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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Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent Personality Disorder

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Dependent Personality Disorder is characterized by a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that could lead to clingy behavior and a fear of separation. These behaviors stem from a perception that the individual is unable to function properly on their own. People with dependent personality disorder have a difficult time making everyday decisions on their own and require an excessive amount of reassurance and advice from others. They often let others make major life decisions for them. The need of advice from others goes far beyond the appropriate amount for the individual’s age and situation at hand. Individuals with dependent personality disorder may go to extreme lengths to get the nurture they need and are preoccupied with worries of being left to take care of themselves.

Individuals suffering from dependent personality disorder do not trust their own decision making and often feel as though others are more competent. They have difficulty making decisions without reassurance from others, are extremely passive, have difficulty expressing disagreements with others, and avoid taking personal responsibility. They try and avoid being alone, feel helpless when a relationship ends, are easily hurt by disapproval from others, and are sometimes willing to tolerate mistreatment and abuse from others. Some possible risks associated with Dependent Personality Disorder are depression, addiction, and susceptibility to abuse by others.

The recommended treatment for dependent personality disorder is psychotherapy and medication if needed. Cognitive behavioral therapy is successful in altering the maladaptive thinking patterns and behaviors associated with this disorder, such as the belief that one is unable to make decisions on their own.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from Dependent Personality Disorder, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit

Dependent Personality Disorder. (2017, April 19). Retrieved January 30, 2018, from

Histrionic Personality Disorder

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by constant attention-seeking behaviors, a tendency to describe situations in an emotional manner, and discomfort when not the center of attention. Someone with this disorder may appear to be self-centered, flirtatious in inappropriate situations, and overly dramatic. Individuals with histrionic personality disorder may use their appearance to draw attention and their over the top emotions seem shallow and frequently shifting.

For a diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder to be given, five or more of the following symptoms must be present:

  • Self-centeredness, uncomfortable when not the center of attention
  • Constantly seeking reassurance or approval
  • Inappropriately seductive appearance or behavior
  • Rapidly shifting emotional states that appear shallow to others
  • Overly concerned with physical appearance, and using physical appearance to draw attention to self
  • Opinions are easily influenced by other people, but difficult to back up with details
  • Excessive dramatics with exaggerated displays of emotion
  • Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are
  • Is highly suggestible

The cause for this disorder is unknown, but research suggests that early childhood experiences and genetics are involved. The recommended treatment for this disorder is psychotherapy.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from histrionic personality disorder, licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. 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, visit

Histrionic Personality Disorder. (2017, April 19). Retrieved February 06, 2018, from

Borderline Personality Disorder

By Jennifer Guzman


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a common disorder categorized under “mood disorders” in the DSM. Although it is common, many individuals who have it are often misdiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, as they share a few commonalities and may be easily confused. Very frequently, this may be the case, as studies have shown that a plethora of individuals who were diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder were previously diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder until they were properly diagnosed (Ruggero, Zimmerman, Chelminski, & Young, 2010). However, a key distinguisher between the two is that with Borderline Personality Disorder, mood shifts occur as a result of a situation, whereas mood shifts in a person with Bipolar Disorder may occur sporadically.

A few key symptoms for Borderline Personality Disorder are impulsive behavior, feeling as though you are unsure of your identity, frequent mood shifts, feeling bouts of extreme idealization or repulsion towards a person, place, or thing, extreme fear of abandonment, or difficulty/apprehension towards trusting in others.

Treatment procedures for Borderline Personality Disorder usually entail Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), which focuses on practicing mindfulness and the rewiring of harmful behaviors. Medication is provided as needed and varies from person to person. If you experience any of the above symptoms, please visit our psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioner, or psychotherapists. If you are in a crisis, please call 1-800-273-8255. For therapy, you can give Arista Counseling a call at (201) 368-3700, for our Paramus location, or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment.

Ruggero, C.J., Zimmerman, M., Chelminski, I., Young, D. (2010). Borderline Personality Disorder and the Misdiagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research. 44(6), 405-408.