Personality Disorders 101

Personality Disorders (PD) are the severe form of the personality styles we all have.

Many of us have odd tendencies and peculiarities, yet these are not pathological in nature.

There are currently 10 diagnosable PDs; they are common in about 10% of the world’s populationthat means 1 out of 10 of your friends may have a PD (statistically speaking).

In order to diagnose someone with a PD, a licensed clinician must have evidence that your personality style has become maladaptive and pervasive over a period of time, it causes significant impairment in social or occupational functioning, with a pattern of rigidity and inflexibility, and it’s in excess of what is typical in your culture.

Also, it must affect you in two or more of the following areas:

Cognition: perceptions of yourself, others, and events around you

Affect-intensity and appropriateness of your emotional responses

Personal Relations, and

Impulse control

***PDs are divided into three clusters based on their similarity (not research)***

 

CLUSTER A

ODD STYLE—ASSOCIATED WITH PSYCHOTIC DISORDERS

SCHIZOTYPAL PD [ME PECULIAR]

Magical thinking

Experiences unusual perceptions

Paranoid ideation

Eccentric behavior or appearance (and thinking)*

Constricted or inappropriate affect

Unusual thinking or speech

Lacks close friends

Ideas of reference

Anxiety in social situations

Rule out psychotic or pervasive developmental disorders

Potential Examples: Willy Wonka, Crazy Eyes (Orange is the New Black), Doc Brown (from Back to the Future)

 

PARANOID PD [SUSPECT]

Spousal infidelity suspected

Unforgiving (bears grudges)

Suspicious without basis*

Perceives attacks (and reacts quickly)

Enemy or friend? (suspects associates and friends)

Confiding in others is feared

Threats perceived in benign event

Potential Examples: Pablo Escobar, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein

 

SCHIZOID PD [DISTANT]

Detached or flattened affect

Indifferent to criticism or praise

Sexual experiences of little interest

Tasks done solitarily

Absence of close friends

Neither desires nor enjoys close relationships*

Takes pleasure in few activities

Potential Examples: Sheldon (from Big Bang Theory), Squidward (from Sponge Bob), Stephen Hawkins

 

CLUSTER B

DRAMATIC STYLE— ASSOCIATED WITH MOOD DISORDERS

BORDERLINE PD [AM SUICIDE]

Abandonment Issues (real or imagined)*

Mood instability (marked reactivity of mood)

Suicidal (or self-mutilating) behavior

Unstable and intense relationships

Impulsivity (in two potentially self-damaging areas)

Control of anger
(lacking of)

Identity disturbance

Dissociative (or paranoid) transient symptoms and stress-related

Emptiness (chronic feelings of)

Potential Examples: Tiffany Maxwell (character of Silver Linings Playbook- 2012), Courtney Love; Lisa (character in the movie Life Interrupted)

 

NARCISSISTIC PD: [SPECIAL]

Special (believes he or she is special and unique)

Preoccupied with fantasies (of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love)

Entitlement

Conceited (grandiose sense of self-importance)*

Interpersonal exploitation

Arrogant (haughty)

Lacks empathy

Potential Examples: Donald Trump, Kanye West

 

HISTRIONIC PD [PRAISE ME]

Provocative or seductive behavior

Relationships considered more intimate than they are

Attention (need to be the center of)*

Influenced easily

Style of speech (impressionistic, lacking detail)

Emotions (rapidly shifting, shallow)

Make up (physical appearance used to draw attention to self)

Emotions exaggerated

Potential Examples: Lady Gaga, Anna Nicole Smith, Barney (from How I met Your Mother)

  

ANTISOCIAL PD [CORRUPT]

Cannot conform to law

Obligations ignored

Reckless disregard for safety

Remorseless

Underhanded (deceitful)

Planning insufficient (impulsive*)

Temper (irritable and aggressive)*

Potential Examples: Serial Killers, The Joker and The Grinch

 

CLUSTER C

ANXIOUS STYLE—ASSOCIATED WITH ANXIETY DISORDERS

OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE PD [LAW FIRMS]

Loses point of activity (due to preoccupation with detail)*

Ability to complete tasks (compromised by perfectionism)

Worthless objects (unable to discard)

Friendships (and leisure activities) excluded (due to a preoccupation with work)
I: Inflexible, scrupulous, overconscientious (on ethics, values, or morality, not accounted for by religion or culture)

Reluctant to delegate (unless others submit to exact guidelines)

Miserly (toward self and others)

Stubbornness (and rigidity)

Potential Examples: Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg,

 

DEPENDENT PD [RELIANCE]

Reassurance required

Expressing disagreement difficult

Life responsibilities assumed by others*

Initiating projects difficult

Alone (feels helpless and uncomfortable when alone)

Nurturance (goes to excessive lengths to obtain)

Companionship sought urgently when a relationship ends

Exaggerated fears of being left to care for self

Potential Examples: Buster (from Arrested Development), David Beckam

 

AVOIDANT PD [CRINGES]

Criticism or rejection preoccupies thoughts in social situations

Restraint in relationships due to fear of shame

Inhibited in new relationships

Needs to be sure of being liked before engaging socially

Gets around occupational activities with need for interpersonal contact*

Embarrassment prevents new activity or taking risks

Self viewed as unappealing or inferior

Potential Examples: Michael Jackson (in addition to body dysmorphia), Megan Fox, Dave Chapelle

  

Quick Fact: Research suggested the following personality styles had the most successful life styles: Schizoid (Bill Gates), Narcissistic (Donals Trump), and Obsessive-Compulsive (Steve Jobs) [Ulrich, 1993].

 

…Maybe because they stay away from other people?

 

 

Bold* = Optimal Criterion (most validated by research) [Sperry, 2003]

[Suggested Citation: Modern Psychologist. (2015). Personality Disorders 101. [Web Blog]. Retrieved from https://www.modernpsychologist.com/personality-disorders-101/]

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