Personality disorders are a type of mental illness characterized by specific patterns of thinking and behaving. These thoughts and behaviors are unhealthy or unusual for the culture of the person with the disorder. Often, this person will have a rigid pattern of thinking, functioning, and behaving. This causes significant issues and constraints to 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 and Their Symptoms
There are ten broadly accepted personality disorders. Experts categorize these personality disorders into one of three clusters, with each cluster sharing common traits between the disorders. All personality disorders are complex and unique.
Cluster A Personality Disorders
Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by unusual or atypical ways of thinking and behaving that may be considered out-of-touch with reality. Some versions and their symptoms include:
- Paranoid personality disorder: Excessive or unwarranted distrust in others, holding grudges or anger, unwillingness to share low-level personal information
- Schizoid personality disorder: Limited or restricted interest in others, flat affect or lack of emotions, difficulty feeling or expressing pleasure
- Schizotypal personality disorder: Anxiety with interpersonal relationships and intimacy, magical thinking, difficulty interpreting or understanding reality
Cluster B Personality Disorders
Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by unpredictable or shocking behaviors or actions, especially in social interaction. Some types of cluster B disorders and their symptoms include:
- Antisocial personality disorder: Impulsive or reckless behavior, lack of concern for social norms, difficulty understanding others’ emotions
- Borderline personality disorder: Extreme fear of abandonment, unstable or no self-image, mood swings, suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Histrionic personality disorder: Boredom and desire for self-gratification, unusually high desire for attention, atypical concern for physical appearance
- Narcissistic personality disorder: Unhealthy sense of self-importance, feelings of entitlement or superiority, exaggerated belief in one’s skills or power
Cluster C Personality Disorders
Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxiety and fear. Some of these and their symptoms include:
- Avoidant personality disorder: Extreme fear of rejection, poor self-image, hesitancy or difficulty interacting with others, small social circles
- Dependent personality disorder: Feelings of helplessness or submissiveness to others, difficulty or inability to accept responsibility, intense desire for approval and support of others
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: Extreme perfectionism, difficulty accepting change, unusual rigidity or inflexibility
Although the two disorders have similar names, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) differs from obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). Unlike those with OCD, people with OCPD do not typically have extreme obsessions and compulsions. Instead, symptoms of OCPD are more often focused on perfectionism. In addition, while people with OCD usually recognize the harm their symptoms do to them, people with OCPD may struggle to recognize the way their symptoms are hurting them.
Personality Disorder Statistics
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 9.5% of U.S. adults have a personality disorder, while 67% of people with personality disorders have another disorder, with the most common co-occurring disorders being anxiety disorders. Currently, experts are not confident about the cause of personality disorders. However, genetics and negative or traumatic experiences in childhood are likely related.
Why Is the Treatment of Personality Disorders Important?
Left untreated, the symptoms of personality disorders can be troubling to those with the disorder or their families. People with personality disorders may find it difficult to maintain healthy, stable relationships, attend work or school, or take care of themselves. Family and friends of those with personality disorders may struggle to offer care both to the person with the disorder and to themselves.
What Makes Our Program Unique?
Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention, located centrally in the College Area of San Diego, California, offers expert treatment for those with personality disorders or other conditions. Our Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) contains fewer than 16 beds, ensuring each client receives the attentive care they need and deserve. We use a modern, person-focused, and trauma-informed approach in all of our care.
Getting Help at Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention
We understand that an effective treatment is a holistic treatment. Our treatment program includes a variety of evidence-based services carefully chosen to provide our clients with maximum benefit. These services include:
- Medication management: For clients with pre-existing prescriptions, our medical staff will aid you in managing your medications safely while staying at our CSU.
- Whole-person wellness: Each individual and their journey to recovery is unique. Our treatment program is individualized, offering care to each client that addresses their specific needs.
- Recovery and safety planning: For those with mental health struggles, it can be difficult to feel safe and know your path forward. Our treatment includes robust support in planning for your safety and recovery.
- Support services: While in our CSU, patients have access to a variety of therapy modalities, including, but not limited to, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and psycho-educational group therapy.
- Family and community support: Our families and communities are vital parts of our lives. At Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention, our program offers support in connecting to those who can support you through your journey.
- Nutrition and recreation services: While in a crisis, it can be difficult to make time and energy for your health, both physical and mental. Your health is our top priority: while you reside in our CSU, we offer services to aid with diet and leisure.