Personality Disorders: What are they?

By: Elyse Ganss

According to the Mayo Clinic, “a personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving.” Those who have personality disorders struggle when interacting and trying to get along with others and tend to think their erratic thoughts are normal. Personality disorders can be grouped into three different clusters.

Cluster A is characterized by odd/suspicious thinking or behavior. Examples of cluster A personality disorders are paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. Cluster B includes emotional/impulsive behavior, dramatic tendencies, and unpredictable thinking. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Finally, cluster C is characterized by anxious thinking and behavior. Avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are examples of cluster C personality disorders.

Personality disorders occur through an interaction of genetic and environmental influences. Risk factors for personality disorders include a family history of mental illness, an unstable or abusive childhood, and variations in brain chemistry. Typically, personality disorders emerge in teenage or emerging adulthood years. Through the combination of therapy and medication, personality disorders can be managed.

If you or someone you know needs support for a personality disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit .


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