According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “An estimated nine percent of U.S. adults have at least one personality disorder.” That percentage really hits home when you realize that that means that nearly 30 million Americans are struggling with personality disorders every year.
What Exactly Are Personality Disorders?
If so many people are struggling with personality disorders, why isn’t there more discussion surrounding those disorders? The truth is that there actually is. However, they are just not being discussed under the moniker of “personality disorder” because there are so many subtypes of personality disorders that are much more recognizable in conversation.
Before we get to those types, it is important to establish a more broad understanding of personality disorders. In their publication, Personality Disorder, Drs. Fariba, Gupta, and Kass explain that “Personality disorders are pervasive, maladaptive, and chronic patterns of behavior, cognition, and mood. Persons who have personality disorders experience distorted perceptions of reality and abnormal affective responses, ultimately manifesting in distress across all aspects of the individual’s life, including occupational difficulties, impaired social functioning, and interpersonal hardships.”
Now, because that definition is overarching, it is important to note that personality disorders range from the more manageable to the more severe. As with most issues of mental illness, there is a spectrum by which the types can be gauged.
Types of Personality Disorders Frequently Discussed
As previously mentioned, the term “personality disorder” may not be discussed by many people, but some of its types often are. These types include the most common personality disorders: obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and borderline personality disorder (BPD).
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
While it may be confusing, it is important to understand that obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) are not the same thing. OCD primarily resides in the realm of intrusive thoughts, while OCPD involves the need to be exceptionally focused on perfection and order.
A major aspect of OCPD is one’s inability to veer off of a set schedule. This also includes sticking to a routine that may go against one’s values, because the urge to keep things in order supersedes logic.
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of OCPD include:
- An inability to get rid of things, including things that hold no value
- Not having any flexibility over a schedule
- Difficulty or an unwillingness to show or give affection
- An attempt to control what other people do
- Showing a lack of generosity
- Being overly dedicated to work (a lack of balanced priorities)
- An excessive focus on rules
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
When it comes to NPD, it is important not to get this disorder confused with simply being narcissistic. Yes, we perhaps all know someone that may be overly narcissistic. While this may be unpleasant, it does not mean they have NPD. In fact, a little bit of narcissism is often okay, because it involves having a level of self-confidence.
Someone with NPD feels an absolute need to be admired and they will also often lack empathy for others. People with NPD also have an inflated sense of entitlement and will often utilize their lack of empathy to prey upon others.
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of NPD include:
- Having an inflated sense of self-importance
- Being preoccupied with sole-success
- Feeling entitled
- Expressing the need to only be around people who are successful and/or “special”
- Feeling like they must be admired by others
Borderline Personality Disorder
Perhaps one of the best-known and most common personality disorders is BPD. BPD includes patterned behaviors that involve extremely poor self-image, instability in relationships, and a lack of impulse control.
According to the APA, individuals with BPD “may go to great lengths to avoid being abandoned, have repeated suicide attempts, display inappropriate intense anger, or have ongoing feelings of emptiness.”
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of BPD include:
- Not being able to control emotions and tending to “fly off of the handle” in seemingly minor situations
- Having regular feelings of “emptiness”
- Difficulty communicating with others, especially regarding feelings and emotions
- Having paranoid feelings that others are conspiring against them or that they are unliked by other people
- Feeling depressed and anxious, even to the point of self-harm or suicidal ideations or attempts
The Recovery Mission at Clearview Girls Academy
Whether a student is struggling with an issue of mental health like a personality disorder or life-controlling issues, we can help. We have been helping people successfully since 1996.
Here at Clearview Girls Academy, our primary purpose has always remained the same. This purpose is to help our students not just feel better short term but to help them carry that recovery out into the rest of their lives. We show our students how to lead because we know they will soon be the leaders of tomorrow.
There are many types of personality disorders. The most common three are obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD), narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), and borderline personality disorder (BPD). Garnering a better understanding of these personality disorders can help you discern the warning signs that can help you get your daughter the help she needs sooner rather than later. If you feel like your daughter may be experiencing issues of mental illness and/or substance use disorder (SUD), please know that there is help. You and your daughter don’t have to keep living like this. For more information on personality disorders and some of the best options for treating them, please reach out to Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.