Types of Disorders

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Personality disorders are long standing patterns of maladaptive behavior. 4 The personality disorders are when a person uses improper and immature ways to deal with problems or situations. People with this type of disorder do not feel like they are doing anything wrong and therefore do not want to change thier behavior, like people with anxiety disorders. There are 11 major personality disorders defined by the DSM-III. These include: Antisocial Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder, and Schizotypal Personality Disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder
This disorder is characterized by the careless disregard for the rights of others. It can be recognized by several symptoms. Someone with an antisocial personality is usually deceitful and is remorseless. Other symptoms include the reckless disregard for saftey, both for him/herself and others; excessive irritability and aggressiveness coupled with impulsiveness. Most antisocial personalities also fail to conform to social norms.

Avoidant Personality Disorder
Individuals with this disorder feel inadequate, have great sensitivity to what others think and say about them, and are socially impotent. This disorder is characterized by someone who is terribly reluctant to take personal risks or try new things because they may be embarrassed. Avoidant personalities don't like to get involved in intimate relationships, constantly think about being criticized or rejected, and see themselves as socially inept and inferior.

Borderline Personality Disorder
Sufferers of this disorder have highly unstable interpersonal relationships. The cause of this instability is closely related to the person's self image and also thier early social interactions. Symptoms include an unstable self image, rapid mood changes and a need to avoid feelings of abandonment, whether real or imagined. The person also may have difficulty controlling thier anger and have recurring feelings of emptiness. Suicide attempts and self-mutilation are also among the recognized symptoms.

Dependent Personality Disorder
This disorder is characterized by a need to be taken care of and a fear of being abandoned. Sufferers of it are very clingy and usually have the following symptoms: helpless when alone because of exaggerated sense of not being able to care for themselves, when one close relationship ends the person immediately tries to find another, problems initiating projects or ideas because of a lack of self-esteem, difficulty disagreeing with others, needs other to take responsibility for him/her, and cannot make decisions without advice from others.

Histrionic Personality Disorder
People with this disorder excessively seek emotion and attention for themselves. This disorder can be recognized by these symptoms: the person is uncomfortable when he/she is not the center of attention, easily suggestible, uses physical appearance to draw attention, emotions are rapidly changing and shallow, speech very impressionistic and lacks detail, thinks that relationships are more intimate than they really are, exaggerated expression of emotion, and interaction with others is usually characterized by inappropriate sexual behavior.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Individuals who are excessively grandiose, have a need for admiration, and lack empathy are usually considered to be a narcissistic personality. They can only truly be shown to have the disorder if the person has five of the following symptoms: extreme arrogance and haughtiness, envious of others or believes that they are envious of him, doesn't recognize the feelings of others, exploits other persons for his/her own aims, requires admiration, has fantasies of success and power, has a sense of entitlement and believes that he/she is special.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
An obsessive-compulsive personality has a preoccupation with orderliness, perfection, as well as mental and interpersonal control. However this usually comes at the cost of flexibility, efficiency, and openness. Four of the following are used to determine if someone has this disorder: miserly attitude (e.g. wants to save money for a future disaster), very rigid and stubborn, doesn't like to delegate unless the person will do it exactly the way the sufferer would, pack rat (unable to discard things), preoccupied with details, perfectionism interferes with ability to finish tasks, excessively devoted to work, and inflexible in matters of morality, ethics, or values.

Paranoid Personality Disorder
Often misunderstood as malevolent because paranoid personality disorder sufferers are distrustful and suspicious of others. Only four of the following are needed to indicate paranoid personality disorder: individual suspects, with no cause, that others are out to get him; is reluctant to confide in others; is suspicious, without cause, that significant other is being unfaithful; doesn't forgive grudges; has doubts about the loyalty of friends and relations; reads hidden threatening messages into benign statements or situations.

Schizoid Personality Disorder
A person who has a detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression in interpersonal situations is considered a schizoid personality. This can be verified by four out of seven symptoms. These symptoms are: a loner, always chooses solitary activities; doesn't want or enjoy any close relationships, including family; has very little interest in having sexual experiences with another person; has no close friends except for immediate family; demonstrates emotional coldness and detachment; takes enjoyment in very few activities; and appears indifferent to what others think of him/her.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by discomfort with and a reduced capacity for close relationships, cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior. There are nine symptoms, but only five are needed to confirm that someone is schizotypal. These symptoms are: the person has ideas of reference, has odd beliefs or thinking that doesn't agree with subcultural norms (e.g. belief in clairvoyance), odd speech patterns, strange perceptual experiences, a lack of close friends other than immediate family, extreme social anxiety, strange behavior or appearance, suspicious or paranoid ideas, and inappropriate or constricted affect.

Article 1999 John Garvey
HTML 1999 Katrina Spoor