A personality disorder, as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that differs markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive (diffuses throughout) and inflexible (unbelievably rigid), has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.
Phew! That was a mouthful. It’s not unusual to find people going about their daily routine without anyone detecting that they have a disorder, not of structure, but of brain function.
These behavioural anomalies are often overlooked or excused by associates and acquaintances as having to do with the person’s temperament.
However, this article is set to burst the bubble and open the door to the world of personality disorders. A very intriguing world, if I do say so myself.
In patients with personality disorder, abnormalities may be seen in different lobes of the brain. These abnormalities may be caused by brain damage because of a prolonged difficult delivery, brain infections, head trauma, or genetics.
Personality disorders are also seen with diminished levels of certain neurotransmitters. However, the relationships of anatomy, receptors, and neurotransmitters to personality disorders are purely speculative at this point.
Frequently, a history of psychiatric disorders is present. In some cases, the patient has developmental abnormalities secondary to abuse or incest.
We will be discussing ten (10) personality disorders divided into 3 clusters, namely Cluster A, cluster B and Cluster C.
Cluster A contains 3 disorders and is the Odd/Eccentric cluster. The disorders are:
1. Paranoid personality disorder
Individuals with this disorder display pervasive distrust and suspiciousness, with a tendency to attribute malevolent motives to others, to be preoccupied with unjustified doubts, and to persistently bear grudges. Common beliefs include the following:
• Others are exploiting or deceiving the person
• Friends and associates are untrustworthy
• Information confided to others will be used maliciously
• There is hidden meaning in remarks or events others perceive as benign
• Attacks are being made on the person’s character or reputation that are not apparent to others
• The person’s spouse or partner is unfaithful
I’m sure we know a few people that may have this. For example, that friend, aunt or mother-in-law…my lips are sealed.
2. Schizoid personality disorder
This type of personality disorder is uncommon in clinical settings. A person with this disorder is markedly detached from others and has little desire for close relationships, choosing solitary activities. The person’s life is marked by little pleasure in activities and little interest in sexual relations. People with this disorder appear indifferent to the praise or criticism of others and often seem cold or aloof. Just in case you don’t know this guy, look around carefully. He lives on your street, maybe even attends your school.
3. Schizotypal personality disorder
People with this disorder exhibit marked eccentricities of thought, perception, and behavior. Typical examples are as follows:
• Ideas of reference – i.e, believing that public messages are directed personally at them
• Odd beliefs or magical thinking
• Vague, circumstantial, or stereotyped speechy
• Excessive social anxiety that does not diminish with familiarity
• Idiosyncratic perceptual experiences or bodily illusions
I think I’ve said enough for one article. The other clusters will be discussed subsequently. If you’ve discovered that you have one already, don’t get angry or sad, knowledge is power. If you’re still pointing fingers, I promise you we’ll get round to lighting your own birthday cake. Till then…