhelmed.

Dependent Personality Disorder

Those with Dependent Personality Disorder require constant care and attention from those around them. They have great difficulty in making day-to-day decisions and often are plagued with such uncertainty that they need outside assistance doing even the most menial tasks. Marked by a great fear of abandonment and mistrust of self, Dependent Personality Disorder patients rely on others to give them their sense of self, which often spells trouble in long-term relationships, resulting in codependency, addiction, and a variety of mood disorders including depression and anxiety disorders.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Just as the name implies, those with Avoidant Personality Disorder shy away from contact with others. They believe they are naturally inferior, and go to great lengths to avoid being seen or judged by others. They fear embarrassment and find themselves socially incapable of maintaining relationships. Often aligned with anxiety disorders, Avoidant Personality Disorder can stem from feelings of parental rejection in their childhood.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

For those diagnosed with Schizoid Personality Disorder, a marked detachment from the external world becomes the norm. Their internal world is often the only place they spend most of their time, and they generally have little to no interest in sex or social relationships. Despite feeling natural desires for intimacy and closeness with others, that desire is often overruled by the overwhelming distress that maintaining those relationships can cause them.  They are typically out of touch with reality.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Often confused with schizophrenia, Schizotypal Personality Disorder is characterized by divergence from the norm in appearance, speech, and behavior. Schizotypal types are obsessive ruminators often obsessed with unusual thoughts or ideas and often believe in the existence of outlandish entities such as demons or fairies. This personality type, in fact, shares many traits with Schizophrenia, and in some cases, Schizotypal Personality Disorder can later develop into full-blown Schizophrenia.


We Are Here for You

If you are suffering from any type of Personality Disorder or believe you require a diagnosis, you deserve proper treatment and care and we can help. Our team at Blair Wellness Group has extensive experience diagnosing and treating all types of Personality Disorders. While it may seem overwhelming to fathom or feel compelled in discovering how a Personality Disorder is affecting your life, know that we have a wide range of tools and unique treatment models to return your life to one of improved self-esteem and less disturbing behavior. We can help you achieve high productivity and connectedness with others. This will allow you to maintain rewarding and fulfilling relationships both personally and professionally. The best way to know if you have a Personality Disorder is to get an accurate diagnosis from a skilled Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Give us a call today to get started on your road to wellness and recovery.


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Looking for a Local Psychologist?

Our Psychologists and Therapists in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Irvine, Newport Beach, and the surrounding areas offer evening and weekend appointments for our Concierge patients. Contact us today to discover how Blair Wellness Group can help you overcome personal or professional challenges and mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, addiction issues, and personality disorders. 

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