10 Types of Personality Disorders Explained

Medically Reviewed By Karin Gepp, PsyD

Personality disorders involve persistent patterns of thinking, behaviors, and emotions that are dysfunctional or extreme. There are many different types of personality disorders. Symptoms of these disorders can interfere with relationships and daily activities. Each type of personality disorder is categorized into a cluster, as follows:

  • Cluster A: Someone with a cluster A disorder has difficulty relating to other people. They may appear odd or eccentric to others.
  • Cluster B: Difficulty controlling emotions is a feature of the disorders in this category. Someone with a cluster B disorder may appear unpredictable or impulsive.
  • Cluster C: Someone with a cluster C disorder experiences anxious and fearful thoughts or behaviors.

Keep reading to learn more about these 10 types of personality disorders.

1. Paranoid personality disorder

One yellow wooden peg in a row of natural wooden pegs
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A person with paranoid personality disorder (PPD) shows a persistent pattern of unwarranted distrust and suspicion of others. This includes viewing the behaviors of others as malicious.

Common symptoms of PPD include:

  • inaccurately believing that others are out to harm, deceive, or exploit one
  • consistently doubting the loyalty and motives of people close to one
  • refusing to trust others for fear that they may use one’s vulnerabilities against them
  • interpreting benign interactions as hostile or threatening
  • holding grudges
  • reacting with anger to perceived attacks, and attacking back
  • suspecting that one’s spouse or partner is being unfaithful

For a diagnosis of PPD, a person must experience at least four of the symptoms. In addition, symptoms must have begun by early adulthood.

Learn more about paranoid personality disorder and its treatments.

2. Schizoid personality disorder

Someone with schizoid personality disorder may show detachment from and a general disinterest in personal relationships. They may also have a limited range of emotions when it comes to interacting with others.

Symptoms of schizoid personality disorder include:

  • neither wanting nor enjoying close relationships
  • choosing solitary activities
  • having little or no interest in sexual experiences
  • taking pleasure in only a few activities
  • lacking close friends and confidants
  • appearing indifferent to praise or criticism
  • showing coldness, detachment, or flattened affectivity

For a diagnosis of schizoid personality disorder, a person must experience at least four Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of the symptoms. The symptoms must have begun in early adulthood.

Learn more about schizoid personality disorder and its treatments.

3. Schizotypal personality disorder

Schizotypal personality disorder involves a person’s intense discomfort with and inability to form close relationships. Someone with schizotypal personality disorder may appear to have distorted cognition and perception. They may exhibit eccentric behaviors.

For a diagnosis of schizotypal personality disorder, a person must exhibit a pattern of at least five symptoms. The symptoms must have begun in early adulthood. These symptoms include:

  • severe discomfort with close relationships
  • reduced ability to have and maintain close relationships
  • cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentric behaviors
  • belief that everyday occurrences have special or specific meaning to oneself
  • odd beliefs or magical thinking, such as believing in clairvoyance, telepathy, and a sixth sense
  • perceptional experiences that are unusual, such as hearing voices
  • suspicious or paranoid thoughts
  • incongruous or limited affect
  • eccentric or peculiar behavior or appearance
  • a lack of close friends or confidants
  • excessive social anxiety that is directly related to paranoid thoughts

Learn more about schizotypal personality disorder and its treatments.

4. Antisocial personality disorder

A person with antisocial personality disorder shows a complete disregard for the consequences of their actions or for the rights of others. They may commit acts of criminal behavior, exploitation, or recklessness without any remorse. They engage in these behaviors purely for personal profit and gain.

A person must be older than 18 years Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source for a diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder. In addition, their conduct behaviors must have begun before the age of 15. The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include:

  • disregard for the law, consistently committing acts that are grounds for arrest
  • deceitfulness, such as conning others, using aliases, and repeatedly lying for their own gain
  • impulsive behavior and failure to plan
  • irritability and aggressiveness, often leading to fights or assaults
  • reckless disregard for the safety of others or oneself
  • consistent irresponsibility and failure to sustain work or honor monetary obligations
  • lack of remorse
  • indifference to or rationalization of behavior that has hurt or mistreated others

Learn more about antisocial personality disorder and its treatments.

5. Histrionic personality disorder

Someone with histrionic personality disorder typically exhibits extreme emotional and attention-seeking behaviors. If they are not the center of attention, they feel underappreciated or disregarded entirely. They may be overly seductive, inappropriately sexual, and enchanting to those around them.

People with histrionic personality disorder often use repression and dissociation as defense mechanisms. A diagnosis of histrionic personality disorder requires five or more Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of the following symptoms:

  • feeling uncomfortable when one is not the center of attention
  • behaving in an extremely seductive or proactive manner
  • using appearance to draw attention to oneself
  • using impressionistic or vague speech
  • experiencing dramatic or exaggerated emotions
  • being easily influenced by others
  • considering relationships more intimate than they actually are

Learn more about histrionic personality disorder and its treatments.

6. Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder involves the inability to control emotions. Someone with this disorder finds it difficult to return to a typical baseline of emotions after a trigger. This lack of control can also lead to:

  • impulsive behavior
  • low self-image
  • stormy relationships
  • intense emotional responses
  • dangerous behaviors, like self-harm and cutting

The symptoms of borderline personality disorder may vary. However, they typically include:

  • mood swings
  • frantic attempts to avoid real or perceived abandonment from family and friends
  • unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization and devaluation
  • impulsive behaviors that may be dangerous
  • self-harm or cutting
  • periods of severe depression or anxiety
  • chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness
  • inappropriate extreme and uncontrolled anger
  • feelings of dissociation

Learn more about borderline personality disorder and its treatments.

7. Narcissistic personality disorder

Someone with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) exhibits patterns of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy. They may have difficulty regulating their self-esteem, needing constant praise and attention. They may also devalue those around them in order to maintain a sense of superiority.

A person must exhibit at least five of the following symptoms for an NPD diagnosis:

  • a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, and beauty
  • belief that one is special and understood only by specific people or institutions
  • need for excessive admiration
  • a sense of entitlement
  • a pattern of exploiting or taking advantage of others
  • lack of empathy
  • envy of others and belief that others are envious of oneself
  • arrogant behaviors or attitudes

Learn more about narcissistic personality disorder and its treatments.

8. Avoidant personality disorder

Someone with avoidant personality disorder often has an extreme sense of inadequacy. This causes them to avoid social situations and interactions out of the fear of rejection.

For an avoidant personality disorder diagnosis, a person must meet at least four of the following criteria:

  • avoidance of work-related activities out of fear of rejection or disapproval
  • unwillingness to get involved with people unless one knows for sure they will be liked
  • reservation in relationships out of fear of being ridiculed or humiliated
  • preoccupation with rejection or criticism
  • feeling of inadequacy, causing inhibitions in new situations
  • belief that one is socially incompetent, unappealing, or inferior
  • reluctance to take part in new activities out of fear of embarrassment

Learn more about avoidant personality disorder and its treatments.

9. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) have an intense need to be in control. They desire orderliness and perfection in every aspect of their life. There is typically little room for flexibility in this desire.

For an OCPD diagnosis, a person must exhibit at least four Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source of the following symptoms:

  • preoccupation with details, rules, schedules, or lists
  • perfectionism to the extent that it interferes with projects
  • excessive devotion to work and productivity, resulting in neglect of friends and leisure
  • excessive conscientiousness and inflexible regard for values and moral issues
  • unwillingness to throw out objects that are worn out or worthless
  • reluctance to delegate or work with others unless they do things exactly one’s own way
  • strong reluctance to spend money on oneself or others, believing that money should be saved for future disasters
  • inflexibility and stubbornness

More research is needed on the effectiveness of treatments for OCPD. However, therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy have shown some success. Also, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may help manage some of the symptoms.

10. Dependent personality disorder

Dependent personality disorder involves an excessive need to be taken care of. This often leads to a person losing their sense of autonomy. Their need is so great that they become totally submissive and excessively dependent on someone else.

For a diagnosis of dependent personality disorder, a person must exhibit at least five of the following symptoms:

  • difficulty making daily decisions without input and reassurance from others
  • reliance on someone else to be responsible for important aspects of one’s life
  • difficulty expressing disagreement with others
  • difficulty beginning projects on one’s own from a lack of confidence in their judgment and ability
  • willingness to go to extreme lengths to get support from others
  • feeling of helplessness when alone
  • urgent need to begin a new relationship when one ends
  • preoccupation with the fear of being left to take care of oneself

Learn more about dependent personality disorder and its treatments.

Summary

Personality disorders can cause emotional and relationship issues that affect one’s daily life.

Many personality disorders co-occur with other mental health conditions. It is necessary to treat the underlying and co-occurring conditions in order to successfully treat the personality disorder.

Personality disorders can be difficult to treat. If you are experiencing signs of a personality disorder, contact a mental health professional. They will work with you to find the most effective treatment.

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  1. Borderline personality disorder. (2017). https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder
  2. Fariba, K. A., et al. (2022). Schizoid personality disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559234/
  3. Fisher, K. A., et al. (2022). Antisocial personality disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK546673/
  4. French, J. H., et al. (2021). Histrionic personality disorder. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK542325/
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  7. Rowland, T. A., et al. (2017). Living with obsessional personality. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5709690/
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Medical Reviewer: Karin Gepp, PsyD
Last Review Date: 2022 Aug 5
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