10 Top Personality Disorder Types
Understanding the top personality disorder types and the categories they fall into is useful for connecting with people in various daily situations.
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As the saying goes “knowledge is power”. Knowing and understanding the various types of people we live with or run into can help us in otherwise dangerous situations.
Understanding various personality disorder types (and irregular behavioral traits) can help us in everyday life.
When we are aware that someone isn’t just “being an a**hole” and that they lack capabilities in certain areas, it changes the way we interact with them.
Not only are we able to try to help them, but we can protect ourselves with this information. We can also potentially stop them from wreaking havoc on others.
Speaking from past experience, I think it’s important that people (especially people in questionable relationships) are aware of all types of personality disorders.
All too often we may be deceptively pulled in with charisma and a false sense of appreciation.
The truth is that people with narcissism, paranoid or antisocial personality disorders (to name a few) don’t have the same emotional capacities as someone without a disorder.
Depending on how severe and/or smart the individual with the disorder is, you won’t be aware of how unhealthy and potentially dangerous your relationship with them is.
In my experience, the person with “X” disorder was willing to spend years to widdle me down into whatever it was they wanted me to be.
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We all know hindsight is 2020 and for me that is so true. I didn’t realize the severity of my situation until irrational behavior was a part of everyday arguments. Eventually when I put my foot down, things got dangerous.
To end my little rant, educating yourself on personality disorder types is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others around you.
So let’s get into it shall we!?
In no particular order, here are the top 10 personality disorder types…
- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
Aside from learning about ten different types of personality disorders, you may be interested to become familiar with the three different categories they fall under.
Below, I’ve outlined the three categories and have included the personality disorders per category.
The three categories are generally described in groups as follows...
Group A - “Suspicious”, Group B - “Emotional and Compulsive” and Group C - “Anxious”
Group A - “Suspicious”
I don’t really care for the labeling of this group but it makes sense per the personality disorder types it houses.
I know it’s hard to think about someone you know and love always having some sort of suspicious paranoid personality.
But the reality is that is usually the case with the disorders found in “Group A”.
Group A consists of Schizoid Personality Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Paranoid Personality Disorder.
We’ll dive into the specifics of these three in a moment but I wanted to help paint a better picture of this overall group first.
People who's disorders are characterized in Group A “Suspicious”, would exhibit signs of irregular behavior.
This includes lack of trust, antisocial behavior, the inability to relate to others. They often have a tendency to use irregular language to describe things or communicate.
People in this category usually find it difficult to make friends as they don’t really care to relate to others.
Schizoid Personality Disorder
This disorder honestly reminded me of the character Sheldon Cooper from the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”.
A person with Schizoid Personality Disorder would rarely be interested in sexual relations. They also wouldn’t be able to recognize typical social cues and have difficulty making friends.
They also would seem cold and somewhat distant from people and would often prefer to be by themselves.
It’s no surprise that someone with this personality disorder wouldn’t be married or in a committed relationship as they don’t seem to acknowledge the emotional benefits of being with someone else.
Sheldon Cooper to a T, right!?
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
This disorder is somewhat similar to the Schizoid Personality Disorder when it comes to lack of social skills and cold emotional presence.
However, a major difference is that people with Schizotypal Personality Disorder would believe that they have the ability of special powers such as mind reading or controlling the thoughts and actions of others.
Needless to say, this could be a dangerous thing. I was surprised to find out that people with this particular disorder have extreme social anxiety.
This leads me to believe that their believed ability to read people’s minds is often a negative experience.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
In my opinion, this disorder seems much like the last two without the belief of mind reading or special abilities. A person with paranoid personality disorder would be especially distrusting of everyone around them.
They would even believe that people are out to harm them so it's much deeper than lack of social skills.
Paranoid reactions would be common as people with this disorder would automatically assume that people are trying to insult them, hurt them and basically do everything they can to "get them".
I can’t imagine it’s easy to live with someone with this disorder. I’m not sure how well they are able to rationalize if someone were to try to explain that they are not out “to get them” but I’m guessing not very well.
Additionally, people with paranoid personality disorders will hold resentment toward others as they are constantly lying to themselves about people's intensions.
Group B - “Emotional and Compulsive”
The term “dramatic” has also been used to briefly describe how people within this group function in their disorders.
While this term has been coined as nearly an insulting adjective for someone, the true term absolutely applies to the personality disorder types found in this group.
I found some of the information about the disorders in this group to be surprising.
I thought for certain that I was more familiar with this group of disorders than the other.
The four disorders found in this group are Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder.
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From a glance you might think that some people found in this group severely lack social skills, and some are manipulative and lack the ability to empathize with others.
You’d be correct, but there is so much more to it than I was aware of.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
I’d have to say, after researching these top 10 personality disorder types, I learned the most from this one.
I always assumed that someone with antisocial personality disorder was just someone with a severe lack of social skills. Someone who avoids group gatherings, and is generally just disinterested in group activities.
I was wrong.
The truth about someone who has been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder is that they can be dangerous toward others. They are also known to be and very reckless.
Most of the time this includes breaking the law by not caring what the outcome of poor choices could be. They are also impulsive and aggressive toward others.
The sad fact is that people with this disorder often do not have good relationships as they mistreat others and cannot be trusted.
There are so many psychotic traits to antisocial personality disorder that it can be hard to tell the two apart.
This article from promisesbehavioralhealth.com does a great job of explaining the differences and similarities between antisocial and psychopathy personality disorders.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Lately, I feel like I’ve been seeing more about narcissistic personality disorder than in past years - which is great!
It’s good that people are acknowledging it and educating themselves.
Someone with narcissistic personality disorder is someone who people would describe as selfish but those closest to them know it’s much more exhausting than that.
A narcissist will make everything about them and make everyone else feel irrelevant to them. They are intimidated (and even irritated) by the success of others and their self-esteem is extremely fragile.
A while ago I wrote an article on the 9 Signs of a Narcissist. Feel free to check it out if you’d like a more in depth explanation!
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder is one of few personality disorder types that I think some of us (without disorders) can relate to the most.
I’m not trying to downplay the symptoms, however, many of them are things the average person might experience on a much more mild scale every now and then.
It’s important to know what to look for as this is one of the most self-sabotaging disorders.
A person may have this disorder if they have serious mood swings, interrupting abandonment issues, or even if they are unable to keep meaningful relationships.
Another important factor to watch out for is self-harm or recklessness.
Obviously, this has been the characteristic of other disorders, but in this case, the self harm can be accompanied when the individual is being irrationally angry.
The symptoms of this disorder kind of remind me of someone who feels unworthy of love but doesn’t know that that’s what’s going on.
They would have a hard time trusting people and even if they let someone in and started to get close to them, their self-sabotaging behavior will most likely ruin the relationship.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
This disorder is another one that I can see being much more common than others. The symptoms of this disorder basically include feeling like you have to have people’s approval all the time.
Someone with histrionic personality disorder will go out of their way to get people’s attention such as by acting or dressing a certain way.
This is different from the “phases” we go through as adolescents. On some level, I think characteristics like that can be “grown out of” but not if you have an official diagnosis.
Obviously, a person with HPD would be easily influenced by other people as they are always seeking approval.
In my experience, unfortunately, these are the the kind of people you might see out somewhere and make fun of “how pathetic” or “desperate for attention” they are.
While that is absolutely the case, I think it is our job to not be so quick to judge. In most cases, the development of certain disorders comes from a place of pain and sadness.
While I’m not saying it’s a good idea to give these people with HPD the attention they’re seeking (this would only be enabling their illness), it's always good to be understand, compassionate and to use your best judgement in a situation like this.
Group C - “Anxious”
This group is very appropriately labelled as well. The three personality disorders found in this grouping are Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder and Avoidant Personality Disorder.
All three of these have very similar anxiety related characteristics.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
Surprisingly, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD) is different from the notorious “OCD” (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder).
It seems as though OCPD is a more extreme scenario as an individual with this disorder is not aware (nor would they believe) that they have a disorder.
They simply believe that everyone else is doing things the wrong way and that they’re right. This person might redo something such as a household task after you have done it already.
They do this because they have a very particular way of doing things that they believe to be the best way.
As frustrating as this can be, it’s important to understand that the need to do things as particularly as they do is not out of malice.
It’s because they are so structure oriented, they believe their way is how it HAS to be done. It’s no surprise that the cause of developing OCPD usually comes from an extreme amount of pressure to be “perfect” in certain areas as children.
I feel like many of us can relate to this but don’t overthink that. Many of us carry structural behaviors into adulthood that don’t stem into disorders.
Other symptoms include, lack of ability to have deep relationships and difficulty expressing their feelings. This is most likely because of how suppressed they were in the past.
Individuals with OCPD also experience inefficiency in their work due to their need for things to be perfect.
What I found interesting in this is that men are twice as likely to develop this disorder as women.
I’m forced to wonder if this is because often, little boys are taught not to cry or express their feelings so they bottle up their frustrations and end up developing this disorder as a coping mechanism.
The thought of that is crushingly sad (and infuriating).
Dependent Personality Disorder
Fortunately, the diagnosis rate of Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD) in the U.S. is very low.
The symptoms of this include an overwhelming need for the individual to feel cared for.
They also have a limiting belief that they need to be cared for because they don’t have the ability to care for themselves. They tend to have a low opinion of themselves and their capabilities.
People with DPD are extremely passive and submissive to the point where they will let people take advantage of them and not say or do anything to stop it for fear of losing any sort of approval.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
Avoidant Personality Disorder (APD) is characterized by individuals who do not take any sort of risks for fear of rejection.
This translates into many areas of their lives including their relationships.
It is very common for people with APD to avoid meaningful relationships out of fear that they will fail or end up being rejected.
Something that I used to be able to relate to that is a characteristic of APD is the extreme shameful/crushing feeling that you may have said or did something weird or foolish in a social setting.
People with APD tend to avoid social situations altogether so this does not happen.
Of course, people care much less about what each other says/does and this is a false limiting belief.
However, the feeling can be so daunting to the individual (with APD) that they are convinced it happens and is worth avoiding.
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I hope you enjoyed learning more about personality disorders!
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About the author
Hey there! I'm Marissa! I have a passion for writing about a variety of mental health topics that impact us in our daily lives. My hope is to share useful information to anyone seeking to improve their own lives in these important areas!