Ever heard of someone described as a narcissist? This term comes from a type of Personality Disorder (PD). Many people don’t realise it but PDs are amongst the most common of all psychiatric diagnosis. Therefore, chances are pretty high, that you know someone who has this or at least shows some PD traits.
There are 10 types of PDs which are classified by 3 distinct subtypes; Suspicious, Emotional and Impulsive or Anxious. The following is a brief explanation of each type of PD:
Paranoid personality disorder
The main characteristic here, is their inability to trust others. Therefore, they will vigilantly be looking for betrayal and mistrust. They lack the capacity to get close to others due to their suspicious nature.
Schizoid personality disorder
There people are chronic loners. They find little enjoyment in life and can be emotionally and intimately void.
Schizotypal personality disorder
People with this disorder can be odd and eccentric. They often use words from a made up language, are preoccupied with having special powers and feel anxious and paranoid in social settings.
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
This type of person is classically egocentric and will have been diagnosed with conduct disorder before they reach 15. They have no sense of guilt, will do anything to get what they want, lack consequential thought, strive for success and will be reckless and impulsive. If you’ve ever been ripped off by someone, chances are they have ASPD or at least identify with these traits.
Emotional and Impulsive
Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Mood swings, recklessness, impulsiveness, emotional, clingy; are all characteristics of BPD. They would likely have a history in self harm, substance abuse or suicide.
Histrionic personality disorder
If you know someone who thrives on drama, being the centre of attention, is over emotional, needs to entertain you and constantly seeks the approval of others; then they are exhibiting classic signs of this disorder.
Narcissistic personality disorder
Much like ASPD, except they feel they deserve special treatment and are above everyone else. They will resent success in others, dislike being ignored and rely on others for their self worth.
Avoidant (or anxious) personality disorder
With a chronic fear of rejection and inferiority, these poor souls avoid all types of social situations, including having to go to work. They expect disapproval and criticism, and feel a need to hide away to avoid it. They are often extremely isolated and lonely.
Dependent personality disorder
Due to chronic low self confidence, these sufferers need others more than any other type of person. They are unable to function, make decisions, take responsibility, be alone and are totally passive and submissive. They are almost childlike in their need for protection and care.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)
Similar to OCD (ritualistic need to perform repetitive behaviours) which many people have heard of, OCPD is characterised by a desire to control themselves and their environment. They expect the worst, often hoard things for fear of throwing items away, have unreachable expectations of themselves and others and fully believe they know best. If you have seen the TV show “Hoarders”, about individuals who are unable to disregard everyday items and what many considered rubbish; then you have witnessed what can classically be defined as OCPD.
Most PDs are identified by loved ones or those around them. Suffers are generally unaware of the severity of their traits and the impact it has on others. As a result, it is often those around them who demand mental health intervention and this is when a diagnosis is made.
If you think you or someone you love might have a PD, head to this website for further information: nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/personalitydisorders.html
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By Kim Chartres