What is Personality Disorder?

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

A personality disorder is a condition related to an individual's personality. Until recently, an altered or unbalanced personality was not considered a mental health issue or considered treatable. However, personality disorders are now recognised as lying within the spectrum of mental health disorders and are amenable to treatment.

Personality disorders may arise due to several factors ranging from genetic traits that dictate certain personality features, through to life experiences that determine attitudes towards life and the way people interact with others. The features of a person's personality that may be altered in the case of a personality disorder include behavioural patterns, social interaction, mood and degree of impulsiveness.

A diagnosis of personality disorder is made only if these altered features are having a significant effect on a person's work, personal or social life.

Symptoms of personality disorders

Some of the major features of personality disorders include:

  • An inability to sustain meaningful, close or intimate relationships
  • Inability to establish a coherent sense of self or self identity
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Violent, manipulative, demanding, fearful or even hostile behaviour
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Worsening of symptoms with stress
  • Being secluded or introverted
  • Co-existence of other psychiatric disorders such as eating disorders, anxiety, depression and mood disorders
  • Sexual deviation and problems
  • Suicidal thoughts and attempts

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosing personality disorders remains a challenge and the condition is often diagnosed while diagnosing other co-morbid psychiatric or mood disorders such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders.

Types of personality disorder

There are three major groups of personality disorders - groups A, B and C:

Cluster A personality disorders generally describe conditions where individuals live in a fantasy world and are out of touch with reality, such as paranoid personality disorder.

Cluster B disorders manifest with extreme mood swings, an inability to control feelings and emotional outbursts. An example would be borderline personality disorder.

Cluster C disorders are typically characterized by fear and anxiety with very withdrawn, introverted behaviour and low self-esteem.

Some mild-to-moderate personality disorders are treatable with psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy or with counselling. Others may require medication in addition to psychotherapy, mainly to stabilize mood and treat any associated psychiatric components of the condition.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Mandal, Ananya. (2023, June 10). What is Personality Disorder?. News-Medical. Retrieved on March 04, 2024 from https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Personality-Disorder.aspx.

  • MLA

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Personality Disorder?". News-Medical. 04 March 2024. <https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Personality-Disorder.aspx>.

  • Chicago

    Mandal, Ananya. "What is Personality Disorder?". News-Medical. https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Personality-Disorder.aspx. (accessed March 04, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Mandal, Ananya. 2023. What is Personality Disorder?. News-Medical, viewed 04 March 2024, https://www.news-medical.net/health/What-is-Personality-Disorder.aspx.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment