What are Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are characterized by very rigid and unhealthy patterns of thinking, of functioning, or of behaving. People with personality disorders often have difficulty relating to others and therefore they typically have problems in relationships, in social activities, at work, or at school. In some cases, people with personality disorders are not aware they have one because their way of thinking seems normal to them and they may blame other people for the issues they experience. Personality disorders typically manifest early in life, around the teenage years, and some become less distinct as people get older.


There are 3 main clusters of personality disorders:

Cluster A – Describes disorders in which people exhibit odd, eccentric thinking or behaving. Examples of these are paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.

Cluster B – Describes disorders in which the person exhibits overly emotional, dramatic, or unpredictable thinking and behaving. These include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.

Cluster C – Describes disorders in which a person exhibits anxious, fearful thinking or behaving. Disorders in this category include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.