Personality Disorders

A personality disorder is a mental health condition characterized by persistent, pervasive, disruptive patterns of thoughts, behavior, mood, and interpersonal interactions. These patterns generate considerable distress and impede a person’s ability to function.

It’s conceivable for a person with a personality disorder to be unaware of their condition. This is because their atypical way of thinking and behaving may seem normal to them, and they may blame others for their struggles. Personality disorders frequently develop during adolescence or early adulthood. Approximately 9% of adults in the U.S. are considered to have at least one personality disorder.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are ten distinct personality disorders, each with its own set of symptoms and defining traits. These types can be divided into three categories based on shared signs and symptoms.

  • Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by unconventional or eccentric thoughts or behaviors.
  • Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by extreme and chaotic behavior.
  • Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by intense anxiety and fear.

Personality disorders treated by Turning Point Centers include:

Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective Disorder – The hallmarks of schizoaffective disorder include the co-occurrence of schizophrenia symptoms like hallucinations and delusions with mood disorder symptoms like mania and depression. This rare condition is persistent and debilitating. Only 0.3% of the population will experience the schizoaffective disorder in their lifetime. Although schizoaffective disorder affects both genders equally, men typically show signs of the condition at a younger age than women.

The following are the two types of schizoaffective disorder, both of which include some symptoms of schizophrenia:

  • Bipolar type – Involving episodes of mania and sometimes major depression
  • Depressive type – Involving only major depressive episodes

Untreated schizoaffective disorder can cause difficulties functioning at work, school, and social situations, resulting in loneliness and difficulty maintaining a job or attending school. These individuals may require assistance and support in their daily lives.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD)

Schizotypal Personality Disorder (SPD) – is characterized by an ingrained pattern of thinking and behaving marked by intense discomfort with close relationships and social interactions. People who have schizotypal personality disorder are generally labeled as quirky or eccentric. They may avoid people they irrationally mistrust due to their adherence to magical thinking, superstition, or paranoia. They could be speaking incoherently or dressing bizarrely. Their inability to develop meaningful relationships or achieve professional or academic success may result from these habits. A schizotypal personality disorder is a relatively rare condition that affects between 3% to 5% of the population in the United States.

Signs and Symptoms

Individuals with schizoaffective disorder may have a wide range of symptoms. Patients with this condition suffer from both psychotic symptoms like hallucinations and delusions and mood disorder symptoms like mania and depression.

Other signs and symptoms of schizoaffective disorder include, but are not limited to:

  • Communication and speech impairment
  • Occupational, academic, and social impairments
  • Unusual or strange behavior
  • Difficulties in maintaining personal hygiene

There are three primary characteristics of schizotypal personality disorder. The first is a diminished capacity to create close relationships, which can be extremely distressing. The second symptom is feeling cognitive or perceptual abnormalities. The third is eccentric behavior. These must significantly affect a person’s daily functioning; this is a prerequisite for all personality disorders.

Other signs and symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder include, but are not limited to:

  • Severe social anxiety
  • Strange beliefs, fantasies, or preoccupations
  • Strange convictions and obsessions
  • Strange behavior and appearance
  • Unusual speech that may be vague or confusing
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining connections, absence of close companions
  • A lack of or inappropriate emotional reactions
  • Extreme paranoia

Risk Factors

As with most personality disorders, what triggers schizoaffective disorder and schizotypal personality disorder in some people is not yet fully understood. The emergence of these personality disorders may result from several interrelated factors, including:

  • Genetics – A family history of personality disorders can increase your chances of contracting these conditions.
  • Stress – Stressful life events such as a family death, divorce, or job loss can cause symptoms or develop these conditions.
  • Drug abuse – Substance abuse may be an additional risk factor for those with a genetic susceptibility to this condition.
  • Trauma – Children subjected to trauma, abuse, or neglect are at a greater risk of developing these conditions as they get older.

A higher chance of developing schizotypal personality disorder is also present in those with bipolar disorder, PTSD, borderline personality disorder, or narcissistic personality disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A mental health professional must examine the patient’s functioning and symptoms over time to diagnose a personality disorder. Patients must be 18 or older to receive a diagnosis. Personality disorders are uncommon in those under 18 because of how rapidly their minds and personalities change at that age.

Despite the differences in each personality disorder, most patients respond well to psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) and medication. These treatments can be given individually or in combination. The most effective treatment depends on the type of personality disorder you have, its severity, and other factors. Turning Point’s highly trained mental health specialists work collaboratively to address your psychological, physiological, and social concerns.

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