Personality disorders are mental disorders that greatly affect a person’s behavior, performance at school and work, social life, and general well-being. People who suffer from personality disorders often have a distorted self-image and perception of society, difficulty establishing interpersonal relationships, difficulty expressing appropriate emotions and problems in controlling impulses.
All personality disorders vary in degree and symptoms. While some people lead productive and happy lives with a mental disorder, some patients are confined to mental health institutions or committed to lifelong medications like antidepressants, and other drugs prescribed by their psychiatrists.
Kinds of Personality Disorders
There are ten kinds of personality disorders defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSV-IV-TR). They are:
Odd or eccentric disorders (Cluster A)
Dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders (Cluster B)
Anxious or fearful disorders (Cluster C)
Symptoms and Causes
For an individual to be diagnosed with a personality disorder, he or she must have behavior that is deviant from the norms and rules of acceptable behavior of society. This behavioral pattern must be rigid and inflexible, and it should interfere with his or her roles and responsibilities in society. For a behavioral pattern to be considered a personality disorder, it should not be caused by a physical injury (like a blow to the head or an accident) or by substance abuse.
Causes for personality disorders vary. Most of the time, personality disorders develop from childhood experiences like neglect, shame, physical and emotional abuse. Patients with personality disorders generally do not suffer from symptoms consistent with psychosis, like hallucinations, disorganized thoughts, or delusions.
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