Personality Disorders

According to Mental Health America, personality and personalities disorders can be defined in the following ways:

“What is “Personality?”
Personality refers to a distinctive set of traits, behavior styles, and patterns that make up our character or individuality. How we perceive the world, our attitudes, thoughts, and feelings are all part of our personality. People with healthy personalities are able to cope with normal stresses and have no trouble forming relationships with family, friends, and co-workers. 

What is a Personality Disorder?
Those who struggle with a personality disorder have great difficulty dealing with other people. They tend to be inflexible, rigid, and unable to respond to the changes and demands of life. Although they feel that their behavior patterns are “normal” or “right,” people with personality disorders tend to have a narrow view of the world and find it difficult to participate in social activities. 

Recognizing a Personality Disorder
A personality disorder must fulfill several criteria. A deeply ingrained, inflexible pattern of relating, perceiving, and thinking serious enough to cause distress or impaired functioning is a personality disorder. Personality disorders are usually recognizable by adolescence or earlier, continue throughout adulthood, and become less obvious throughout middle age.

What Causes a Personality Disorder?
Some experts believe that events occurring in early childhood exert a powerful influence upon behavior later in life. Others indicate that people are genetically predisposed to personality disorders. In some cases, however, environmental facts may cause a person who is already genetically vulnerable to develop a personality disorder. 

Types of Personality Disorders
There are many formally identified personality disorders, each with their own set of behaviors and symptoms. Many of these fall into three different categories or clusters:

  • Cluster A: Odd or eccentric behavior
  • Cluster B: Dramatic, emotional or erratic behavior
  • Cluster C: Anxious fearful behavior”

More on Personality Disorders from MHA

General Information on Personality Disorders

Introduction to Personality Disorders
This link goes to a series of articles that will help readers understand what personality disorders are, how they are defined, and how they differ from healthy functioning.  It provides descriptions of the (1) distorted thinking patterns, (2) problematic emotional responses, (3) impulse control problems, and (4) interpersonal difficulties that come together to create personality disorders. []

Cluster A: Personality disorders defined by odd or eccentric behavior

Information on Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal Personality Disorders
This link gives further information on the personality disorders in Cluster A. []

Cluster B: Personality disorders defined by dramatic, emotional, or erratic behavior

Information on Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, and Antisocial Personality Disorders
This link gives further information on the personality disorders in Cluster B. []

Additional Information on Borderline Personality Disorder

Information on Borderline Personality Disorder
This site provides a brief overview of the symptoms, treatments, and research findings related to borderline personality disorder. [National Institute of Mental Health]

Resources for Families
This site contains a variety of resources for families of those struggling with BPD, including video links to presentations and updated research. [National Education Alliance BPD]

Helping Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder
This site provides information for those helping someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. [] 

Additional Information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: For Spotting and Coping with a Narcissist  []

Enough About You, Let’s Talk About Me: How to Recognize and Manage the Narcissists in Your
Author: Dr. Les Carter
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
This 195-page book provides sound advice for dealing with people who are so highly self-absorbed they are toxic.


Cluster C: Personality disorders defined by anxious and fearful behavior

Information on Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders
This link gives further information on the personality disorders in Cluster C. []