13 Nov What Are Personality Disorders?

Posted at 4:48 pm in News by jlbworks

Unhealthy thought patterns tend to compound on each other. These persistent negative thoughts and associations might be signs of a personality disorder. Perhaps you find it difficult to relate to other people. Or maybe you find your perception of interactions or events don’t correlate with the way others view the same event. These could be signs of a personality disorder.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a personality disorder is defined as “a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving.” These mental illnesses are detrimental when left untreated. They can make life and relationships incredibly difficult. 

Are you looking for a psychologist for a personality disorder in Nashville, TN? Visit Dr. Phil Chanin today.

Types of Personality Disorders

Symptoms of personality disorders vary greatly. However, many of them share similar qualities. Personality disorders are classified into three overarching categories.

1. Cluster A

These personality disorders are related to eccentric or odd thinking and behavior. There are three subsets within this cluster.

Paranoid Personality Disorder: 

  • Introverted
  • Withdrawn
  • Solitary
  • Emotionally cold
  • Distant

Schizoid Personality Disorder: 

  • Distrustful
  • Unforgiving
  • Interprets actions of others as threatening
  • Prone to angry outbursts

Schizotypal Personality Disorder: 

  • Anxious in social situations
  • Strange beliefs and thoughts
  • Peculiar manners of speaking and dressing
  • Difficulties forming relationships
  • Magical thinking

2. Cluster B

These personality disorders are related to overly emotional, unpredictable, and dramatic behaviors.

Antisocial Personality Disorder:

  • Impulsive
  • Irresponsible
  • Belligerent
  • Aggressive
  • Possibly violent

Borderline Personality Disorder:

  • Abrupt mood changes
  • Self-destructive/Suicidal behavior
  • Prone to toxic relationships
  • Unstable self-image
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Intense anger

Histrionic Personality Disorder:

  • Attention-seeking
  • Dramatic and emphatic speech
  • Strong opinions despite lack of evidence
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Emotionally/sexually provocative

Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

  • Exaggerated self-importance
  • Oversensitive to failure
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Exploitative of relationships

3. Cluster C

These personality disorders are related to anxious and fearful behaviors.

Avoidant Personality Disorder:

  • Sensitive to rejection
  • Social discomfort
  • Timid
  • Avoidance of social activities

Dependent Personality Disorder:

  • Submissive
  • Easily hurt by criticism
  • Require excessive assurance
  • Fear of rejection
  • Low self-confidence

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder:

  • Strive for perfection
  • Unsatisfied with achievements
  • Unadaptable to changes
  • Feels helpless in unpredictable situations


Your personality is unique. It is defined by your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. It is how you view the world around you, and how you view yourself. Our personalities are shaped largely by our genes and our experiences. Your genes are physical and emotional traits which have been passed down to you through your biological parents. Our experiences are the interactions and environment we encountered while growing up.

Personality disorders are thought to be a result of a genetic predisposition to these symptoms, and environmental triggers that set the individual down the path toward a disorder.

The causes of personality disorders aren’t known. However, there are some factors that are theorized to increase the chance of developing one. These factors occur during childhood, as that’s when most of our personality traits are beginning to develop. An abusive or generally unstable home life during this period can increase the likelihood of developing a personality disorder. So can a family history of personality disorders.


Diagnosing a personality disorder can be difficult because it must satisfy several criteria. These disorders are usually observable in the teenage years. The disorder will continue into adulthood but become less obvious as time goes on. This does not mean the disorder becomes less of an issue. In fact, a disorder that isn’t addressed by a professional can grow much worse over time. Personality disorders have largely negative effects on the lives of the sufferer as well as those around them. 

Many people will show various traits from these disorders over time. This is why you shouldn’t try to diagnose a disorder in yourself or others. Only a mental health professional can make that diagnosis using the DSM-5.

The mental health professional will speak with the individual to learn their thoughts on life, behavior, and feelings. They may speak with the individual’s family and friends to get a full view of their actions and behaviors.

What Can Be Done?

A mental health professional will assess each case individually. People respond to treatments differently, so it is up to the mental health professional to find which method of treatment will work best.

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, allows the patient to speak honestly about their thoughts and emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy guides the patient to find ways of changing their behavior by examining their own thoughts and actions. Dialectical behavioral therapy aims to make positive changes by teaching the patient new skills.

There is no direct medication to cure personality disorders. However, specific symptoms such as anxiety or depression can be targeted and alleviated through medication.

Find a Professional

Dr. Phil Chanin is a psychologist for personality disorders in Nashville, TN. Contact him today to see how he can improve your quality of life.