Our personality, i.e. the way we think, feel, behave, and respond to others, defines and differentiates us from others. So, while small changes are inevitable, personality disorders are drastic alterations in our actions and thought patterns that deviate from social norms and negatively affect the daily lives of us and those around us.
However, most may not realize that they suffer from a personality disorder, because to them their behavior appears normal and natural.
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Due to overlapping of symptoms, mental health specialists generally refer to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) classification for an accurate diagnosis. According to the DSM -5, the 10 personality disorders are grouped into 3 clusters:
- Cluster A-Odd and Eccentric
- Cluster B-Dramatic Emotional and Erratic
- Cluster C-Anxious and Fearful
Defined by social awkwardness and withdrawal due to unusual, and often delusional behavior, cluster A comprises of the following 3 disorders:
1- Paranoid Personality Disorder:
According to top psychiatrists in Pakistan, the defining trait of paranoid personality disorder is a persistent mistrust of both strangers and close relations despite evidence to the contrary. Such individuals are convinced that everyone is out to either harm, deceive, humiliate, or take advantage of them, and often question the motives and actions of others.
This results in an inability to confide in others for fear of being blackmailed, and extremely non-social behavior. People with paranoid personality disorder may also:
- Read non-existent threats and dangers into everyday situations.
- Observe close relations closely for signs of betrayal and hostility, like unjustly suspecting their spouse of cheating.
- Be hostile towards, and physically attack those who they perceive as personal threats.
- Hold grudges, exhibit jealousy, and be ready to take legal action over small matters.
- Perceive innocent remarks and general comments as threats and insults.
- Proactively distance themselves from others as a means of protection.
2- Schizoid Personality Disorder:
Relatively rare among Type A disorders, schizoid personality disorder is defined by limited emotional expressions and gestures (like not returning smiles or nods), and a visible social and emotional detachment from relationships.
Described as ‘loners’, those with schizoid disorder prefer solitary activities and have no interest in acquiring and fostering interpersonal relationships, even with their families, and are hence indifferent to praise and criticism alike. Other characteristics include:
- Taking little pleasure in life
- Feeling that relationships are problematic and interfere with personal freedom.
- Disliking interference from others.
- Appearing emotionally detached, aloof, and cold
- Obliviousness or lack of acknowledgement towards social practices, gestures, and norms, making others feel ignored, and forming an impression of being bland and inattentive.
3- Schizotypal Personality Disorder:
In addition to key schizoid traits, individuals with the disorder also display eccentric behavior and delusional thinking. Examples include hearing voices whisper their name, noticing light flashes where there are none, suspecting that someone is watching them from the shadows, and seeing objects or shadows in the corners of their eyes only to realize that they were mistaken.
The disorder is generally more common in individuals with a family history or a family member suffering from Schizophrenia; a closely-related mental disorder. Other characteristics include:
- Possessing and being deluded by odd beliefs, such as convincing themselves of the ability to read minds, along with an insistent belief in superstitious, fantastical, and supernatural ideas and phenomena.
- Expressing oneself through unusual words and phrases
- Incorrectly believing normal events to hold special ‘hidden’ messages meant only for them
- Anxiety and paranoia in social situations
- An odd taste in clothing
- Constantly feeling that they don’t ‘fit in’ due to hyperawareness of people’s discomfort in response to their eccentric, delusional behavior.
For a positive personality disorder diagnosis, symptoms must be consistent over at least a year prior to diagnosis. In which case, do not hesitate to consult a specialist as personality disorders can have a resonant impact on life quality. You can also book an appointment with a top Psychiatrist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT Doctor for your mental health concerns.