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What are the different personality disorders?

The DSM-5 classifies the 10 main personality disorders into three clusters. Cluster A includes paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. Cluster B includes antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Cluster C includes avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Who can diagnose personality disorders?

Personality disorders can be diagnosed by trained mental health professionals, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and licensed clinical social workers. A diagnosis is based on questionnaires and interviews with the patient—and sometimes their family members or friends—to assess if the patient’s symptoms align with the diagnostic criteria for a specific personality disorder in the DSM-5. The clinician may also conduct a physical exam, if other causes need to be ruled out.

What is the best therapy type for personality disorders?

The best therapy type may differ depending on the specific personality disorder, but one effective approach is Dialectical behavior therapy. Dialectical behavior therapy involves learning skills to tolerate distress, regulate emotions, practice mindfulness, and maintain healthy relationships under the close guidance of a therapist. Other types of therapy that can treat personality disorders include mentalization-based therapy, psychodynamic therapy, schema-focused therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy.

Can you overcome personality disorders with therapy?

Personality disorders are more difficult to treat than other mental health disorders, but change is always possible with the help of an experienced therapist. The effectiveness of treatment also depends on the particular disorder. For example, a systematic review and meta-analysis of therapies to treat borderline personality disorder concluded that psychotherapy, particularly dialectical behavior therapy and psychodynamic approaches, were effective in reducing borderline symptoms.