Types Of Personality Disorders

Someone’s personality comes from a combination of traits that are unique to them. A person with healthy personality traits will show signs of positivity, enthusiasm, and good problem-solving skills. A positive personality will allow someone to get along with others and adapt well to society. 

Unfortunately, negative personality traits can develop in anyone and can lead to unhealthy thoughts and behaviors. These negative traits can be established from birth or formed due to trauma. 

If someone exhibits consistent behaviors related to negative personality traits, they likely have a personality disorder. In this guide, we will take a look at the various personality disorders and how they can be treated. 

What Is a Personality Disorder?

It may be hard for someone with a personality disorder to recognize that they have one. This is because most personality disorders are ego-syntonic, meaning that their thoughts and behaviors are consistent with how they view themselves. 

In general, personality disorders distort the way people think about themselves and others. These disorders also affect a person’s ability to respond to certain situations. 

Someone suffering from a personality disorder is going to have difficulty adapting to daily life and social situations. 

ego-syntonic personality disorders mean their behaviors are consistent with how they view themselves

What Causes Personality Disorders?

While the exact origins are unknown, psychologists have identified some sources of how people develop a personality disorder. The first way is through the genes you inherit from your parents. Malfunctioning genes that are responsible for responding to certain stressors can be passed down to the child. The passed-down genes may eventually lead to the development of a personality disorder. 

The other main way you can get a personality disorder is through trauma at a young age. Whether it was a single traumatic experience or long-term abuse, trauma can lead to unhealthy responses to stress and social situations. These unhealthy responses serve to protect and comfort the traumatized individual, but can eventually develop further into a more complex personality disorder. 

Types of Personality Disorders

Although there are several personality disorders, they can be grouped into three clusters. Each cluster is defined by unique personality disorder symptoms and characteristics. 

Understanding the distinctions of each cluster will shed light on the behaviors and thought patterns that are associated with each type of personality disorder.

types of personality disorders and personality disorder clusters

Cluster A

People with personality disorders in Cluster A will be overly suspicious and uninterested in others. The main personality disorders in this cluster are: 

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder: lacks trust in others and their actions, doubts loyalty, and believes others wish them harm without reason
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder: chooses to be alone, limited in expressed emotions, can’t find pleasure in activities, and can’t pick up on social cues
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder: has unusual beliefs, unusual emotional responses, social anxiety, and believes that their thoughts can supernaturally affect events and other people

These individuals will have dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors that will leave them feeling ostracized and separated from the rest of society.

Cluster B

Those who have personality disorders in Cluster B will tend to be overly dramatic and emotional. Some of the disorders in this group include:

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: swaying moods due to social stress, fear of abandonment, impulsive risky behavior, unstable relationships, and stress-related paranoia
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder: attention seeking, easily led by others, shallow and quickly changing emotions, overly concerned with appearance 
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: thinks they’re more important than others, fantasizes about power and success, doesn’t understand feelings of others, takes advantage of others, and feelings of extreme jealousy and superiority
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: has little to no concern for others, lies often, is aggressive and violent, and behaves recklessly

Related Blog: Histrionic Disorder Treatments

People with a cluster B disorder will often demonstrate dramatic and unpredictable behaviors that can be harmful to themselves and others.

Cluster C

The personality disorders associated with Cluster C often create repeated feelings of intense anxiety. The disorders in this group are:

  • Avoidant Personality Disorder: overly sensitive to criticism, very low self-esteem, avoids new activities and meeting new people, and extremely shy
  • Dependent Personality Disorder: unhealthily relies on others, submissive and clingy, lacks confidence, and quickly joins a relationship after one ends
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: intense focus on details and rules, perfectionist, needs to be in control of people and situations, stubborn, stressed over budgeting and spending money. This disorder is different than Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Related Blog: High Functioning Avoidant Personality Disorder Guide

Although Cluster C personality disorders stem from anxiety, they aren’t considered anxiety disorders. However, it is common for people in Cluster C to have an anxiety disorder alongside their personality disorder. 


It is very common for someone to have many personality disorders or other disorders at the same time. When disorders and diseases overlap, it is called comorbidity. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 84% of people with personality disorders also suffer from another disorder. For example, someone in Cluster B may also have bipolar disorder, or someone in Cluster C may also have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Most people with a personality disorder have another mental health disorder also

 Some of the most common comorbidities associated with personality disorders include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Posttraumatic stress

To better understand how different disorders can overlap, read this related blog: Mood Disorders vs. Personality Disorders.

Identifying the comorbidities that someone has alongside their personality disorder is a necessary step towards recovery. Treating personality disorders is most effective when the comorbidities are included, rather than isolating a single condition. 

Personality Disorder Treatment

Many methods that can be used to treat personality disorders. Those who suffer from these disorders can often experience a drastic improvement in their lives with the proper combination of medication and therapy.

Medications For Personality Disorders

Although there aren’t medications that directly treat personality disorders, they can be used to treat the symptoms that are associated with them. Pharmaceuticals like antidepressants and mood stabilizers can be prescribed to prevent dysfunctional reactions to stressful situations. 

Antipsychotic medications prove to be beneficial for those who lose touch with reality and frequently enter psychosis. Treating the symptoms of personality disorders will allow for an easier transition towards healthy thinking and habits. 

Types Of Therapy For Personality Disorders

Seeking help from a professionally-trained therapist is a crucial step towards recovering from a personality disorder. Professional therapists understand the severity of these disorders and can provide their patients with the tools they need to live a healthy life. 

The most common forms of therapy for personality disorders are:

Therapy is an invaluable resource for those who suffer from personality disorders. It makes sure they aren’t battling their disorder alone and teaches essential skills that are needed for healthier thinking and behaviors. 

Can You Get Rid of A Personality Disorder?

Unfortunately, personality disorders don’t go away completely. That being said, remission from personality disorders can be achieved with the help of therapy and medication. 

Eventually, new and healthy thoughts will replace the old, harmful ones. Although there is a risk of relapsing into old behaviors, a healthy lifestyle can be made permanent with continued effort and treatment. 

Treatment For Personality Disorders In Mesa, AZ

It is important to treat personality disorders as early as possible. These disorders will get more ingrained as time goes on, and most personality disorders will only get worse with age. Personality disorders are known to be difficult to treat, and regular therapy is needed to help develop healthier ways of thinking. 

without treatment, personality disorders can get worse with age

Cognitive behavioral therapies, like those offered at Sequoia Behavioral Health, will help those suffering from personality disorders eliminate their dysfunctional beliefs. Eliminating these harmful beliefs and replacing them with healthy ones is known to provide a drastic improvement to the behaviors and thought patterns of those suffering from personality disorders.