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Could You Have a Personality Disorder?

Updated: Feb 11, 2021

By Caitlin Wilson

Do you think you have a personality disorder? If you answered yes to this question, you are not as alone as you may believe. In fact, it is estimated that around 10-13% of people would be diagnosed with at least one personality disorder. And while personality disorders have received a bad stigma in today’s society, having a disorder doesn’t mean anything other than having difficulty picking up and relating to people and some circumstances in an

environment. affirms that, “People with personality disorders have long-standing patterns of thinking and acting that differ from what society considers usual or normal,” and notes, “Personality disorders are characterized by fixed, enduring and extreme patterns of thoughts and behaviors that deviate from the expectations of society and cause significant amounts of impairment across several areas of a person’s life.” Thus, personality disorders should not attract all the negative connotations it is associated with. Disorders can be very slight and can even enhance certain areas of a person’s life.

First, let’s discuss the attributes that contribute to whether or not someone has a personality disorder. The spectrum of disorders varies greatly, they can be anywhere from a minute tik to an extreme form of bipolar. However, if you do have a personality disorder, you are most likely going to be the last person to notice. This is due to the fact your behavior and way of thinking appear normal to you because you have likely acted or thought this way for most of your life. Additionally, exhibited symptoms are normally very slight in less severe cases.

Most personality disorders usually begin somewhere in adolescence into young adulthood.

This makes sense in that your personality is primarily developed in childhood. Personality is the union of your emotions, behavior, and thoughts that make you unique and is shaped predominantly by two factors, your genes and the environment. Some personality traits can be passed from parent to child by way of inherited genes, often referred to as one’s temperance. This is not to say that if your parents had a particular disorder you will too, because personality is also affected by one’s environment and circumstances. Your environment includes the surrounding in which you grew up, relationships with family and friends, and other situations that occurred. Think of it this way - your genes make you vulnerable to certain personality disorders that can be triggered by a singular or multiple events that took place throughout your life. Moreover, these two aspects for the most part control whether or not you have a personality disorder. If you have one, it is not uncommon that you have a second or several personality disorders, recognized as mixed personality disorder.

Most commonly, personality disorders are organized into three main groups by a standard reference book for mental illness, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The three categories are described as Cluster A, Cluster B, and Cluster C. Cluster A personality disorders are referred to as “eccentric” disorders. People with this type of disorder usually exhibit odd or peculiar behavior or appearance. One of the more known disorders under this area is known as paranoid personality disorder in which people rarely trust the intentions of others. Cluster B personality disorders are described as “dramatic.” These people are often emotionally unstable and have a distorted self-image. Under this umbrella are antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. Lastly, people with a Cluster C disorder, distinguished as “anxious” personality disorders, can be regularly nervous and afraid of people or the prospect that a certain event might occur. These include avoidant personality disorder and a widely known illness called obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Personality disorders are among the least identifiable and understood mental illnesses, so acknowledging that you have one can be difficult. If you believe that yourself or someone you know may have a personality disorder, it is important to learn about the behaviors exhibited by people with disorders and how to help manage them. Information regarding types of personality disorders and access to help can be found at and at


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