Personality refers to a distinctive set of attributes including behavior, attitudes, thoughts, and feelings that makes one person distinct from another. Each one's personality is unique and is influenced by the world around him. There are, in this world, a few people who tend to be inflexible, unsocial, and are unable to cope up with the changes and demands of life. Their personality is markedly different from others. Such individuals are likely to suffer from a personality disorder.
A personality disorder is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as "an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that differs noticeably from the expectations of the individual's culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment." Personality disorders are categorized mainly into cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C behavior.
Cluster A mainly consists of people with schizoid, schizotypal, and paranoid personality disorders. People with schizoid personality are introverted and socially withdrawn. They love to be in their own world and remain aloof in a crowd. They are also very fearful of intimacy with others. People with a schizotypal personality are not only socially and emotionally detached but have a strange manner of perceiving, thinking, and communicating things.
Many individuals with this disorder claim that they can see the future through their "magical thinking." People with a paranoid personality are very suspicious of others' actions. They have a feeling of distrust and usually suspect that others may harm them.
Cluster B essentially includes antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic personalities. People with antisocial personality disorder, particularly act in a manner that is socially not acceptable. These individuals are impulsive, reckless, aggressive, heartless, and sometimes even violent. They are very prone to drug or alcohol abuse.
People with borderline personality disorder have extreme mood swings, disturbed interpersonal relationships, and fluctuating self-images. Females are more likely to suffer from this disorder and they often perceive a situation or thing as "all good" or "all bad" and never neutral. People with narcissistic personality are too sensitive to failure, defeat, or criticism. They normally have a superiority complex. Others often view them as self-centered, arrogant, or selfish.
Cluster C chiefly includes avoidant, dependent, or obsessive-compulsive personality disorders. People with avoidant disorder lack self confidence due to which they are reluctant to mix with others unless they are sure of being liked. Very few of them have close relationships with people other than their family members. People with dependent personality disorder rely on others to make decisions for them. They feel helpless if they are alone.
This disorder usually begins in adolescence and is diagnosed more commonly in females than in males. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder strive for extreme perfection and are never satisfied with their achievements. There are consistent, organized, and methodical, but their rigidity often makes them incompetent to adapting to changes in life.
Quite a few treatment options are now available for these disorders. They include psychotherapy, medication, and hospitalization. Getting treated appropriately early may help to improve the quality of life of people suffering from these disorders.
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