Thalpos-Mental Health

Personality disorders

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Personality disorders

From the psychologist of the Rehabilitation Unit "Thalpos Kalamata" Evi Tsikrikou.

Personality disorders is a category of mental disorders characterized by persistently inappropriate patterns of behavior, knowledge and internal experience, which are presented in a number of areas and differ significantly from commonly accepted disorders. These patterns are usually developed quite early (during puberty or early years of adulthood), are rigid and associated with intense mental discomfort or disability. Definitions may vary slightly depending on the source1,2,3. The formal criteria for diagnosing personality disorders are listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and in the fifth chapter of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD).

Personality, psychologically defined, is the set of contiguous behavioral and psychic features which distinguish individuals. As a result, personality disorders are determined by experiences and behaviors that differ from social norms and expectations. Those diagnosed with a personality disorder may experience difficulties in their cognitive, emotional, interpersonal functioning, or the control of their impulses. Generally, personality disorders are diagnosed in 40-60% of psychiatric patients, making them the most frequent psychiatric diagnosis4.

There are three main types of personality disorders according to the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Each of the three types - or "complexes" using the psychiatric expression -  contains different disorders5.

Type A: Eccentric or strange disorders

  • Paranoid personality disorder: it is characterized by a pattern of unreasonable suspicion and mistrust of others, interpreting motives as malicious.
  • Schizoid personality disorder: characterized by lack of interest and social isolation, apathy, and limited emotional expression.
  • Schizotypy personality disorder: it is characterized by a pattern of extreme discomfort that affects socially and from "distorted" cognition and perception.

These disorders are often associated with schizophrenia. In particular, schizotypal disorder shares some of its symptoms with schizophrenia. However, people diagnosed with type A personality disorders, tend to have a greater perception of reality than those diagnosed with schizophrenia. There are, of course, important indications suggesting that a small percentage of people with these disorders especially schizotypy, are likely to develop schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. These disorders are also more likely to occur in individuals whose first degree relatives have either schizophrenia or personality disorder of Type A6.

Type B: Dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders7

Anti-social personality disorder: it is characterized by a widespread disregard for the law and the rights of others.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: it is characterized by extreme (white-black) thinking, instability in relationships, self-image, identity and behavior, often leading to self-injury and impulsivity.
  • Dramatic Personality Disorder: it is characterized by diffuse attentional behavior, including inappropriate seductive behavior and shallow or excessive emotions.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder: characterized by a diffuse pattern of grandeur, a need for admiration and lack of empathy.

Type C: Fear or anxiety disorders

  • Aberrant personality disorder: characterized by diffuse feelings of social inhibition and deficiency, with an extremely sensitive negative assessment.
  • Dependent personality disorder: it is characterized by a diffuse psychological need that others need to take care of.
  • Compulsive-Forced Personality Disorder: characterized by rigid compliance with rules, perfection and control to the point of satisfaction and exclusion of "lazy" activities and friends. (It is different from the obsessive-compulsive disorder).

In order to diagnose personality disorder, the patient must be older than 18 years and the disorder's characteristics should be stable and cause some degree of impairment in his or her social, professional or personal life. Symptoms should be present for a long time and not caused by alcohol, drugs or some other psychiatric disorder. They may exist due to genetic, environmental or cultural factors (Anogianakis G.)8.


  1. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 646–49. ISBN 978-0-89042-555-8.
  2. Berrios, G E (1993). "European views on personality disorders: a conceptual history". Comprehensive Psychiatry. 34 (1): 14–30. doi:10.1016/0010-440X(93)90031-X. PMID 8425387.
  3. doi:10.1016/0010-440X(93)90031-X. PMID 8425387. Jump up to: a b Theodore Millon; Roger D. Davis (1996). Disorders of Personality: DSM-IV and Beyond. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 226. ISBN 0-471-01186-X.
  4. Henning Saß (2001). "Personality Disorders" (pp. 11301–08). doi:10.1016/B0-08-043076-7/03763-3
  6. Esterberg, Michelle L.; Goulding, Sandra M.; Walker, Elaine F. (5 May 2010). "Cluster A Personality Disorders: Schizotypal, Schizoid and Paranoid Personality Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence". Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 32 (4): 515–28. doi:10.1007/s10862-010-9183-8. PMC 2992453 Freely accessible. PMID 21116455.
  8. Ανωγειανάκης Γ., Καραγιαννίδου Μ., Παπαλιάγκας Β.«ΔΙΑΤΑΡΑΧΕΣ ΠΡΟΣΩΠΙΚΟΤΗΤΑΣ», Κοινοτική Πρωτοβουλία INTERREG III/CARDS Ελλάδα – Αλβανία ΔΙΟΙΚΗΣΗ 3ης ΥΓΕΙΟΝΟΜΙΚΗΣ ΠΕΡΙΦΕΡΕΙΑΣ (ΜΑΚΕΔΟΝΙΑΣ) Ανάδοχος: Εργαστήριο Πειραματικής Φυσιολογίας, Ιατρική Σχολή, ΑΠΘ Έργο: Συνεργασία για την πρόσβαση των πληθυσμών της διασυνοριακής περιοχής Ελλάδας - Αλβανίας σε υπηρεσίες Πρωτοβάθμιας Ψυχικής Υγείας Υποέργο: Δημιουργία και προβολή Κοινοτικών Κέντρων Ψυχικής Υγείας Artwork - Εκτύπωση: Επιστημονικές Εκδόσεις ΠΑΡΙΣΙΑΝΟΥ Α.Ε