Personality Disorders
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Defined by ICD-10 and DSM – IV- TR as;

  • Lifelong, persistent, deeply ingrained maladaptive behaviour that:
  • characterizes an individual
  • deviates markedly from culturally expected or accepted ‘normal’ range
  • Onset in late childhood or early adolescence
Deviation has to manifest in more than one of the following areas:
  1. Cognition
  2. Affectivity
  3. Occupational and social performance
  4. Impulse control and need gratification
  5. Interpersonal function
Not explained by;
  • Other adult mental disorder
  • Organic disease, injury or dysfunction


Classification and characteristics

Cluster A

Paranoid – ‘delusional’
Schizoid – ‘socially withdrawn’
Schizotypal – ‘distorted reality’
  1. very sensitive/ easily offended
  2. suspicious
  3. distrusts loyalty
  4. holds grudges
  5. combative sense of personal rights
  6. self referential attitude
  7. unsubstantiated conspiratorial explanations
  1. No pleasure from any activities
  2. emotional coldness or flattened affectivity
  3. limited capacity to express
  4. indifferent to praise or criticism
  5. little interest in sexual experiences
  6. solitary
  7. fantasize and introspective
  1. social and interpersonal deficits
  2. magical thinking
  3. unusual perceptions
  4. vague
  5. circumstantial
  6. suspiciousness
  7. inappropriate affect
  8. excess social anxiety

Cluster B


Cluster C

Antisocial / Avoidant
  1. tense and apprehensive
  2. inferiority complex
  3. preoccupied with sense of rejection and criticism
  4. unwillingness to get involved
  5. need of security
  6. avoidance of social or occupational activities
Dependent / Asthenic
  1. allowing others to important life decisions
  2. subordination
  3. unwillingness to make any demands
  4. uncomfortable or helpless alone
  5. fear of inability to care for oneself
  6. preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of oneself
  7. excessive need for advice and reassurance to make everyday decisions


<td “>Borderline

Psychodynamic and/or group therapy
Not likely to seek therapy
Highly unresponsive to any form of treatment
Disciplined environment may improve behaviour
Emotionally unstable
Chronic treatment seekers
CBT/ DBT (self-harm & suicide)/ group therapy
Psychodynamic/ CBT/ Group therapy
Anankastic (Obsessional)
Psychotherapy: insight-oriented psychodynamic techniques & CBT
Anxious [avoidant]
Psychodynamic / CBT / group therapy, social skills training
Psychodynamic and/or CBT and/or group therapy/ assertiveness training


Most effective if individually tailored and symptom focused
  1. Antipsychotics – cognitive symptoms, impulsivity and intense angry affect
  2. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors – borderline PD to alleviate abnormal mood
  3. Carbamazepine and lithium – episodic behavioural dyscontrol and aggression
Drug treatment and psychotherapy not mutually exclusive and combination may be summative.


Cluster A: no change
Cluster B: varied, some may improve slowly
Cluster C: better outcome
  • Long-term prognosis usually not encouraging
  • Relapse highly likely at end of treatment
  • Unremitting course
  • Early death -accident, homicide or suicide
Emotionally unstable
  • 75–80% attempt or threaten suicide
  • 8–10% suicide rate
  • Symptoms can last lifetime
Anxious (avoidant)
  • Lower-functioning persons more likely to drop out of treatment.


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Dr Tom Leach

Dr Tom Leach MBChB DCH EMCert(ACEM) FRACGP currently works as a GP and an Emergency Department CMO in Australia. He is also a Clinical Associate Lecturer at the Australian National University, and is studying for a Masters of Sports Medicine at the University of Queensland. After graduating from his medical degree at the University of Manchester in 2011, Tom completed his Foundation Training at Bolton Royal Hospital, before moving to Australia in 2013. He started almostadoctor whilst a third year medical student in 2009. Read full bio

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Joy

    Not sure you should call it a ‘success’, maybe ‘completed’ is better: “Emotionally unstable 75–80% attempt or threaten suicide 8– 10% success”

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