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Personality Disorder Symptoms

Madhura Pandit Aug 6, 2020
There are many types of personality disorders. Keeping a close watch on the symptoms can help in identifying a possible personality disorder. Here is brief information on the different types of disorders with their symptoms.
A person is said to suffer from personality disorder if he displays unusual behavior, and thoughts that are socially unacceptable, and can lead to instability in the person's life and work. Eccentric and erratic thoughts and behavior, affecting a person's life altogether, can be a sign of an underlying personality disorder. However, there are many identifying symptoms that will help determine whether a person suffers from a disorder or not.

Common Symptoms of Personality Disorders


  • Aggression
  • Fantasizing
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Deceitfulness
  • Mistrust
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Exaggeration
  • Anxiety

Personality disorder is a collective term that can be further classified into different types. Let us take a look at the types of personality disorders and their symptoms in detail.
These disorders are divided into clusters, namely Cluster A (Paranoid personality disorder, Schizoid personality disorder, Schizotypal personality disorder), Cluster B (Antisocial personality disorder, Borderline personality disorder, Histrionic personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder), and Custer C (Avoidant personality disorder, Dependent personality disorder, Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder). Let us take a look at the symptoms of all these disorders in detail.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

People with Antisocial (earlier known as sociopathic) Personality Disorder (APD) tend to show violent behavior, and are devoid of any remorse or guilt. They display anti-social behavior like having a lack of concern or disregard towards others.
These people are also termed as 'psychopaths' or 'sociopaths'. Disturbed childhood and socio-environmental factors are greatly responsible for developing antisocial personality disorder.
  • Aggression, committing crimes
  • Violence, threatening, and self-destructive behavior
  • Irresponsibility, and disregard for rules, regulations, and norms
  • Lack of empathy
  • Difficulty in controlling impulses and anger

Avoidant Personality Disorder

People with Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD), also known as anxious personality disorder, have extremely low self-esteem. They are immensely sensitive towards rejection and criticism. A painful childhood experience is one of the major causes of avoidant personality disorder in people.
  • Hypersensitive to criticism, rejection, and negative evaluation
  • Social isolation, avoiding socialization completely
  • Extremely self-conscious, self-critical, self-loathing
  • An inferiority complex, inadequacy about self
  • Loneliness, shyness, and timidity

Borderline Personality Disorder

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) have great difficulty in controlling their emotions, and therefore, they display erratic moods and behavior which leads to instability in relationships.
In many cases, suicidal tendency is also observed in these people. A painful childhood or turbulent relationships in the past, often leads to the onset of borderline personality disorder.
  • Abrupt shifts in mood, recklessness, anxiety
  • Avoid being alone for fear of rejection and loneliness
  • Unstable self-image and relationships
  • Impulsive behavior, eating disorders
  • Self-mutilation, threats, suicidal attempts

Dependent Personality Disorder

As the name suggests, people with dependent personality disorder are overtly and completely reliant on others for support and decision-making. In short, they are mentally and emotionally dependent.
They have a constant desire of being accepted and being taken care of, as they have a low self-image and often consider themselves helpless.

  • Highly dependent on others even for mundane things
  • Constantly in need of reassurance, advice, support
  • Avoid disagreements fearing disapproval, rejection, and isolation
  • Overly submissive and tolerant
  • Lack of initiative in any venture or work

Histrionic Personality Disorder

People with Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) constantly seek attention by exhibiting histrionic behavior or gestures. They always love to be the center of attention. This disorder is more commonly observed in women than men.
  • Overly conscious about themselves and their appearance
  • Constantly wish approval and attention
  • Extremely emotional and unstable
  • Fear of rejection and loneliness
  • Melodramatic, sexually provocative, display of shallow emotions

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) show signs opposite to that of avoidant personality disorder. They hold a very high self-image and have a superiority complex.
Frequent appreciation, valuation, admiration by parents or society during childhood is considered to be the prominent cause of narcissistic personality disorder.

  • Feeling of self-importance
  • Self-centered, self-obsessed
  • Constantly crave appreciation and admiration
  • Have imaginary fantasies about wealth, power, success
  • Haughtiness, arrogance, lack of empathy

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

People with Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) have an abnormal obsession for order and perfection in their work and life. These people have a rigid pattern of lifestyle, work, and thoughts.
These people are completely inflexible and stubborn. (One must not confuse obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). These two are completely distinct terms).

  • Over-perfectionist
  • Conscientious
  • Cannot tolerate untidiness, sloppiness
  • Workaholics, miserly
  • Unbending, stubborn, and incapable of change

Paranoid Personality Disorder

People with paranoid personality disorder are suspicious to such an extent that they can never trust others, and hence, lead an isolated life. Due to this attitude, they even face difficulties in maintaining any kind of personal or professional relationships.
  • Suspicious, distrustful, jealous, and secretive
  • Constantly in fear of being watched or harmed
  • Cannot confide in anyone
  • Angry for imaginary reasons
  • Emotionally cold and isolated

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid Personality Disorder (SPD) is characterized by tendency of being reclusive and secretive. People with this disorder also lack desire for close or sexual relationships. They create an impression of living in a fantasy world.
  • Extremely inexpressive
  • Aloof, detached, lonely
  • Indifferent towards others
  • Lack of reaction for both, negative and positive evaluation by others
  • Prefer having a solitary life

Schizotypal Personality Disorder

Prominent schizotypal personality disorder symptoms include extremely unusual and bizarre behavior. The symptoms of this disorder are similar to that of schizoid personality disorder.
  • Cannot maintain any relationships
  • Eccentric, odd behavior and appearance
  • Ideas of reference or delusions
  • Lack of reaction towards anything
  • Indifference towards others

Multiple Personality Disorder

Multiple personality disorder, or the Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), is commonly known as split personality. The personality of people suffering from this disorder is dissociated or split into two or more personalities.
These different personalities are completely distinct and the traits tend to surface unpredictably. There can be several possibilities, causes for this. This is a rare, complex personality disorder.
  • Sudden, distinct mood changes
  • Hallucinations, depersonalization
  • Display of unreasonable anger
  • Amnesia, depression, anxiety
  • Loss of memory, imaginary phobias

Personality Disorder Test

People have distinct personalities and therefore, tend to display different behavior patterns in different situations. Therefore, displaying unusual behavior is not always termed as a personality disorder. However, in case the behavior or thoughts of the person affect his life, work, and relationships, it is wise to consult a doctor.
There are tests to determine whether a person is suffering from a personality disorder. One must remember that most of the disorders can be treated with the help of proper methods and support from family.
If you observe that your close or loved one shows any of the aforementioned symptoms, do not hesitate to have an open discussion with him about it, as their mental health is sacrosanct. It is difficult to convince a person to undertake a personality disorder test, but you should try your best to help them overcome the disorder.
With advanced tests and techniques, it is possible to overcome a personality disorder. Take care!
Disclaimer: This story is meant only to provide information. It is not to be used as a substitute for doctor's advice.