Personality disorder

When a person suffers from a personality disorder, it means that he thinks, perceives things and behaves differently than a normal person.


Types of personality disorders

The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Guide to Mental Disorders) describes a number of personality disorders and is divided into 5 areas (called axes).
Usually, each area describes people who are unable to control their emotions and harm themselves or others through their actions.
Here, axis II is analyzed, which is divided into three clusters (or groups) depending on the type of behavior.

Group A personality disorders

A person with a group A personality disorder has difficulty interacting with other people and usually behaves very eccentrically and strangely.

– Paranoid personality disorder People with this type of disorder
are very suspicious and believe that others might hurt, take advantage of, or humiliate them. They put a lot of effort into protecting themselves and keeping their distance from other people. Often they are quarrelsome and can develop pathological jealousy. The distorted thinking is quite obvious. The emotional life is characterized by mistrust and hostility. For these reasons, the patient does not have confidence and cannot develop intimate relationships.

– Schizoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder is a type of egocentric disorder. Those who suffer from schizoid personality disorder avoid social relationships and can seem uninterested and impersonal. Nevertheless, people with this disorder are able to find their way around society well.
This disorder is usually diagnosed during puberty or in young adults. Symptoms may include:

  • Indifference
  • Loneliness
  • Avoidance of social contacts
  • Rejecting relationships
  • Appearance of numbness or indifference
  • Inability to enjoy oneself
  • Lack of motivation

– Schizotypal personality disorder Patients who suffer from schizotypal personality disorder
have great difficulty in establishing or maintaining close relationships with others. They may have recognition or perception disorders and eccentric behavior.
People with this disorder may be superstitious or interested in paranormal phenomena. Often, they look for treatments for concomitant symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or other typical characteristics of this dysphoric disorder, rather than for the actual personality disorder.

Group B personality disorders

Patients suffering from group B personality disorder strive to control their emotions and often change their minds about other people. This can lead to theatrical, erratic, and disturbing behavior.

– Antisocial personality disorder Antisocial personality disorder is a type of chronic mental disorder
characterized by abnormal or harmful ways of thinking, perception of situations, and relationship behavior. Usually, people suffering from this disorder do not understand what is right and wrong, often they ignore the rights, desires and feelings of other people.
These sick people often have many enemies, manipulate or harm others, or show indifference. Often they break the law and get into trouble, but do not show guilt or remorse. They may lie, be violent or impulsive, and have problems with drugs and alcohol. As a result, people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder are usually unable to take on family, professional or educational responsibilities.

– Borderline Personality Disorder
People with borderline 
personality disorder have a very distorted image of themselves, feel useless and fundamentally wrong.
They interpret the world as polarized, simplified, as all or nothing. They often change their profession, relationships, goals or places of residence. Most of the time, these profound changes occur very suddenly.
To illustrate the “black and white” thinking, emotive instability and lack of self-control that characterize stress and interpersonal conflicts, one can use an example:
let’s say that the partner of a woman suffering from borderline personality disorder does not remember the date of her anniversary. Her way of thinking “black and white” leads her to the conclusion: “He doesn’t love me anymore” and subsequently: “If he doesn’t love me anymore, he hates me”.

– Narcissistic personality disorder Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder
characterized by a deep need for admiration and an exaggerated sense of self-worth.
Narcissistic behavior is defined as an excessive self-indulgence. People who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder imagine themselves a lot, exaggerate their successes or talents, and expect others to confirm their superiority. Individuals with narcissistic behavior are often unable to maintain long relationships due to their self-centeredness and indifference to others.
Narcissists consider themselves perfect and flawless, always want to be the center of attention, and have trouble accepting criticism. When they do something wrong, they hide their guilt behind a narcissistic rage.

– Histrionic personality disorder Histrionic (or hysterical) personality disorder
is characterized by excessive emotionality and a desire for attention.
Summary of the characteristics of a person with histrionic personality disorder:

  • discomfort when she is not the center of attention;
  • well-being when it is “the soul of the feast”;
  • convinced of entertaining people;
  • flirting or provocative behavior to stay in the center of attention;
  • strives for a reputation as a theatrical and extremely emotional person;
  • depending on the consent of others;
  • easily influenced by others.

Group C personality disorders

A person with a group C personality disorder suffers from overwhelming and persistent feelings of anxiety and fear. He may exhibit antisocial and introverted behavior.
This personality disorder causes a strong ambivalence, that is, the patient fluctuates between different behaviors depending on the situation.

– Anxious-avoidant personality disorder: A person with anxious-avoidant personality disorder
feels inadequate and is extremely sensitive to the judgment of others.
He is not a phobic person, but one with low self-confidence.
This feeling of inferiority can cause a feeling of discomfort and lead to an inability to cope with social situations.

A patient with anxious-avoidant personality disorder may:

  • avoid professions or social activities that require him to be with others;
  • are very sensitive to rejection and criticism;
  • are constantly worried about being ‘discovered’ and rejected;
  • being afraid of being humiliated by others;
  • withdraw socially for fear of rejection (avoid relationships, friendships and partner relationships);
  • feeling lonely, isolated, or inferior;
  • refuse to try new things for fear of embarrassment.

– Dependent personality disorder Dependent personality disorder
is a condition characterized by a long-lasting need to be cared for and by the fear of being abandoned or separated from important people.
As a result, patients suffering from this disorder show emotional dependence or submissiveness in order to receive the attention and support of others.
A patient with a dependent personality disorder may:

  • feeling weakness or inability to make decisions or to behave correctly without the help or support of others;
  • allow others to take responsibility in many areas of his life;
  • accept wrong or unpleasing things in order to avoid being left alone or losing the support of a person;
  • fear of being left alone (due to unstable personality);
  • have low self-esteem;
  • see others as much more capable;
  • be seen by others as too submissive and passive.

– Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (also called anankastic disorder
) have high standards for perfection. They observe everything that catches their attention and have a great attention to detail, as well as:

  • act with patience and maximum concentration at work;
  • they are extremely reliable;
  • they do not have relaxing moments for themselves, but constantly feel like they are on an obstacle course;
  • they constantly try to push their limits and work in a perfectionist way.

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are often worried about making mistakes or doing something wrong and feel anxious and worried when they find themselves in situations they can’t control.

Unspecified Personality Disorder (NAS)

There are many types of personality disorders, each with different symptoms and requiring different treatment methods. Nevertheless, a patient with a specific personality disorder may also develop symptoms of another personality disorder. This symptomatic behavior can be diagnosed if the patient shows the symptoms of at least two personality disorders.

NAS includes the following 4 disorders:

– Depressive personality disorder Depressive personality disorder is a personality disorder
that is not easily identified. It is also known as melancholic personality disorder. As the name suggests, people with this disorder are often pessimistic and melancholic. In addition, they suffer from mood swings and appear inflexible. These characteristics are also found in other personality disorders and it is therefore difficult to diagnose.

– Passive-aggressive personality disorder.
Passive-aggressive personality disorder is a chronic disorder in which a person appears to live normally, but shows an aggressive character in a passive way.
These people are resentful, inflexible and stubborn towards others, but act passively.
People who suffer from this disorder do not feel up to responsibilities and show it through their behavior instead of openly expressing their feelings. Often they delay things to avoid doing their tasks or what others have told them to do, are inefficient or forgetful.

Some common symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include:

  • Aggressiveness
  • Avoiding responsibility with the excuse of forgetting
  • Deliberate inefficiency
  • Blaming others
  • Complain
  • Grudge
  • Fear of authority
  • Suppressed anger or hostility
  • Hold out
  • Rejecting other people’s advice

A person with this disorder may appear to respect the will of others and may also show enthusiasm, but:

  • he carries out the required action too late to be useful;
  • he executes it in such a way that it is useless;
  • he sabotages the action to show his anger, which he cannot express in words.

– Sadistic personality disorder Sadistic personality disorder is a type of personality disorder
characterized by actions, attitudes and behaviors of the sadistic person that give him pleasure and cause suffering to others. Sadistic people tend to cultivate relationships dominated by violence, to rob other people of their autonomy, to take pleasure in the sight of suffering people and animals, and to be fascinated by violence and weapons.
According to DSM Axis III, this disorder is characterized by the use of physical violence or cruelty to assert dominance in a relationship such as in a marriage or with a child.
Most of the time, a person with a sadistic personality disorder inflicts suffering on other people.

– Self-destructive (masochistic) personality disorder Self-destructive personality disorder
is a common example of self-destructive 
behavior that can occur at a young age and present itself in various situations. Patients with this disorder avoid or damage pleasurable experiences and are attracted to painful situations or relationships. Indeed:

  • They choose people and situations that bring disappointment, failure, or abuse, even when there are better choices.
  • They refuse help from others.
  • They react after personal positive events (for example, a new conquest) with depression, guilt or behavior that causes pain (for example, an accident).

Other personality disorders

– Multiple (or dissociative) personality disorder Dissociative identity disorder (DIS) is a serious disorder
in which a person has a double or multiple personality (or takes control).
People who suffer from this disorder may also suffer from significant memory loss that can no longer be explained as simple forgetfulness.
The symptoms can occur if at least one function is interrupted.
These symptoms can generally interfere with the person’s life, including social activities, work and relationships.
People with DIS often have problems with their own identity and personal history.
Dissociation is a specific feature of dissociative disorders.
Dissociation is a reaction mechanism of a person to distance himself from a stressful or traumatic situation or to displace traumatic memories from normal consciousness.
It is a way to isolate oneself from the outside world, to distance oneself from the knowledge of what is happening.

Treatment is based on medication, psychotherapy and natural remedies consisting of lifestyle changes, a healthy diet and regular physical exercise.

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