Personality disorders are characterized by unhealthy, inflexible thinking patterns and behaviors that have a negative effect on everyday functioning and relationships. It is estimated that 9.1% of U.S. adults are affected by a personality disorder. The signs and symptoms of personality disorders typically emerge in late adolescence or in young adulthood.
Mental health professionals recognize 10 types of personality disorders, which are grouped into three categories:
People with this disorder suffer from paranoia and tend to be unreasonably distrustful of others and suspicious of their motives. You may feel like others are trying to deceive you, take advantage of you, or harm you even though there isn’t any objective evidence of such malicious intent. This condition is more commonly seen in men than in women.
People with schizoid personality disorder tend to appear detached or indifferent in social relationships and seem emotionally flat. Schizoid personality disorder is not the same as schizophrenia. People with schizoid personality disorder tend to have a firm grasp of reality and don’t usually struggle with the hallucinations or delusions that are hallmarks of schizophrenia.
This type of personality disorder is characterized by strange, superstitious, or unusual beliefs and behaviors. People with this personality disorder tend to have trouble forming strong relationships and may feel anxious in social settings. Schizotypal personality disorder is not the same as schizophrenia, as people do not suffer from hallucinations or delusions.
Antisocial personality disorder, which is also referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy, is characterized by routinely exploiting, manipulating, and taking advantage of others. A lack of remorse for this behavior is a hallmark of antisocial personality disorder.
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by intense and unstable emotions. People with the condition are prone to impulsive actions and strong emotional reactions that make it hard to maintain relationships.
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. Due to their lack of empathy, they can also be manipulative, demanding, and arrogant.
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder are attention-seeking “life of the party” types who tend to overdramatize everyday events and who engage in inappropriate seductive behaviors. This disorder affects an estimated 1.8% of the population and is more commonly seen in women.
Having extreme shyness and fear of rejection or criticism that leads people to avoid work and social situations are the hallmarks of avoidant personality disorder. Approximately 2% of the population are estimated to be affected by this personality disorder.
People who need to have others around or who are overly clingy may have dependent personality disorder. These individuals experience symptoms of anxiety when they aren’t in the company of other people.
People with obsessive compulsive personality disorder have inflexible and rigid thinking patterns and behaviors. Despite the similarity in its name, obsessive compulsive personality disorder is not the same as the anxiety disorder known as obsessive compulsive disorder.
Statistics shows that 67% of people with a personality disorder also suffer from a co-occurring mental health disorder. The conditions most commonly seen in people suffering from a personality disorder include:
Because there is some overlap in symptoms, this can make it more difficult to diagnose personality disorders. The fact that traditional psychiatry typically makes diagnoses based on symptom clusters and rarely looks at the organ it treats also leads to misdiagnoses.
Amen Clinics is different. We use brain SPECT imaging to help identify activity patterns in the brain associated with personality disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions.
Personality disorders are actually brain disorders. Neuroimaging studies show that people with personality disorders have structural and functional abnormalities in the brain. Additional factors that may be involved in the development of borderline personality disorder include:
Because so many factors may be at play, it is critical to seek a mental health practitioner who performs a comprehensive evaluation that includes brain imaging, lab testing, and more.
It can be challenging to get people with personality disorders to seek help because they are typically unaware that their thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviors are unhealthy and abnormal. In fact, only 39% of those affected by a personality disorder received treatment in the past year, according to the latest data from the National Comorbidity Study Replication.
Since 1989, Amen Clinics has helped many people overcome symptoms of personality disorders with targeted solutions. We believe in taking a unique brain-body approach to treatment that involves the least toxic, most effective strategies. This may include the use of natural supplements, nutrition, exercise, helpful forms of psychotherapy, and medication (sometimes prescribed to treat symptoms of co-occurring disorders)—all personalized for your needs.