An Introduction to Personality Disorders

By April Padjen, Administrative Assistant/ Community Liaison


Personality disorders are hard to understand, even for the person diagnosed. It can feel like there is no place for them in the world, no one understands them. Many mental health professionals will avoid the diagnoses or turn people away because they feel personality disorders are “too difficult” to handle. Creating a better understanding of personality disorders can help mitigate the stigma and create a welcoming community for those struggling. It can even create a world they know they belong in.

Personality disorders are not just quirks or flaws. They are mental health conditions that affect how people think, feel, and act. Many diagnosed with a personality disorder differ significantly from the average person. There are ten personality disorders grouped into clusters A. B and C. Each cluster has its own challenges and traits. Please see below is a chart for each cluster:

Cluster A: Odd thinking and eccentric thinking

Paranoid Personality Disorder A mental condition that makes people distrust and suspect others without reason.
Schizoid Personality Disorder An uncommon condition in which people avoid social activities and consistently shy away from interaction with others.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder Severe discomfort with close relationships in addition to odd or inappropriate beliefs, behaviors, and speech, but without delusions or other symptoms characteristic of schizophrenia.


Cluster B: Dramatic and erratic behavior

Antisocial Personality Disorder A mental health condition in which a person consistently shows no regard for right and wrong and ignores the rights and feelings of others.
Borderline Personality Disorder A mental disorder characterized by the instability in mood, behavior, and functioning.
Histrionic Personality Disorder A mental health condition characterized by overwhelming desire to be noticed and dramatic behavior.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder A mental disorder with exaggerated feelings of self-importance, but low self-esteem.


Cluster C: Severe Anxiety and fear

Avoidant Personality Disorder Pervasive pattern of behavior characterized by feelings of extreme social inhibition, and feelings of inadequacy and inferiority.
Dependent Personality Disorder Is characterized by a pervasive psychological dependence on other people.
Obsessive compulsive Disorder Undesirable thoughts known as obsessions, which compels repetitive behaviors, known as compulsions.


Treatment options for personality disorders include medication management and consistent counseling to help manage emotions. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can be exceptionally helpful for those with personality disorders because DBT, a form of cognitive behavior therapy, is designed to help people change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving while also accepting who they are.


Looking to learn more about DBT or personality disorders?

Contact Owens Counseling Services at (847) 854-4333 to schedule an appointment!