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Definition

Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from expectations. A personality disorder is pervasive and inflexible, beginning in adolescence or early adulthood. Individuals with a personality disorder tend to be stable over time, but the disorder leads to distress or impairment.

There are currently 10 personality disorders identified in DSM-IV:

• Antisocial Personality Disorder: Lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture, along with a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules. Sometimes called psychopaths or sociopaths.

• Avoidant Personality Disorder: Marked social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and extremely sensitive to criticism.

• Borderline Personality Disorder: Lack of one's own identity, with rapid changes in mood, intense unstable interpersonal relationships, marked impulsivity, instability in affect and in self-image.

• Dependent Personality Disorder: Extreme need of other people, to a point where the person is unable to make any decisions or take an independent stand on his or her own. Submissive behavior and fear of separation. Marked lack of decisiveness and self-confidence.

• Histrionic Personality Disorder: Exaggerated and often inappropriate displays of emotional reactions, approaching theatricality, in everyday behavior. Sudden and rapidly shifting expressions of emotion.

• Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Behavior or a fantasy of grandiosity, a lack of empathy, a need to be admired by others, an inability to see the viewpoints of others and hypersensitivity to the opinions of others.

• Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Characterized by perfectionism and inflexibility as well as preoccupation with uncontrollable patterns of thought and action.

• Paranoid Personality Disorder: Marked distrust of others, including the belief, without reason, that others are exploiting, harming or trying to deceive him or her; lack of trust; belief of others' betrayal; belief in hidden meanings; unforgiving and grudge holding. 13

• Schizoid Personality Disorder: Primarily characterized by a very limited range of expressing and experiencing emotion. Indifferent to social relationships.

• Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Peculiarities of thinking, odd beliefs and eccentricities of appearance, behavior, interpersonal style and thought (e.g., belief in psychic phenomena and having magical powers).

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