10 Most Common Personality Disorder Types You Will Meet

10 Most Common Personality Disorder Types You Will Meet

Authored by Hugh Soames

Edited by Alexander Bentley

Reviewed by Philippa Gold

Personality Disorder Types


Personality disorders are mental health disorders that affect how you think, behave, feel and relate with other people. While some personality disorders mildly affect how you function, some have severe effects, ultimately causing problems in your relationships, work, and academics. As such, they not only affect you but also those you’re close to.


Usually, these personality disorder types become apparent in your teenage years and continue into adulthood. However, some of them become less obvious as you enter middle age. While there are no definitive causes of personality disorders, there are some factors that increase your risk for these disorders.


Risks of Personality Disorders include:


  • The social and environmental situation
  • Childhood trauma/abuse
  • Genetics


Types of personality disorders


Generally, there are 10 types of personality disorders. They fall into 3 categories – cluster A (suspicious), cluster B (impulsive & emotional), and cluster C (anxious) personality disorders. Each cluster has personality disorders with similar symptoms and characteristics. It’s therefore not surprising that many people with a personality disorder have at least one other one.


Another thing to note is that if a patient doesn’t meet the full criteria of a specific type of personality disorder, they are usually diagnosed as personality disorder trait specified (PD-TS) or personality disorder not otherwise specified (PD-NOS).

1. Cluster A Personality Disorder Types


Also known as suspicious personality disorders, Cluster A disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking and erratic, paranoid behavior. Ultimately, such thinking and behavior affects how patients function in their daily lives and the stability of their relationships.


The 3  disorders that fall under this category include:


Paranoid personality disorder (PPD)


People with this disorder are plagued with an overwhelming feeling that something bad is going to happen to them and that others are out to get them. They live in constant fear and can be afraid of everyday situations. Ultimately, this disorder can make them wary of everyone around them. Other signs of paranoid personality disorder include:


  • Restlessness
  • Hostility
  • Stubbornness
  • Jealousy and controlling tendencies
  • Lack of self-awareness and the tendency to blame others
  • Resistance to people getting close to them
  • Difficulty in relaxing
  • High sensitivity to criticism
  • Misinterpreting situations and overreacting ie lashing out at innocent comments
  • Hesitancy when it comes to confiding in others because of a fear that they will use the information against you


Schizoid personality disorder (SPD)


This disorder is characterized by a lack of interest in forming or maintaining personal relationships. People with this disorder believe that close relationships will only be a hindrance to their day-to-day lives. As such, they seem cold and aloof. Signs of schizoid disorder include:


  • A preference to stay alone
  • Minimal emotional expression
  • Minimal pleasure from life’s daily activities
  • Little to no interest in sexual activity
  • Lack of motivation
  • Indifference to other people’s opinions of them
  • Inability to pick up on social cues
  • Disinterest in 2 -way conversations


Schizotypal personality disorder (SPD)


Someone with schizotypal personality disorder is usually viewed as unusual by others. This is because this disorder is linked with eccentric behavior and delusions. As such, people with this disorder are prone to talk and act in ways that don’t seem appropriate – this makes it hard for them to maintain close relationships.  Signs of schizotypal personality disorder include:


  • Increased anxiety around others
  • Believing you can influence others using your mind
  • Believing random events are sending you a hidden message
  • Responding to others inappropriately or suspiciously
  • Suspicion and paranoia
  • Odd dressing, thinking, behavior, beliefs, and speech
  • Loneliness and isolation
  • Social anxiety

2. Cluster B Personality Disorder Types


Also known as impulsive and emotional personality disorders, the disorders in this cluster are characterized by emotional, erratic, impulsive, and dramatic behavior/thinking.


Cluster B Personality Types include:


Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)


People with this disorder put themselves before others, focusing on their own needs and priorities. This makes them impulsive when it comes to satisfying their needs, making it hard for them to maintain healthy relationships. Signs of antisocial personality disorder include:


  • Lack of empathy
  • Aggressive and sometimes violent behavior
  • Lack of self-awareness or remorse
  • Disregard of others’ safety, needs, and feelings
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Participation in reckless acts that are illegal or dangerous, leading to regular problems with the law
  • Tendency to get bored quickly
  • Inability to maintain good grades or hold down a job
  • Regular violation of other people’s rights


Borderline personality disorder (BPD)


Also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), this is the most common personality disorder under the cluster B category. It is characterized by low self-image, difficulty regulating emotions, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships. Its signs include:


  • Mood swings
  • Intense fear of rejection and abandonment
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Dissociation from reality
  • Self-harm and suicidal behavior
  • Intense and unstable relationships
  • Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Participation in risky behavior like unsafe sex


Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)


Someone with this disorder lacks empathy and needs constant admiration/attention. Such people are usually cruel, manipulative, selfish, and condescending. Other signs of this disorder include:


  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • A belief that they are unique and deserve better than others
  • Fantasies about success and power
  • Arrogance
  • The expectation of constant admiration and praise


Histrionic personality disorder (HPD)


This disorder is characterized by a reliance on positive feedback to boost one’s self-esteem. As such, people with this disorder are usually attention seekers – they act erratically and dramatically to gain attention. Also they:


  • Change their mind to please others
  • Fear abandonment
  • Are overemotional
  • Are obsessed with status
  • Are moody
  • Appear fake
  • Are easily influenced
  • Have problems maintaining healthy boundaries

3. Cluster C Personality Disorder Types


These are personality disorders characterized by extreme anxiety. They include:


Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)


This disorder is characterized by an unhealthy preoccupation with perfectionism and control of surroundings. While similar to OCD, this disorder focuses more on personality than behavior. Signs of OCPD include:


  • Having extremely high standards for yourself and others
  • Feeling anxious when things don’t go your way
  • Preoccupation with what people think of your imperfections
  • Obsession with order, rules, and details
  • Stubbornness and rigidity


Dependent personality disorder


A person with dependent personality disorder tends to be very dependent on certain people and constantly seek attention and support. Ultimately, this could make the other person in the relationship overwhelmed. Signs of dependent personality disorder include:


  • Insecurity
  • Low self-esteem
  • Fear of abandonment
  • Stalking the other person
  • Manipulative
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Inability to function without the support of the other person
  • Paranoia when you’re not in contact with the other person


Avoidant personality disorder


Since people with this disorder experience a lot of anxiety when around certain people, objects, or places, they avoid them altogether. This usually affects their daily life and can lead to isolation and depression. Signs of this disorder include:


  • Fear of rejection and abandonment
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Social anxiety and antisocial behavior

Treatment of personality disorders


Since these disorders are life-long, treating them isn’t straightforward. It is particularly difficult because people with these disorders have traits that make them resist treatment. These traits include lack of self-awareness, paranoia, and distrust. However, with a comprehensive treatment approach, the negative impacts of the condition can be alleviated.


Some treatment options that have been proven to work include:


  • Medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antianxiety drugs
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT)
  • Interpersonal therapies (IPT)


Previous: Passive Aggressive Behavior

Next: Do I Have an Addictive Personality?

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