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Dr. Vijayakumar D.R MBBS, DPM, DNB (NIMHANS), CCST (UK)
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Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are a group of disorders encountered in clinical practice by psychiatrists. It occurs in about 1 in 20 individuals and is difficult to diagnose and needs a lot of information from people who know the client well. It refers to a collection of characteristics that the individual has developed as he has grown up and includes how he thinks, behaves and feels.  His family members would have noticed these characteristics and usually brought it to the individual notice but he or she is not able to rectify it and learn from their mistakes. These characteristics cause the individual to have difficulty in maintaining relationships with family and friends, be impulsive and take hasty decisions, have constant crisis in their lives, unable to learn from their past experiences and they are more prone to develop other psychiatry disorders. With time these disorders can gradually burn out and the characteristics can mellow down. It usually occurs at the age of 45 -55 yrs. 

Psychiatrists offer help in the form of medications and therapy for people suffering from personality disorders. Mainstay of treatment is various forms of talk therapy and it usually runs for a long time (even years). Medications are used to treat underlying co-morbidity, mood swings and impulsivity.

Classification of personality Disorders

Cluster A:  Odd and eccentric

  1. Paranoid personality disorders
  2. Schizoid personality disorder
  3. Schizotypal personality disorder

Cluster B:  Dramatic, Emotional or Erratic

  1. Antisocial personality disorder
  2. Borderline or emotional unstable  personality disorder
  3. Histrionic personality disorder
  4. Narcissistic personality disorder

Cluster C:  Anxious and Fearful

  1. Obsessive compulsive personality or anankastic  personality disorder
  2. Anxious avoidant personality disorder
  3. Dependent personality disorder


Each of the personality disorder has definite criteria which have to be fulfilled before a diagnosis of a particular personality is made.