Personality disorders, formerly referred to as character disorders, are a class of personality types and behaviors that the American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines as "an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the culture of the individual who exhibits it".
Personality disorders are noted on Axis II of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-IV-TR (fourth edition, text revision) of the American Psychiatric Association.
Personality disorders are also defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), which is published by the World Health Organization.
Personality disorders are categorized in Mental and behavioural disorders, specifically under Mental and behavioral disorders.
These behavioral patterns in personality disorders are typically associated with severe disturbances in the behavioral tendencies of an individual, usually involving several areas of the personality, and are nearly always associated with considerable personal and social disruption.
Additionally, personality disorders are inflexible and pervasive across many situations, due in large part to the fact that such behavior is ego-syntonic (i.e. the patterns are consistent with the ego integrity of the individual) and are, therefore, perceived to be appropriate by that individual.
The onset of these patterns of behavior can typically be traced back to late adolescence and the beginning of adulthood and, in rarer instances, childhood. They are still widely considered amongst psychiatrists as being valid disorders, for example by Theodore Millon.
- Depressive personality disorder - is a pervasive pattern of depressive cognitions and behaviors beginning by early adulthood.
- Passive-aggressive personality disorder (negativististic personality disorder) - is a pattern of negative attitudes and passive resistance in interpersonal situations.
The following disorders are still considered to be valid disorders by Millon. and so did not have any concrete diagnostic criteria.
- Sadistic personality disorder - is a pervasive pattern of cruel, demeaning and aggressive behavior.
- Self-defeating personality disorder (masochistic personality disorder) - is characterised by behaviour consequently undermining the person's pleasure and goals.
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