What Causes Flat FeetThe National Institute of Mental Health estimates that over 9% of the US population has been diagnosed with a personality disorder in their lifetime. This equates to approximately 23 million Americans struggling with these conditions, making it important for us to understand what personality disorders are and how they impact people daily.

Our team of mental health professionals at Cognitive Behavior Institute is committed to helping individuals with personality disorders live fulfilling and successful lives. We believe that education is key to breaking the stigma surrounding personality disorders and helping those who struggle with them to live as their best selves.

In this article, we will explore the different types of personality disorders, their causes, and therapies that may help those with personality disorders. If you’d like to learn more, contact the Cognitive Behavior Institute today.

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What are Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by unhealthy patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. These patterns can cause significant distress and impairment in various aspects of an individual's life, including relationships, work, school or social interactions.

While everyone may experience some degree of personality traits that could be considered 'unhealthy,' people with personality disorders have a more extreme and inflexible way of thinking, feeling and behaving that often leads to problems in their daily lives.

It’s important to note that having a personality disorder does not mean that a person is inherently bad or flawed. These disorders are simply ways of coping with difficult experiences and situations, often stemming from childhood trauma or genetics.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are 10 officially recognized types of personality disorders, which are divided into three clusters based on similar characteristics. These include:

  • Cluster A Personality Disorders

    • Paranoid Personality Disorder: This disorder is characterized by paranoia, an enduring mistrust, and suspicion of others without sufficient reason. Individuals with this disorder often perceive others as threatening, harmful, or demeaning.
    • Schizoid Personality Disorder: Individuals with this disorder have difficulty expressing emotions and forming close relationships. They often prefer to be alone, have a limited range of emotions, and struggle with social cues.
    • Schizotypal Personality Disorder: This disorder is characterized by social anxiety, distorted thinking, and eccentric behavior. Individuals with this disorder may struggle to maintain close relationships and often have difficulty understanding others' emotions.
  • Cluster B Personality Disorders

    • Antisocial Personality Disorder: This disorder is characterized by a disregard for the law and the rights of others, leading to impulsive, manipulative and often criminal behavior. People with this condition may also lack empathy and remorse.
    • Borderline Personality Disorder: This disorder is marked by unstable mood, self-image, and relationships. Individuals with this condition often struggle to regulate their emotions and engage in impulsive and self-destructive behaviors.
    • Histrionic Personality Disorder: This disorder is characterized by constant attention seeking, exaggerated emotions, and a need for approval. Individuals with this condition may struggle with boundaries and have difficulty forming genuine relationships.
    • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: This disorder is marked by an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy towards others. People with this condition may have an exaggerated sense of entitlement and struggle with criticism or rejection.
  • Cluster C Personality Disorders

    • Avoidant Personality Disorder: This disorder is marked by extreme social anxiety, fear of rejection, and low self-esteem. Individuals with this condition often avoid social situations due to intense feelings of inadequacy and fear of being judged.
    • Dependent Personality Disorder: This disorder is characterized by an excessive reliance on others for emotional or physical needs, often leading to clingy and submissive behaviors. People with this condition may struggle with decision-making and feel vulnerable when alone.
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: This disorder is marked by perfectionism, rigidity, and a need for control. Individuals with this disorder may have an excessive focus on rules, details, and orderliness, often to the point of interfering with their daily functioning.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact causes of personality disorders are not fully understood; however, research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors may play a role. Some potential risk factors include:

  • Genetics and family history
  • Childhood experiences, such as trauma or neglect
  • Brain abnormalities or imbalances in certain chemicals
  • Environmental stressors, such as loss or abuse
  • Temperamental traits, such as high sensitivity and impulsivity


Each type of personality disorder has its unique symptoms, but some common signs include:

  • Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships
  • Intense emotions or mood swings
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior
  • Paranoia or suspiciousness
  • Distorted thinking patterns
  • Fear of abandonment or rejection
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty regulating emotions or controlling impulses

If you or a loved one are experiencing these symptoms and would like to address them, it may be time to seek help at Cognitive Behavior Institute.

How to Diagnose Personality Disorder?

Diagnosing a personality disorder can be challenging, as symptoms may overlap with other mental health conditions. A comprehensive evaluation at the Cognitive Behavior Institute is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. This may include:

  • A review of medical and family history
  • Psychological testing
  • Interviews with the individual and their loved ones

Therapeutic Approaches

Personality disorders are chronic conditions, meaning they cannot be cured. However, with appropriate therapy, symptoms can be managed, and quality of life can significantly improve.

Some of the modalities we practice at Cognitive Behavior Institute include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy focuses on identifying and changing unhelpful thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that contribute to the individual's difficulties.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT): This type of therapy combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques to help individuals regulate their emotions, cope with stress, and improve their relationships.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy can be useful for individuals with personality disorders, as it provides a safe and supportive space to practice social skills, receive feedback, and learn from others' experiences.
  • Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage specific symptoms associated with the disorder, such as depression or anxiety. It is often used in combination with therapy for the best outcomes.

Seek Help for a Better Tomorrow

Personality disorders are complex and often misunderstood mental health conditions that can significantly impact an individual's life. However, people who struggle with them can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.

With Cognitive Behavior Institute, you can expect compassionate and personalized care from our team of experienced therapists. We are committed to helping those with personality disorders live fulfilling and meaningful lives.

If you or a loved one are struggling with symptoms of a personality disorder, please know that help is available. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can support you on your journey towards healing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most common type of personality disorder?

The most common type of personality disorder is borderline personality disorder (BPD), which affects approximately 1.6% of the adult population in the United States. Other types, such as antisocial personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder, each affect about 1% of the population.

Can you develop a personality disorder later in life?

Yes, while some symptoms may manifest during adolescence or early adulthood, it is possible to develop a personality disorder at any age. Stressful life events, such as trauma, can trigger the onset of symptoms in individuals who may have a predisposition to a personality disorder.

Is it possible to recover from a personality disorder?

“Recovery” in mental health is always complex, and seeking a “cure” is sometimes counterintuitive to real growth. Individuals with personality disorders can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being. It is a journey that requires patience, dedication, and self-compassion. With the right resources and support, individuals with personality disorders can lead fulfilling lives.