Personality Disorders

Personality has been defined and revised numerous times over the years. The general consensus is that personality is the combination of one’s stable and predictable emotional, cognitive, and behavioral traits that develop from the bidirectional interaction between nature (i.e. genetics) and nurture (i.e. environment). A person’s core personality traits remain relatively stable throughout adulthood. Personality Disorders represent deeply ingrained, pervasive, and rigid patterns of relating to oneself and others that are maladaptive and cause significant impairment in functioning. It is important to remember that personality traits are not considered pathological unless they cause significant distress or dysfunction in a person’s life.

Individuals with personality disorders often lack insight into their problems. Therefore, their symptoms are considered ego-syntonic. 

There has been ongoing debate and controversy surrounding the idea of discrete disorders of personality given that many people meet criteria for more than one personality disorder. Nonetheless, we organize personality disorders into three “Clusters” (i.e., Cluster A, Cluster B, and Cluster C) with each cluster sharing similar core features. 

  • Cluster A (“Weird”): Schizoid, Schizotypal, and Paranoid.
  • Cluster B (“Whacky”): Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic.
  • Cluster C (“Worried”): Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive.

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