Cluster A Personality Disorders
Personality disorders fall into three separate clusters. Each condition has its own specific diagnostic criteria and symptoms. Still, the common thread with personality disorders is that each can present unique challenges, disruptions, and difficulties in everyday life. Personality disorders tend to affect the way people behave, feel, and think.
Cluster A Personality Disorders
Often referred to as the odd, eccentric Cluster, these terms can be stigmatizing and clinical. Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by disordered thinking that can result in social and interpersonal problems. Cluster A personality disorders are often treated with a combination of therapy and medication regimens to ease symptoms and instill coping skills. Medications often include a combination of mood stabilizers and antipsychotics, as well as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. Cluster A disorders can be managed and do not need to define an individual. There are three personality disorders under the Cluster A umbrella.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Paranoid personality disorder can be characterized by deep suspicion and distrust of others, belief that others mean you harm, difficulty trusting others, and hostility and anger at perceived slights. Persons with paranoid personality disorder may struggle to trust romantic partners, friends, and even family members. Persons with paranoid personality disorder may be argumentative, stubborn, or even hostile. They will struggle to trust mental health professionals, making treatment a bit of a challenge.
Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid Personality Disorder is characterized by a lack of interest in interpersonal relationships, limited emotional expression, lack of interest or pleasure in most activities, and an inability to read social cues. Persons with this disorder may experience difficulty in maintaining friendships, though they may find success in careers where they work alone. Treatment generally consists of mood-stabilizing medications and consistent therapy to develop coping skills and social skills.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
Schizotypal Personality disorder is characterized by the unusual perceptual experience that diverges from the norm, inappropriate emotional responses, lack of or disinterest with interpersonal relationships, and magical thinking. Magical thinking is defined as a belief that an event or action can influence events without a plausible link. Persons with this disorder may not understand the impact of their behaviors on others and may misinterpret the actions and motivations of others, resulting in feelings of anxiety, isolation, and distrust in social situations. Treatment for this disorder is comprised of mood-stabilizing and antipsychotic medication and therapy to manage symptoms.
Schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder can share symptoms with schizophrenia but differ in that people with these disorders remain in touch with reality and are unlikely to experience hallucinations, psychosis, or altered mental states with any frequency.
If you suspect that you may have a personality disorder, reach out to your primary care provider to schedule an appointment. Share your concerns with your provider and request a referral for mental health services.