A personality disorder is an umbrella term for several types of mental disorders that are characterized by fixed and unhealthy patterns of thinking, functioning and performing. Someone with a personality disorder has difficulty relating to different situations and people. This causes challenges in relationships, social settings, work and school.
Personality is the mix of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that makes a person unique. It's the way one feels, processes and relates to the outside world, as well as how an individual sees themselves. Personality forms during childhood and adolescence, and is molded by:
Genes. Certain personality traits can be passed down by a parent(s). These traits may refer to one’s temperament.
Environment. This involves the home and area a person grows up in, formative events that take place, and relationships that form between a person and their family members and friends.
Personality disorders are influenced by a combination of these genetic and environmental factors. One’s genes may make a person more vulnerable to developing a personality disorder, and a life situation may trigger the actual development.
Personality Disorders are grouped into three “clusters”, each with their own subset of symptoms and warning signs.
Cluster A. These personality disorders are identified by eccentric thinking or behavior. Paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder fall under this category. Someone with a Cluster A disorder may:
Cluster B. These personality disorders are described by dramatic, overly emotional and unpredictable thought patterns and behaviors. Antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder are all Cluster B disorders. A person with this type of personality disorder may:
Cluster C. These personality disorders are characterized by anxious and fearful behavior. Avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are all Cluster C disorders. A person with this type of personality disorder may:
Personality Disorders are often treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy
The cause is generally seen as a combination of biological and environmental factors, rather than linked to any one cause.
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