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Personality Disorder (PD)

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school.

In some cases, you may not realize that you have a personality disorder because your way of thinking and behaving seems natural to you. And you may blame others for the challenges you face.

Personality disorders usually begin in the teenage years or early adulthood. There are many types of personality disorders. Some types may become less obvious throughout middle age


Types of personality disorders are grouped into three clusters, based on similar characteristics and symptoms. Many people with one personality disorder also have signs and symptoms of at least one additional personality disorder. It's not necessary to exhibit all the signs and symptoms listed for a disorder to be diagnosed.

Cluster A personality disorders

Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior. They include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder

Paranoid personality disorder

Pervasive distrust and suspicion of others and their motives

Unjustified belief that others are trying to harm or deceive you

Unjustified suspicion of the loyalty or trustworthiness of others

Hesitancy to confide in others due to unreasonable fear that others will use the information against you

Perception of innocent remarks or nonthreatening situations as personal insults or attacks

Angry or hostile reaction to perceived slights or insults

Tendency to hold grudges

Unjustified, recurrent suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful

Schizoid personality disorder

Lack of interest in social or personal relationships, preferring to be alone

Limited range of emotional expression

Inability to take pleasure in most activities

Inability to pick up normal social cues

Appearance of being cold or indifferent to others

Little or no interest in having sex with another person

Schizotypal personality disorder

Peculiar dress, thinking, beliefs, speech or behavior

Odd perceptual experiences, such as hearing a voice whisper your name

Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses

Social anxiety and a lack of or discomfort with close relationships

Indifferent, inappropriate or suspicious response to others

"Magical thinking" — believing you can influence people and events with your thoughts

Belief that certain casual incidents or events have hidden messages meant only for you

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Antisocial personality disorder

Disregard for others' needs or feelings

Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, conning others

Recurring problems with the law

Repeated violation of the rights of others

Aggressive, often violent behavior

Disregard for the safety of self or others

Impulsive behavior

Consistently irresponsible

Lack of remorse for behavior

Borderline personality disorder

Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling or binge eating

Unstable or fragile self-image

Unstable and intense relationships

Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress

Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury

Intense fear of being alone or abandoned

Ongoing feelings of emptiness

Frequent, intense displays of anger

Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes

Histrionic personality disorder

Constantly seeking attention

Excessively emotional, dramatic or sexually provocative to gain attention

Speaks dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up

Easily influenced by others

Shallow, rapidly changing emotions

Excessive concern with physical appearance

Thinks relationships with others are closer than they really are

Narcissistic personality disorder

Belief that you're special and more important than others

Fantasies about power, success and attractiveness

Failure to recognize others' needs and feelings

Exaggeration of achievements or talents

Expectation of constant praise and admiration


Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others

Envy of others or belief that others envy you

Cluster C personality disorders

Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior. They include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Avoidant personality disorder

Too sensitive to criticism or rejection

Feeling inadequate, inferior or unattractive

Avoidance of work activities that require interpersonal contact

Socially inhibited, timid and isolated, avoiding new activities or meeting strangers

Extreme shyness in social situations and personal relationships

Fear of disapproval, embarrassment or ridicule

Dependent personality disorder

Excessive dependence on others and feeling the need to be taken care of

Submissive or clingy behavior toward others

Fear of having to provide self-care or fend for yourself if left alone

Lack of self-confidence, requiring excessive advice and reassurance from others to make even small decisions

Difficulty starting or doing projects on your own due to lack of self-confidence

Difficulty disagreeing with others, fearing disapproval

Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment, even when other options are available

Urgent need to start a new relationship when a close one has ended

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Preoccupation with details, orderliness and rules

Extreme perfectionism, resulting in dysfunction and distress when perfection is not achieved, such as feeling unable to finish a project because you don't meet your own strict standards

Desire to be in control of people, tasks and situations, and inability to delegate tasks

Neglect of friends and enjoyable activities because of excessive commitment to work or a project

Inability to discard broken or worthless objects

Rigid and stubborn

Inflexible about morality, ethics or values

Tight, miserly control over budgeting and spending money

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, a type of anxiety disorder.

When to see a doctor

If you have any signs or symptoms of a personality disorder, see your doctor or other primary care professional or a mental health professional. Untreated, personality disorders can cause significant problems in your life that may get worse without treatment.

What is the main cause of personality disorders?

Early life experiences

If you have been given a personality disorder diagnosis you are more likely than most people to have experienced difficult or traumatic experiences growing up, such as: neglect. losing a parent or experiencing a sudden bereavement. emotional, physical or sexual abuse.

The Shackz

Emotional Support Line


083 651 3729


079 847 4709


071 060 4339

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