Personality disorder

From ArticleWorld

Personality disorders are patterns of thought and behaviour that are inflexible and long lasting which are of such rigidity that they cause serious problems for the individual involved, in their social relationships and in their workplace. They are usually seen to be deviant from the cultural norm and to be diagnosed as a personality disorder, must have begun in adolescence or early adulthood. Any person under the age of 18 who otherwise fits the criteria for personality disorder cannot be labeled as such.

DSM classification

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has listed ten disorders in three categories -

  • Cluster A includes those disorders which are odd or eccentric and includes the Paranoid, Schizoid and Schizotypal personality disorders.
  • Cluster B includes the dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders which are the Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic and Narcissistic personality disorders.
  • Cluster C disorders are those that are anxious or fearful which are the Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorders.

There are others that do not fit into the three clusters and so are put into the Personality Disorder NOS category, the NOS standing for Not Otherwise Specified.


A number of specifications should be met before satisfying the APA that the diagnosis of personality disorder is an appropriate one. The disorder must be an enduring one that is doesn't change nor adapt. It must be obvious across a wide range of situations and lead to significant distress in social, personal or work areas. Other mental disorders need to ruled out as possible causes of the behaviour as does the possibility of substance abuse or a general medical condition.

Finally, the DSM stipulates that the behaviour or thought pattern be manifested in two or more areas of cognition, affectivity, interpersonal functioning and impulse control.