Personality disorders are a group of mental illnesses that involve long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are unhealthy and inflexible.
Personality traits are patterns of thinking, reacting, and behaving that remain relatively consistent and stable over time. People with these disorders display more rigid thinking and reacting behaviors that make it hard for them to adapt to a situation. These behaviors often disrupt their personal, professional, and social lives.
Types of Personality Disorders
Generally, these disorders are divided into three subtypes: odd/eccentric, dramatic/erratic, and anxious/inhibited.
Odd/Eccentric Personality Disorders
- Paranoid: Often overly and unjustifiably suspicious of their surroundings, people with this disorder generally cannot see their role in conflict situations. Instead, they often project their feelings of paranoia as anger onto others.
- Schizoid: People with this disorder are absorbed in their own thinking and daydreaming. Because of this, they exclude themselves from attachment to people and reality.
- Schizotypal: With this disorder, people show disordered thinking, perception, and ineffective communication skills. Many symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder resemble schizophrenia, but are less intense and intrusive.
Dramatic/Erratic Personality Disorders
- Borderline: People with this disorder are not stable in their perceptions of themselves, and have difficulty keeping stable relationships. Moods may also be inconsistent, but never neutral. Their sense of reality is always seen in "black and white."
- Antisocial: People with this disorder characteristically disregard the feelings, property, authority, and respect of others for their own personal gain. This may include violent or aggressive acts involving or targeting other individuals, without a sense of regret or guilt for any of their destructive actions.
- Narcissistic: People with this disorder present severely overly-inflated feelings of self-worth, grandness, and superiority over others. They often exploit others who fail to admire them, and are overly sensitive to criticism, judgment, and defeat.
- Histrionic: People with this disorder are overly conscious of their appearance and are constantly seeking attention. They also often behave dramatically in situations that do not warrant such reactions.
Anxious/Inhibited Personality Disorders
- Dependent: People with this disorder rely heavily on others for validation and fulfillment of basic needs. They are often unable to properly care for themselves, lack self-confidence and security, and have a hard time making decisions.
- Avoidant: People with this disorder are hypersensitive to rejection and, because of this, they avoid situations with any possible conflict. They often become disturbed by their own social isolation, withdrawal, and inability to form close, interpersonal relationships.
- Obsessive-Compulsive: People with this disorder are inflexible to change and are bothered by a disrupted routine due to their obsession for order. They experience anxiety and have trouble completing tasks and making decisions. They also become uncomfortable in situations that are beyond their control, and have difficulty maintaining positive, healthy interpersonal relationships as a result.
Treatment may include a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Personality disorders are often difficult to treat and may need long-term attention to change the inappropriate behavior and thought patterns.
Crozer Health employs Delaware County’s largest staff of board-certified and board-eligible psychiatrists. We offer a comprehensive range of services in the areas of mental health and substance abuse, including emergency care, outpatient counseling and inpatient psychiatric treatment.