Personality Disorders


Personality disorders are pervasive patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that vary from cultural norms and interfere with relationships and overall functioning. Signs of a personality disorder can begin in adolescence or early adulthood. Personality disorders, or their impact, can significantly improve with professional support.

Although personality disorders can be overwhelming, there are plenty of reasons to hope. With the correct diagnosis and compassionate treatment, you or your loved one can manage a personality disorder and live a balanced and productive life.

: Cluster A – Eccentric or Odd Behavior
: Cluster B – Dramatic or Highly Emotional Behavior
: Cluster C – Fearful Behavior
: Diagnosing Personality Disorders
: Help for Personality Disorders
: Treatment for Personality Disorders


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) groups personality disorders into three primary clusters. Within each cluster, specific diagnoses are given when the patient exhibits two or more behaviors and thought patterns.


  • PARANOID – afraid of others, including family and friends. These individuals may feel very guarded and look for evidence to validate their fears.
  • SCHIZOID – extremely introverted and focused on an inner fantasy life to exclude all else, including relationships, indifferent to social norms.
  • SCHIZOTYPAL – eccentricities in appearance, behaviors, and speech. May include magical thinking and delusions similar to schizophrenia. These individuals may also avoid interacting with others.


  • ANTISOCIAl – Can appear charming yet lack concern for others; no guilt or remorse; aggressive and impulsive. No regard for rules or social norms. They may be habitual criminals with frequent incarceration.
  • BORDERLINE – Lacking a healthy sense of self leads to instability in relationships; erratic behavior; anger directed to self and others; self-harm; attempts and threats of suicide.
  • Histrionic – Lacking a sense of self-worth and therefore needing to derive worth from others. It may be seductive or dramatic to attract attention or to be the center of attention.
  • NARCISSISTIC – A sense of self-importance and entitlement; decreased empathy for others; potentially manipulative.


  • AVOIDANT – Low self-esteem and fear of rejection. People with this disorder may isolate and turn down jobs due to concerns about being rejected or judged.
  • DEPENDENT – A need to be cared for by another, marked by deferential behavior and difficulty making decisions. Will go to great lengths to avoid losing the help and support of a caregiver, even agreeing to do things that are perceived as wrong.
  • OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE – Focused on perfection, control, and rules. Such individuals may be inflexible and struggle with change. This inflexibility may extend to work and relationships.

The above characteristics of personality disorders are partial lists and do not fully describe the diagnostic criteria. Those who suffer from a personality disorder struggle with rigid behavioral patterns which impair their ability to relate to others and adapt to change. As a result, a personality disorder can significantly hinder a person’s ability to lead a full life and reach their potential. If you suspect that you or somebody close to you has a personality disorder, professional treatment is available and helpful.


When diagnosing a personality disorder, a psychiatrist evaluates symptoms, behaviors, thoughts, and behavioral patterns such as:

  • Perception of self, others, and external events
  • How well the patient functions in relationships
  • Emotional responses
  • Impulse control

Some patients may have an additional diagnosis of depression, substance abuse, or anxiety in addition to the personality disorder. This can complicate the process of effective diagnosis and treatment. An experienced therapeutic team can perform an accurate diagnostic evaluation and address the root causes of challenging thoughts & behaviors. A professional treatment team can also devise a treatment plan which will allow for healing and improved functioning.


Treatment for personality disorders usually involves ongoing therapy and, in some cases, may include medications such as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Antipsychotics
  • Anti-anxiety medications

It can take time to find the proper medication or combination of drugs to reduce symptoms. As always, it is essential to refrain from alcohol or other substances while in treatment.
Along with medication and therapy, treatment includes learning new coping skills such as mindfulness to understand your emotions and feelings with acceptance and equanimity. Regular exercise and proper nutrition are also highly recommended, as are improved social interactions and opportunities for joy and fun.


At ASANTE, treatment begins with a comprehensive bio-psycho-social assessment by a licensed clinician. After your evaluation, we will devise an individualized treatment plan specific to your diagnosis and symptoms. We will tailor your treatment to your individual needs.

Treatment can include medication (referral), individual, group, and family therapy, and integrative treatment modalities such as:

  • Mindfulness and meditation practices
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Journaling
  • Art

We will be with you throughout your treatment journey to support you as you learn new ways or relate to the world around you. At ASANTE, we believe treatment should go beyond symptom reduction. Our goal is to help you achieve freedom from limiting beliefs and behavior patterns that may be hindering your ability to feel balanced and happy in your personal, professional, and social life. We want to help you develop and maintain healthy interpersonal and professional relationships, reach your goals, and realize your full potential.

For more information about how we can help you, call ASANTE at 909.886.3322