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Symptoms of Personality Disorders: The Basics of Personality Disorders

Medically reviewed by Melissa Caraan, MD · Psychiatry · Philippine General Hospital

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Jun 22, 2021

Symptoms of Personality Disorders: The Basics of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are mental disorders that primarily affect a person’s character. As surprising as it may be, data suggests that 10 to 13 percent of the world’s population suffers from a personality disorder. What are the symptoms of a personality disorder? Find out here

Causes and Risk Factors

A personality is the unique way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. An individual’s personality may be influenced by genes and the environment they grew up in. This means that some facets of a person’s personality are natural, while others stem from experiences; however, personality disorders usually begin around adolescence while the diagnosis is made when the person is older.

Experts have not yet determined the exact cause of personality disorders, but research shows that a number of factors can contribute to its development. The following are some of the risk factors of personality disorders:

  • Genetics
  • Experiencing verbal abuse at a young age
  • Family trauma
  • Being extremely sensitive to stimuli like light, noise, or textures
  • Negative influence from family, friends, or other peers
  • For an official diagnosis, consult a medical professional.

    Types of Personality Disorders and Their Symptoms

    There are several types of personality disorders. Usually, people with a personality disorder will experience an overlap of symptoms from another type.

    The symptoms of personality disorders depend on the type. However, those with a personality disorder typically have a difficulty building relationships and will struggle with self-perception. Regardless of the type, personality disorders can have significant effects on the perception of one’s own self and others, response to emotion, capacity to relate with others, and ability to control one’s behavior. 

    The following are common types of personality disorders:

    Paranoid Personality Disorder

    A person with paranoid personality disorder will be extremely suspicious of the people around them. As  a result, they will find it hard to trust others because they automatically assume that everyone has a plan to berate or threaten them. 

    Schizoid Personality Disorder

    An individual with schizoid personality disorder will come off as overly cold and detached. As a result, someone with this personality disorder shows a lack of interest in building relationships with other people, and will mostly prefer being alone.

    Antisocial Personality Disorder

    A person with antisocial personality disorder may struggle to abide or confide with social rules or established laws. Due to this, people with this disorder can exhibit impulsive behavior with little regard for consequences. 

    Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are usually overly concerned with the perception of their own self. Because of their this, they fixate on fantasies about success and wealth and are very sensitive to failure and criticism.

    Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

    A person with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD) looks for orderliness and organization in all aspects of their life. As a result, people with this disorder will be perfectionists and may have to perform repetitive rituals and actions to soothe an anxiety. 

    Dependent Personality Disorder

    People with dependent personality disorder are extremely dependent on others. Usually, people with this personality disorder will struggle with self-confidence, thus preventing them from doing things on their own.

    Can doctors treat personality disorders?

    It’s important to take note that personality disorders are not just usual personality traits like feeling shy or feeling anxious. This is because personality disorders are mental health problems that can disrupt how a person functions in society. 

    Doctors will usually diagnose personality disorders by observing a person’s relationships at work, home, or school. Physical tests will also be used to rule out any other underlying illnesses that may be causing the behavior.

    Treatment for personality disorders can vary, depending on the type and the severity of the symptoms present. In general, people with personality disorders usually benefit from psychotherapy. Psychiatrists can also prescribe antidepressants, antipsychotic medication, mood stabilizers, and anti-anxiety medication to manage the symptoms of personality disorders.

    Key Takeaways

    Personality disorders are mental disorders that primarily affect the way a person thinks, behaves, and deals with others. If you suspect that someone you know is suffering from a personality disorder, reach out and encourage them to seek the advice of a medical professional.

    Learn more about Healthy Mind here. 


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Melissa Caraan, MD

    Psychiatry · Philippine General Hospital

    Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Jun 22, 2021

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