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Monday, 03 Feb 2020

11 Personality Disorders and Their Characteristics

By Dr Becky Spelman
10 Personality Disorders and Their Characteristics  | Private Therapy Clinic

Personality disorders are characterised by deeply entrenched behaviours. The typical sufferer will often be inflexible in how they interact with others and find it hard maintaining relationships. But having ‘personality disorder’ isn’t a diagnosis in and of itself. There are many different conditions that fall within the bracket. The term personality disorder is just a classification of conditions. Let’s take a look at the most prevalent.

Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD)

People with paranoid disorder have an uneasiness about them, and may appear anxious and awkward. They have an intense mistrust of those they meet and find it hard making connections with new people. They’ll always be on the lookout threats and will often perceive there to be danger where there is none.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

The Schizoid type of personality disorder isn’t be confused with schizophrenia. If you have a Schizoid personality type, you’ll most likely spend a lot of time alone. You prefer to be with your thoughts. The idea of forming relationships scares you because you feel they might take away your freedom or cause problems. You will generally be apathetic towards the world, and emotionally distant from others.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STD)

You may think and express yourself verbally that marks you out as being eccentric to others. This ultimately makes it hard for you to form relationships. In fact, it may be extremely uncomfortable for you to make connections at all. STD is often accompanied by social anxiety, derealisation, and psychosis. If you have this personality type, you may also believe you have a psychic and/or precognitive abilities.

Anti-Social Personality Disorder (ASPD)

For there to be a proper diagnosis, you would need to be 18 years old or over. APSD is characterised by unruly behaviour that endangers both the individual’s life and those around them. They rarely consider the consequences of their actions. Intimidation, violence and other forms of abuse are all common traits. The sufferer will often feel no remorse for in bringing harm onto others. 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

All borderlines live with the constant fear of abandonment hanging over them. They have intense emotional swings that can see them elated one minute and completely flip the next if they feel threatened. The Borderline has a poor sense of who they are, and will often ‘try on’ many different identities in an attempt to fit in and be accepted by others.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionics sufferers need to be the focal point of attention for them to feel comfortable in social situations. They feel like they have to entertain people all the time and may be taken to be a bit of a wildcard. But they can also gain a reputation for being overemotional and the source of drama. Because they’re so dependent on the approval of others, they’re also easily influenced.

Narcissist Personality Disorder

Narcissists believe they’re god’s gift. They firmly believe that they’re different from everyone else and are therefore more entitled. But beneath all the outward-facing confidence is a fragile ego. They thrive on attention. And if it’s in short supply, they can fall into a slump. The typical narcissist is always willing to put themselves above others.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

This a form of anxiety disorder follows a lot of the same hallmarks of generalised anxiety disorder. If you suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder, you try to avoid as many social engagements as possible. You live with an imposter syndrome mindset and constantly worry about the criticism of others. You close yourself off from others for fear of being shamed and ridiculed.

Dependent Personality Disorder

DPD is one of the most commonly diagnosed personality disorders. It’s characterised by an emotional neediness that makes it hard for the individual to function. People with this disorder are lacking in self-confidence. They’ll gladly pass on the responsibility for their decisions to others they feel are more capable, and will engage in people-pleasing to avoid being abandoned.

Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

OCPD differs from OCD in that it focuses more on the personality rather than the behaviour of the person. But many of the traits are still the same. The OCPD sufferer can be just as orderly and set in their way of carrying out tasks. They have a huge streak of perfectionism and will fret about what will happen if their plan deviates from what they laid out, which in turn leads to anxiety.

Dissociative Personality Disorder (DID)

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) – formerly referred to as multiple personality disorder – sees an individual switch between two or more distinct personalities. These alternative identity states often come to fore as coping mechanisms for managing specific situations, which the primary personality isn’t equipped to handle. Each ‘alter’ has its unique traits and self-image and personal history.

About the author:

Dr Becky Spelman is a leading UK Psychologist who’s had great success helping her clients manage and overcome a multitude of mental illnesses.

***If you’re struggling with a suspected personalitydisorder and think you might benefit from speaking to someone about your situation, we offer a FREE 15-MINUTE CONSULTATION with one of our specialists to help you find the best way to move forward. You can book yours here.


NHS. (2nd October 2017) Personality Disorder. Retrieved on 11th December, 2019 from, (Aug 2016) Personality Disorder. Retrieved on 11th December, 2019 from,

Psychology Today. (2018) Personality Disorder. Retrieved on 11th December, 2019 from,

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