Personality disorders refer to a class of disorders characterized by
rigid, chronic, and self-defeating patterns of feeling, thinking, and
behaving. These patterns often cause serious personal and interpersonal
Personality disorders are described by the American Psychiatric
Association as demonstrating an "enduring pattern of inner experience and
behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the
individual that exhibits it." They are inflexible and pervasive across
varied situations, due primarily to the fact that such behaviors are
"ego-syntonic" (i.e., patterns that are consistent with the identity of
the individual). Therefore, such patterns are perceived as appropriate
by the individual but inappropriate by those around him/her.
The beginning of these dysfunctional behavioral patterns can typically
be traced back to early childhood experiences. Cognition (thoughts such as
expectations, attitudes, and attributions), affect (the range and intensity
of emotional responses), interpersonal functioning (ability to relate to
others and the environment), and impulse control (ability to modulate
emotions and emotional reactivity) are all adversely affected. Significant
impairments in social, occupational and/or other critical areas of functioning
In a diagnostic evaluation Personality Disorders are listed separately
(Axis II), to ensure that special consideration will be given to the possible
presence of a personality disorder that might be otherwise overlooked when
attention is focused on the usually more common and florid Axis I disorders.
There are three Personality Disorder groups. Each is distinguished by a
different set of dysfunctional psychological patterns.
Cluster A Personality Disorders include:
Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizoid
Personality Disorder, and Schizotypal Personality Disorder.
Cluster B Personality Disorders include:
Antisocial Personality Disorder, B
orderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic
Cluster C Personality Disorders include:
Avoidant Personality Disorder,
Dependent Personality Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder,
and Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.
Psychotherapy is the treatment of choice. This therapy, available at
Spectrum Behavioral Health, focuses on identifying, understanding, and modifying
problematic personality patterns.
American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
of Mental Disorders. 4th ed.. (text revision). (DSM-IV-TR).
Klausch, Tasja (2006). Articles about personality Disorders. Web4Health 2006.
Marshal, W. & Serin, R. (1997) Personality Disorders. In Sm. Turner M. &
Hersen R. (Eds.) Adult Psychopathology and Diagnosis.
New York: Wiley. 508-541
Millon, T (and R. D. Davis, contributor)-Disorders of Personality:DSM IV and
Beyond-2nd ed.-New York, John
Wiley and Sons, 1995 ISBN 0-471-01186-X
Fatal Flaws: Navigating Destructive Relationships With People With Disorders of
Personality and Character (Yudofsky,
S.C., M.D. ISBN 1-58562-214-1