Traditionally, personality disorders are classified into 10 distinct types. However, it is important to note these are more the result of historical observation than scientific study, which means they can be vague and imprecise constructs. As a result, they rarely exist in their classic “textbook” form, but instead tend to blur into one another. Of course, the point of seeing a psychologist is not to be labelled or categorised. Our psychologists will help patients suffering from any combinations of these characteristics to cope with circumstances and relationships in a healthy way.

The 10 traditional classifications can briefly be summarized as follows:

  1. Paranoid personality disorder – characterized by a deep sense of distrust of others and a strong sense of personal rights. This person can be overly sensitive to setbacks or rejection; easily feel humiliation and shame; and have a tendency to bear grudges.
  2. Schizoid personality disordermarked by detachment and aloofness, as well as being prone to fantasy and introspection.
  3. Schizotypal disorder – recognisable by oddities of speech, appearance and behavior, unusual perceptual experiences, and anomalies of thinking similar to those seen in schizophrenia
  4. Antisocial personality disorders – more often found in men than women, and characterized by a callous disregard for the feelings of others, and flagrantly ignoring social rules and obligations. The person is often irritable and aggressive, acts impulsively, feels no remorse and fails to learn from experience.
  5. 5. Borderline personality disorder – marked by not having a sense of self and, as a result, the person experiences feelings of emptiness and fears of abandonment. There is a pattern of intense but unstable relationships, emotional instability, and outbursts of violence and anger.
  6. Histrionic personality disorder – characterized by a low sense of self-worth. The person’s wellbeing typically depends on attracting the attention and approval of others.
  7. Narcissistic personality disorder – marked by an extreme sense of self-importance and entitlement, plus a need to be admired. This personality lacks empathy, lies easily, and exploits others to achieve his aims. If he feels obstructed or ridiculed, he can fly into a fit of destructive anger and revenge.
  8. Avoidant personality disorder – sufferers believe that they are inferior, socially inept, or unappealing, and constantly fear being embarrassed, criticized, or rejected. They avoid meeting others unless they are certain of being liked and are restrained even in their intimate relationships.
  9. Dependent personality disorder – characterized by a lack of self-confidenceand an excessive need to be looked after. This person needs a lot of help in making everyday decisions and surrenders important life decisions to the care of others.

10. Obsessive-compulsive personality disordercharacterized by an excessive preoccupation with lists, rules, details, order, organization, or schedules. Their perfectionism can be so extreme that it stops them from completing tasks. However, there is often a devotion to work and productivity at the expense of relationship or leisure.

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