Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders

Personality Disorder (PD)

The term ‘personality’ reflects an individual’s set of characteristics that determine how they behave, think and feel. For those affected with PD, it can affect the way they develop both their relationship with others and themselves. It can be extremely difficult to change these things about oneself, and therefore, problems may persist.What are the types of Personality Disorder?PDs are split into 3 different clusters, within each of which there are several subcategories. Each of these subcategories has a specific set of behaviours and traits that relates to the overall cluster type. Due to the individualistic nature of personality, it is possible that one may not fit exactly into one of the subcategories and may identify with multiple instead. It is common for this to be the case and it is part of the reason why it is so difficult to diagnose.


Cluster A: ‘Odd and Eccentric’ or ‘Suspicious’

  • Paranoid :
    • Suspicious
    • Hypersensitive to other people’s negative attitudes towards you (even when evidence is given to disprove this)
    • Hold grudges


  • Schizoid :
    • Emotionally detached
    • Prefer spending time alone than with others
    • Elaborate imagination


  • Schizotypal :
    • Eccentric, odd ideals and behaviour
    • Difficulty with appropriate emotional responses and thinking
    • See/hear inexplicable things; can be related to schizophrenia

Cluster B: ‘Dramatic, Emotional and Erratic’ or ‘Impulsive’

  • Antisocial (aka. Dissocial) :
    • Easily frustrated/ aggressive/ impulsive without forethought or remorse
    • Criminal behaviour
    • Difficulty forming close interpersonal relationships


  • Borderline (aka. Emotionally Unstable) :
    • Impulsive and difficulty controlling emotions
    • Negative feelings towards oneself; often with self-harm behaviours and suicidal ideations
    • Unstable relationship patterns
    • Feeling lonely
    • Exhibit paranoia and other symptoms of psychosis when stressed
  • Histrionic :
    • Self-centred, appearance-focused and tendency to over-dramatise events
    • Changeable mood and extreme emotions
    • Crave new and exciting experiences


  • Narcissistic :
    • Self-importance
    • Attention-seeking, crave power and success
    • Take advantage of others e.g. ask for favours without intention to return them

Cluster C: ‘Anxious and Fearful’ 

  • Obsessive-Compulsive (aka. Anankastic) :
    • Perfectionistic, controlling, cautious and rigid in thinking
    • Judgemental but sensitive to criticism
    • High levels of worry or doubt e.g. when things do not go according to plan


  • Avoidant (aka. Anxious) :
    • Feelings of insecurity and inferiority
    • Need to be accepted and sensitive to criticism
    • High levels of worry and anxiety
    • Isolation and avoidance of close interpersonal relationships and social activities


  • Dependent :
    • Low self-confidence, passivity and reliance on others to make decisions
    • Feelings of hopelessness and incompetence
    • Difficulty completing daily tasks without direction from others

What causes a personality disorder? As is typical of most types of mental health problems, there is no clear answer. An individual’s childhood experiences, genetic makeup and environment throughout life can factor into how one might experience the world. These factors may include, drug or alcohol misuse, stressful situations, other mental health problems or childhood abuse. What treatments are available for personality disorder? There are many available treatments for PD, following which, people can live highly-functioning and fulfilling lives. The type of treatment will be structured around which type of PD is being treated, and may comprise of one or more of the following:

  • Medications prescribed by a psychiatrist
    • Antidepressants
    • Mood stabilisers
    • Antipsychotics


  • Psychological treatments, which are often long-term but seem particularly beneficial for Cluster B PDs
    • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
    • Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)
    • Schema Therapy
    • Psychodynamic Therapy
    • Cognitive Analytical Therapy (CAT)
    • Mentalisation Based Therapy (MBT)

 How can The Blue Tree Clinic help? Here at The Blue Tree Clinic, our multidisciplinary team of highly-trained professionals will get to know you and assess your symptoms in order to tailor a treatment plan to suit you. It may be that one single therapy or a combination of multiple techniques are chosen to help you build the tools that will help you cope with your disorder. For more information, or to book a consultation, please contact us now.