Cluster C Personality Disorders

Cluster C Personality Disorders

Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious and fearful thinking and behaviors. These personality disorders can cause extreme distress and may be damaging to personal relationships. Treatment consists of medication and therapy to address problematic behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to anxiety and fear.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant personality disorder is characterized by intense sensitivity to rejection and criticism, feelings of inadequacy, avoidance of social interactions, social inhibition, and fear of ridicule and disapproval. People with avoidant personality disorder present a lifelong pattern of extreme shyness and avoidance of social interactions. People with this disorder may have difficulty believing that others like them on a personal level or that they are unworthy of being liked or loved. These behaviors and thought patterns can result in feelings of intense isolation, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Treatment involves medication and therapy to minimize symptoms and change thought patterns that cause distress.

Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by excessive dependence on others for emotional support, placing responsibility for your mood and emotional state on others, clingy behaviors, lack of self-esteem and confidence, difficulty accepting criticism, passive-aggressive behaviors, tolerance of unhealthy treatment and relationships, and the immediate need to start new relationships after a breakup. People with this disorder will struggle immensely with being alone. They may be naïve or submissive and require constant reassurance. They will often be devastated when friendships or relationships end. Treatment is centered on symptom management and behavior modification. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and psychotherapy are all beneficial treatment models for dependent personality disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder should not be confused with the anxiety disorder known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. Though some characteristics are shared between the two, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder has separate criteria for diagnosis. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by preoccupation with orderliness, rigid adherence to rules, perfectionism to the extreme, desire to control situations and people, hoarding tendencies, and extreme inflexibility. Persons with this disorder may have difficulty in expressing their feelings, forming and maintaining close interpersonal relationships. They may often feel indignant, angry, and isolated. They may also experience anxiety and depression. Treatment will include cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, and relaxation training to manage symptoms and lessen the disorder’s impact on the patient’s life.

Seeking Treatment

If you suspect you may have one of these personality disorders, you will want to speak with your primary care provider to refer you to mental health services. At your first mental health appointment, you will undergo an evaluation to determine if you meet the criteria for diagnosis. Then the provider will partner with you to create a comprehensive treatment plan that will help you manage your symptoms and establish healthier patterns of behavior.

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