Personality disorders are a group of mental conditions in which a person has a long-term pattern of maladaptive behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that are very different from cultural expectations. These behaviors interfere with the person's ability to function in relationships, at work, and in other settings.
One way to think about personality disorders is that they are patterns of thinking and behavior that represent extreme expressions of normal personality features. These extreme manifestations of personality are no longer adaptive, but instead cause problems for the individual. In other words, what might otherwise be considered normal idiosyncrasies have developed into ingrained and unhealthy patterns of thinking, expressing emotions, perceiving the world, and relating to others.
There are 10 distinct personality disorders, but they are generally grouped into three categories called "clusters." These clusters include:
- Cluster A: odd or eccentric behavior
- Cluster B: dramatic, emotional, or erratic behavior, and
- Cluster C: anxious or fearful behavior