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10 Types of Personality Disorders: Signs, Symptoms, and Coping Skills For Young Adults

Our personalities are made up of a complex combination of unique traits. These traits don’t only affect how we relate to and understand the world around us, but also how we see ourselves.

In this blog, we will discuss the different types of personality disorders and how they affect individuals. In addition to their symptoms, we will provide treatment options and coping skills for individuals who are struggling.

Different Types of Personality Disorders

Personality traits allow us to be flexible and adapt to changing environments as we grow up. However, an issue arises when individuals have less adaptive traits. Without the flexibility, they may fall into practicing unhealthy coping mechanisms.

Personality disorders are mental health conditions that are long-term patterns of behavior and inner experiences that differ significantly from what is culturally expected.

It’s important to note that when someone is diagnosed with a personality disorder, it does not mean that the disorder is who they are. Like any mental health condition, these disorders can be treated and do not define the individual.

Usually beginning in late adolescence or early adulthood, these disorders will affect at least two of the following areas:

  • The way of thinking about oneself and others.
  • The way of responding emotionally.
  • The way of relating to other people.
  • The way of controlling one’s behavior. 

For someone to be diagnosed with a personality disorder, their thinking, feeling, and behaving must deviate from what is expected, cause distress or problems functioning, and last over time.

Signs & Symptoms of Personality Disorders

Being aware of the signs of personality disorders can help individuals identify if they should seek professional help.

Since the symptoms of personality disorders overlap, they are grouped into what is known as a cluster personality disorder. Remember, disorders in the same cluster may have overlapping symptoms, but there are still key differences between each type.

Below, we’ve broken down the 10 types of personality disorders into their respective cluster as well as listed their symptoms.

Cluster A

The first group, cluster A, includes the disorder that shows symptoms of unusual and odd thoughts and behaviors.

Paranoid personality disorder

Just as the name says, someone with paranoid personality disorder typically has extreme fear and distrust of others, and may even believe people are trying to harm them.

Other signs of paranoid personality disorder include:

  • Suspicious of others and the reasons behind their actions.
  • Believes that others are trying to harm with no valid reason to feel this way.
  • Doubts the loyalty of others and lacks trust.
  • Hesitates to confide in others for fear that people will use information against them.
  • Takes innocent remarks or situations as personal insults or attacks even when they are not threatening.
  • Can become angry or hostile when reacting to what they believe to be an insult.
  • Has a habit of holding grudges.
  • Suspects that a spouse or partner is unfaithful with no valid reason to feel this way.

Schizoid personality disorder

Someone who has schizoid personality disorder prefers to be alone and is not interested in having relationships with others.

Other signs of schizoid personality disorder include:

  • Appears to be cold or not interested in others.
  • Almost always chooses to be alone.
  • Is limited in how emotions are expressed.
  • Cannot take pleasure in most activities.
  • Cannot pick up typical social cues.
  • Has little to no interest in having sex with another person.

Schizotypal personality disorder

Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder often have “odd” or eccentric behaviors, and experience social problems and delusional beliefs. They also tend to feel uncomfortable having close relationships and are paranoid or have a general distrust of others.

Other signs of schizotypal personality disorder include:

  • Bodily illusions or strange perceptual experiences.
  • Being suspicious or paranoid.
  • Feels or thinks strange things such as hearing a voice whisper their name.
  • Has flat emotions or emotional responses that are socially unusual.
  • Has social anxiety, like not being comfortable with making close connections to people.
  • Has “magical thinking” (the belief that one’s thoughts can affect other people and events).
  • Believes that some casual incidents or events have hidden messages.

Young woman sitting with her head down holding her knees.

Cluster B

Next, there is cluster B which includes the disorders with symptoms involving dramatic and emotional thoughts and behaviors that are constantly changing.

Antisocial personality disorder

An individual with antisocial personality disorder may have a long-term pattern of manipulating, exploiting, and violating the rights of others.

Other signs of antisocial personality disorder include:

  • Has little if any concern for the needs or feelings of others.
  • Often lies, steals, uses false names, and cons others.
  • Has repeated run-ins with the law.
  • Often violates the rights of others.
  • Is aggressive and often violent.
  • Has little if any concern for the personal safety of others.
  • Behaves impulsively and recklessly.
  • Has little if any regret or remorse for how their behavior negatively affects others.

Borderline personality disorder

With borderline personality disorder, individuals have a difficult time managing their emotions. They often act impulsive and feel uncertain about how they see themselves, causing issues in their relationships.

Other signs of borderline personality disorder include:

  • Has a strong fear of being alone or abandoned.
  • Has ongoing feelings of emptiness.
  • Sees self as unstable or weak.
  • Has a pattern of unstable relationships.
  • Has up-and-down moods (often due to stress when interacting with others).
  • Threatens self-harm or behaves in ways that could lead to suicide.
  • Is often very angry.
  • Shows impulsive and risky behavior like having unsafe sex, gambling, or binge eating.
  • Has stress-related paranoia that comes and goes.

Histrionic personality disorder

Individuals with histrionic personality disorder are often dramatic, have strong emotions, and always want to be the center of attention or receive attention from others.

Other signs of histrionic personality disorder include:

  • Speaks overly dramatically or emotionally.
  • Stirs up sexual feelings to get attention.
  • Has strong opinions but has few facts or details to back them up.
  • Is easily led by others.
  • Has shallow emotions that change quickly and without reason.
  • Is very concerned with their physical appearance.
  • Thinks relationships with others are closer than they are.

Narcissistic personality disorder

When someone has narcissistic personality disorder they tend to lack empathy and want to be admired by others. These individuals may think that they are superior and therefore deserve special treatment.

Other signs of narcissistic personality disorder include:

  • Has beliefs about being special or more important than others.
  • Has fantasies about power, success, or being attractive to others.
  • Does not understand the needs and feelings of others.
  • Stretches the truth about achievements or talents.
  • Expect constant praise and want to be admired.
  • Feels superior to others and brags about it.
  • Expect favors and advantages without good reason.
  • Often takes advantage of others.
  • Is jealous of others or believes that others are jealous of them.

Young woman comforting her struggling friend on a couch.

Cluster C

The final group, cluster C, includes personality disorders with symptoms that involve anxious and fearful thoughts and behaviors.

Avoidant personality disorder

Avoidant personality disorder typically leaves an individual feeling shy and with the belief that they are not as good as others. As a result, they will avoid people for fear of rejection.

Other signs of avoidant personality disorder include:

  • Is very sensitive to criticism or rejection.
  • Does not feel good enough, important, or attractive.
  • Does not take part in work activities that include contact with others.
  • Is isolated.
  • Does not try new activities or does not like meeting new people.
  • Is extremely shy in social settings and dealings with other people.
  • Fears of disapproval, embarrassment, or being made fun of.

Dependant personality disorder

A person with dependent personality disorder feels as if they need to be taken care of by others. They will let others treat them badly because they are afraid of losing the relationship.

Other signs of dependant personality disorder include:

  • Relies on others too much.
  • Is submissive and clingy toward others.
  • Fears having to take care of self if left alone.
  • Lacks confidence in abilities.
  • Needs a lot of advice and comfort from others to make even small decisions.
  • Finds it hard to start or complete projects due to a lack of self-confidence.
  • Finds it hard to disagree with others, fearing they will not approve.
  • Endures poor treatment or abuse, even when other options are available.
  • Has an urgent need to start a new relationship when a close one ends.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Someone with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder needs control and order. They are perfectionists and can often be inflexible. It’s important to note that, although some of the symptoms are similar, this is not the same thing as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Other signs of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder include:

  • Focuses too much on details, orderliness, and rules.
  • Thinks everything needs to be perfect and gets upset when perfection is not achieved.
  • Cannot finish a project because reaching perfection is not possible.
  • Needs to be in control of people, tasks, and situations.
  • Cannot assign or delegate tasks to others.
  • Ignores friends and activities because they are too focused on work or a project.
  • Cannot throw away broken or worthless objects.
  • Is rigid and stubborn.
  • Is not flexible about morality, ethics, or values.
  • Holds very tight control over budgeting and spending money.

Young man sitting at his desk stressed with work.

Coping Skills for Personality Disorders

Treatments and coping skills for personality disorders may vary depending on the individual, but no matter which type an individual may have, the most important thing to do is to seek help from a mental health provider.

With the proper guidance, individuals can discover which type of therapy, treatment, or program is best fitted for them. Some of the most common types include the following:

In addition to behavioral health treatments and therapy, individuals can also participate in self-care practices that can help them in their day-to-day lives. Practicing self-care has been proven to improve individuals’ mental health and boost their overall well-being. These include but aren’t limited to:

Young man laying down on a bed and writing in a journal.

At first glance, personality disorders may seem scary, but like every other mental health disorder, with the right help and proper education, they can be managed.

Our team is here to help young adults struggling with mental health issues. Contact us today to see what we can do for you or a loved one.