Cluster B Personality Disorders
Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by overly emotional, dramatic, and often unpredictable behaviors and thought patterns. These disorders can contribute to self-destructive patterns, poor interpersonal relationships, and significant disruptions in daily life. Identifying the characteristics of the disorders under the Cluster B umbrella can be the first step in addressing the struggles that these disorders can present.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder, also called sociopathy, is characterized by disregarding others’ feelings and needs, persistent antisocial behaviors, recurring legal issues, aggressive or violent behavior, disregard for safety, poor impulse control, lack of remorse, and pervasive irresponsibility. Persons with antisocial personality disorder may be antagonistic or manipulative. Adults with antisocial personality disorder may have shown symptoms characteristic of conduct disorder before the age of 15, including theft, destruction of property, aggression towards animals and people, and repeated violation of rules. Antisocial behaviors associated with this disorder may decrease with age. Treatment can include intensive therapies and medication.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is characterized by impulsive and risky behaviors, fragile self-image, volatile relationships, mood swings, self-harming behaviors, suicidal behaviors, intense fear of abandonment, feelings of emptiness, and intense displays of anger. These behaviors tend to push people away, further intensifying and perpetuating the fear of abandonment and intolerance of being alone. Treatment can be highly effective and includes medication and therapy to learn appropriate coping strategies and interpersonal skills.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by attention-seeking behaviors, black and white thinking, a shallow sense of self, and rapidly changing emotions, thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Persons with histrionic personality disorder may possess good social skills. Still, they may use those skills to manipulate others to meet their need for attention. Persons with this disorder may be preoccupied with appearances and social approval. These persons may experience a high level of sensitivity to any perceived criticism and a low tolerance for boredom and frustration. They may be characterized as self-centered and reckless. Treatment includes psychotherapy and interpersonal skill-building.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a belief that the sufferer is more important or deserving than others, delusions of grandeur, disregard for others’ feelings and needs, arrogance, unreasonable expectations, and excessive envy or jealousy. A person with this disorder may expect excessive praise and approval and will possess a fragile sense of self. These persons will be sensitive to the slightest of criticisms. They may find their interpersonal relationships unfulfilling if they do not receive the special treatment they feel they are entitled to. These behaviors can cause significant issues in their personal and professional lives. Treatment generally focuses on talk therapy.
Though these disorders present particular challenges in diagnoses and treatment, a sincere commitment to change and to the treatment course can yield significant, lasting, and positive results.