Personality disorders definitions


Former desparate mom
Antisocial Personality Disordert

Antisocial Personality Disorder results in what is commonly known as a Sociopath. The numbers of persons with this disorder are much higher than generally thought, with nearly 6% of men and over 1% of women having this disorder. The criteria for this disorder require an ongoing disregard for the rights of others, since the age of 15 years. Some examples of this disregard are reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others, failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors, deceitfulness such as repeated lying or deceit for personal profit or pleasure, and lack of remorse for actions that hurt other people in any way. Additionally, they must have evidenced a Conduct Disorder before the age of 15 years, and must be at least 18 years old to receive this diagnosis.

People with this disorder appear to be charming at times, and make relationships, but to them, these are relationships in name only. They are ended whenever necessary or when it suits them, and the relationships are without depth or meaning, including marriages. They seem to have an innate ability to find the weakness in people, and are ready to use these weaknesses to their own ends through deceit, manipulation, or intimidation, and gain pleasure from doing so.

They appear to be incapable of any true emotions, from love to shame to guilt. They are quick to anger, but just as quick to let it go, without holding grudges. No matter what emotion they state they have, it has no bearing on their future actions or attitudes.

The rarely are able to have jobs that last for any length of time, as they become easily bored, instead needing constant change. They live for the moment, forgetting the past, and not planning the future, not thinking ahead what consequences their actions will have. They want immediate rewards and gratification.

Treating antisocial personality disorder can be difficult as those with this disorder may have little or no desire to change themselves, which is a prerequisite. No medication is available either. Appropriate treatments for antisocial personality disorder include group psychotherapy, having feedback from peers, and constructive confrontation of inappropriate behaviors.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (Borderline (BPD)) occurs in approximately 2% of the population. It is a disorder in which a person has a pattern of unstable personal relationships, a self-image that is not well formed, and poor impulse control in areas such as spending, sexual conduct, driving, eating, and substance abuse. Additionally, the person suffering from Borderline (BPD) fears abandonment and will go to any length to prevent this. They feel chronic emptiness.

One of the hallmarks of Borderline (BPD) is known as "splitting". This is where the person with Borderline (BPD) will swing between idealizing and devaluing people in relationships. They will pit people against one another, making one group the "white hats" and the other the "black hats". A person is either good or bad, the person with Borderline (BPD) being unable to reconcile that there is both good and bad within a person. And this categorization of a person may shift from day to day, the person being good one day and bad the next.

There may be suicidal threats, gestures or attempts made by the person with Borderline (BPD). There may also be self-mutilation that occurs. Their mood may be very prone to outside stress, with feelings of depression and anger readily provoked, with anxiety also a common occurrence. With extreme stress, the person with Borderline (BPD) may experience paranoid ideation, or may have dissociative symptoms such as "running on automatic" and disconnecting from reality.

The treatment for Borderline (BPD) may consist of medication and therapy. Antidepressants may help with depression while specific SSRI's (prozac, zoloft, etc) may help with impulse control. Mood stabilizers (antiepileptics such as tegretol, depakote) can help with mood swings and irritability. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and the related Dialectical Behavior Therapy are the two most common therapies used in the treatment of Borderline (BPD).

Paranoid Personality Disorders

The person with a Paranoid Personality Disorder essentially has an ongoing, unbased suspiciousness and distrust of people. Along with this, they are emotionally detached. In order to have this diagnosis, the person would have to have seen others as having malevolent intentions, by early adulthood in different situations, as indicated by a number of different factors. These factors include: suspicion that others are exploiting, or deceiving them, that others may not be loyal or trustworthy, believes there are threats or attacks on their character in innocent statements that others do not see, and bears persistent grudges. Additionally, this is not a diagnosis which would be used if the person also has Paranoid Schizophrenia, a separate diagnosis, for example, among other diagnosis which would exclude it.

As a rule, those with paranoid personality disorders can be very draining to be around, as their constant habit of blame and suspicion makes one feel the need to reassure them on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, when reassurances are made, those with this disorder hear contradictory evidence. They view it as more evidence that harm will be done to them.

They tend to think in hierarchy: who controls the power. They want to know who has the power in any given situation. They tend to drive people away from them, and thus have few friends, proving to themselves even more that there is a conspiracy afoot against them. This leads them to have a very lonely life.

Treatment of Paranoid Personality Disorder is difficult because they automatically distrust the therapist. A business-like approach, without "insight oriented therapy" is best indicated.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic Personality Disorder is characterized by a person who is always calling attention to themself and being overly dramatic. They are overly dramatic, and minor situations can cause wild swings in emotions. They easily become bored with normal routines, and crave new, novel situations and excitement. In relationships, they form bonds quickly, but the relationships are often shallow, with the person demanding increasing amounts of attention.

By Derek Wood, RN, BC, MS


New Member
great overview, fran!!

it seems to me that the stats might be slightly off as people with-these disorders tend to not seek therapy generally speaking.



Active Member
thanks so much fran. I have read these before but this post really helps describe it clearly!
reminds me of:
my ex
my ex-highschool boyfriend
so now that I know this stuff-hopefully it helps me steer clear of these folks. I used to say I was a "magnet for the mentally ill"
My son is 14 1/2 ( going on 25????) but his last pschologist/ psychiatrist diagnosis him as "Anti Social Personality Traits Emerging" But he doesn't have the complete diagnosis because of age. It's just a graduation from RSD as I understand.

His Therapist & Residential Treatment Center (RTC) now are realllly trying to confront him daily, but also encourage & support him as required by ANY kid. Some days are good, some aren't at all.

But we all believe this teen can change- IF he so chooses.
This is very clear and concise. It says that 2% of the population has borderline personality disorder. Sometimes this diagnosis is given too readily. It is very serious.