Symptoms and signs of personality disorders

We have all heard once that someone would call another person paranoid, antisocial, narcissistic, or obsessive-compulsive.

These are ways of speaking, so we don’t have to give it more importance, but we must be aware that these “adjectives” are personality disorders which cause enormous discomfort to those affected and their immediate surroundings. .

This is why I think it is interesting to know a little more about these disorders and maybe it allows us to reflect on our vocabulary and how our words can sometimes go deeper.

Mental disorders in general and personality disorders in particular affect a large number of people, so it is interesting to know a little more about them as it will help us ourselves and also, as a society.

Recommended article: “The 10 types of personality disorders”

Characteristics of personality disorders

There are, however, different personality disorders all maintain general diagnostic criteria.

The person’s behavior will clearly deviate from what their culture considers correct or from their expectations. This should be reflected in at least two of the following areas:

  • cognition: The way of perceiving and interpreting.
  • affectivity: Emotional response.
  • Interpersonal activity: Relationship with other people.
  • Pulse control.

This behavior or conduct must be persistent, inflexible and affect a wide range of personal and social situations. It also causes clinically significant discomfort or significant impairment in areas such as social relationships or the work environment.

This type of inappropriate behavior they usually start in adolescence or adulthood and remain stable.

Finally, it is important to know that there are certain personality disorders which are due to the ingestion of substances such as medications or drugs, or which can occur as a result of a medical illness. Therefore, we need to know if this pattern of persistent behavior is not due to any of these factors.

Basic classification of personality disorders

Once we have defined these general criteria, we will look at some of the personality disorders so that we can distinguish them. We will divide them into 3 groups according to the similarity of their characteristics.

It must be remembered that the characteristics that we will see below do not have to define the disorder unless the criteria defined above are also met.

Rare or eccentric

This group of disorders is characterized by a clearly abnormal pattern both in relation to cognition and in expression and relationship with others.

  • Paranoid: They show excessive mistrust and suspicion, interpreting the intentions of others as malicious. They suspect that they are going to take advantage of it, that they are going to hurt or cheat them. They also have unwarranted doubts about loyalty or faithfulness and a reluctance to trust others.
  • Schizoid: estrangement from social relations and difficulty in emotional expression. They don’t like socializing, they don’t have friends or people they trust, they come across as cold and distant.
  • schizotypal: Social and interpersonal deficit associated with acute discomfort and low capacity for personal relationships. Cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities in their behavior. They have rare beliefs or a tendency towards magical thinking that influences their behavior. They tend to have unusual perceptual experiences, rare thoughts, language and appearances; they are suspicious, have emotional difficulties, a lack of close friends or social anxiety.

Dramatic, emotional or unstable

The following disorders are characterized by a pattern of violation of social norms, impulsive behavior, excessive emotion and grandiosity.

  • Antisocial: Contempt and violation of the rights of others. They do not conform to social norms of legal conduct, are dishonest people, and usually lie. They exhibit impulsiveness, irritability and aggression, as well as a lack of remorse, persistent irresponsibility and an inability to meet their obligations.
  • Limit: They are characterized by unstable interpersonal relationships, self-image and efficiency. Impulsiveness. they exhibit altered identity, impulsiveness, and unstable and intense relationships. They also show recurring suicidal behaviors, attempts or threats or self-injurious behaviors, as well as chronic feelings of emptiness and inappropriate and intense anger.
  • Histrionic: They exhibit a theatrical style of behavior, excessive emotion and attention seeking. They want to be the center of attention and show flirtatious or provocative behavior, shallow and shifting emotional expression. They attract attention by their physique, their self-dramatization, their theatricality or their exaggeration. They are easily swayed and consider their relationships to be more intimate than they actually are.
  • narcissistic: They exhibit the need for admiration and a general pattern of greatness, as well as a lack of empathy. They believe that they are very important, they are concerned with unlimited success, power and beauty. They demand excessive admiration and take advantage of others. They do not show empathy but often envy others and are arrogant or arrogant.

Anxious or fearful

Disorders in this group are characterized by abnormal fears. Their types are as follows.

  • Avoidance: They show social inhibition and a feeling of inferiority. They avoid contact with other people for fear of criticism or rejection. Also afraid of being embarrassed or criticized. They see themselves as socially inept, uninteresting, or inferior to others.
  • seller: They present the need to face them, as well as a tendency to submission and fears of separation. They find it difficult to make daily decisions, they need others to take responsibility, they have difficulty expressing their disagreement for fear of disapproval. They also show exaggerated fears that they will not be able to take care of themselves.
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: They are characterized by concern for order, perfectionism and control. They care about details, rules, lists, order, schedules … they tend to be too dedicated to work. They exhibit intense stubbornness, scruple and rigidity in matters related to morality, ethics or values. Difficulty also in getting rid of material objects. They are reluctant to delegate tasks to others and are often stingy with spending for themselves and others.

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