Personality disorders are long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that cause serious problems with relationships and work. People with personality disorders have difficulty dealing with everyday stresses and problems. They often have stormy relationships with other people. The exact cause of personality disorders is unknown. However, genes and childhood experiences may play a role.
Symptoms vary widely depending on the specific type of personality disorder. Treatment usually includes talk therapy and sometimes medicine.
Millon’s brief description of personality disorders:
- Paranoid: Guarded, defensive, distrustful and suspiciousness. Hyper vigilant to the motives of others to undermine or do harm. Always seeking confirmatory evidence of hidden schemes. Feels righteous, but persecuted.
- Schizoid: Apathetic, indifferent, remote, solitary. Neither desires nor need human attachments. Minimal awareness of feelings of self or others. Few drives or ambitions, if any.
- Schizotypal: Eccentric, self-estranged, bizarre, absent. Exhibits peculiar mannerisms and behaviors. Thinks can read thoughts of others. Preoccupied with odd daydreams and beliefs. Blurs line between reality and fantasy.
- Antisocial: Impulsive, irresponsible, deviant, unruly. Acts without due consideration. Meets social obligations only when self-serving. Disrespects societal customs, rules, and standards. Sees self as free and independent.
- Borderline: Unpredictable, manipulative, unstable. Frantically fears abandonment and isolation. Experiences rapidly fluctuating moods. Shifts rapidly between loving and hating. Sees self and others alternatively as all-good and all-bad.
- Histrionic: Dramatic, seductive, shallow, stimulus-seeking, vain. Overreacts to minor events. Exhibitionistic as a means of securing attention and favors. Sees self as attractive and charming.
- Narcissistic: Egotistical, arrogant, grandiose, insouciant. Preoccupied with fantasies of success, beauty, or achievement. Sees self as admirable and superior, and therefore entitled to special treatment.
- Avoidant: Hesitant, self-conscious, embarrassed, anxious. Tense in social situations due to fear of rejection. Plagued by constant performance anxiety. Sees self as inept, inferior, or unappealing. Feels alone and empty.
- Dependent: Helpless, incompetent, submissive, immature. Withdraws from adult responsibilities. Sees self as weak or fragile. Seeks constant reassurance from stronger figures.
- Obsessive–compulsive: Restrained, conscientious, respectful, rigid. Maintains a rule-bound lifestyle. Adheres closely to social conventions. Sees the world in terms of regulations and hierarchies. Sees self as devoted, reliable, efficient, and productive.
- Depressive: Somber, discouraged, pessimistic, brooding, fatalistic. Presents self as vulnerable and abandoned. Feels valueless, guilty, and impotent. Judges self as worthy only of criticism and contempt.
- Passive–aggressive (Negativistic): Resentful, contrary, skeptical, discontented. Resist fulfilling others’ expectations. Deliberately inefficient. Vents anger indirectly by undermining others’ goals. Alternately moody and irritable, then sullen and withdrawn.
- Sadistic: Explosively hostile, abrasive, cruel, dogmatic. Liable to sudden outbursts of rage. Feels self satisfied through dominating, intimidating and humiliating others. Is opinionated and close minded.
- Self-defeating (Masochistic): Deferential, pleasure-phobic, servile, blameful, self-effacing. Encourages others to take advantage. Deliberately defeats own achievements. Seeks condemning or mistreating partners.