18. Personality Disorders
18.1.1. Cluster A Personality Disorders
220.127.116.11. Paranoid Personality Disorder
18.104.22.168. Schizoid Personality Disorder
22.214.171.124. Schizotypal Personality Disorder
18.1.2. Cluster B Personality Disorders
126.96.36.199. Antisocial Personality Disorder
188.8.131.52. Borderline Personality Disorder
184.108.40.206. Histrionic Personality Disorder
220.127.116.11. Narcissistic Personality Disorder
18.1.3. Cluster C Personality Disorders
18.104.22.168. Avoidant Personality Disorder
22.214.171.124. Dependent Personality Disorder
126.96.36.199. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
18.1.4. General Personality Disorder
This Chspterbegins with a general definition of personaliiy disorder that applies
to each of the 10 specific personality disorders. A personality disorder is an enduring pattern
of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's
culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood,
is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.
With any ongoing review process, especially one of this complexity, different viewpoints emerge, and an effort was made to accommodate them. Thus, personality disorders are included in both Sections II and III. The material in Section II represents an update of text associated with the same criteria found in DSM-IV-TR, whereas Section III includes the proposed research model for personality disorder diagnosis and conceptualization developed by the DSM-5 Personality and Personality Disorders Work Group. As this field evolves, it is hoped that both versions will serve clinical practice and research initiatives, respectively.
The following personality disorders are included in this chapter.
• Paranoid personality disorder is a pattern of distrust and suspiciousness such that others' motives are interpreted as malevolent.
• Schizoid personality disorder is a pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of emotional expression.
• Schizotypal personality disorder is a pattern of acute discomfort in close relationships, cognitive or perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior.
• Antisocial personality disorder is a pattern of disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
• Borderline personality disorder is a pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity.
• Histrionic personality disorder is a pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking.
• Narcissistic personality disorder is a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.
• Avoidant personality disorder is a pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation.
• Dependent personality disorder is a pattern of submissive and clinging behavior related to an excessive need to be taken care of.
• Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control.
The essential feature of paranoid personality disorder is a pattern of pervasive distrust
and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent. This
pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with this disorder assume that other people will exploit, harm, or deceive
them, even if no evidence exists to support this expectation (Criterion Al). They suspect on
the basis of little or no evidence that others are plotting against them and may attack them
suddenly, at any time and without reason. They often feel that they have been deeply and
irreversibly injured by another person or persons even when there is no objective evidence
for this. They are preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness
of their friends and associates, whose actions are minutely scrutinized for evidence of hostile
intentions (Criterion A2). Any perceived deviation from trustworthiness or loyalty
serves to support their underlying assumptions. They are so amazed when a friend or associate
shows loyalty that they cannot trust or believe it. If they get into trouble, they expect
that friends and associates will either attack or ignore them.
Individuals with paranoid personality disorder are reluctant to confide in or become close to others because they fear that the information they share will be used against them (Criterion A3). They may refuse to answer personal questions, saying that the information is "nobody's business." They read hidden meanings that are demeaning and threatening into benign remarks or events (Criterion A4). For example, an individual with this disorder may misinterpret an honest mistake by a store clerk as a deliberate attempt to shortchange, or view a casual humorous remark by a co-worker as a serious character attack. Compliments are often misinterpreted (e.g., a compliment on a new acquisition is misinterpreted as a criticism for selfishness; a compliment on an accomplishment is misinterpreted as an attempt to coerce more and better performance). They may view an offer of help as a criticism that they are not doing well enough on their own.
Individuals with this disorder persistently bear grudges and are unwilling to forgive the insults, injuries, or slights that they think they have received (Criterion A5). Minor slights arouse major hostility, and the hostile feelings persist for a long time. Because they are constantly vigilant to the harmful intentions of others, they very often feel that their character or reputation has been attacked or that they have been slighted in some other way. They are quick to counterattack and react with anger to perceived insults (Criterion A6). Individuals with this disorder may be pathologically jealous, often suspecting that their spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful without any adequate justification (Criterion A7). They may gather trivial and circumstantial "evidence" to support their jealous beliefs. They want to maintain complete control of intimate relationships to avoid being betrayed and may constantly question and challenge the whereabouts, actions, intentions, and fidelity of their spouse or partner.
Paranoid personality disorder should not be diagnosed if the pattern of behavior occurs exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a bipolar disorder or depressive disorder with psychotic features, or another psychotic disorder, or if it is attributable to the physiological effects of a neurological (e.g., temporal lobe epilepsy) or another medical condition (Criterion B).
Individuals with paranoid personality disorder are generally difficult to get along with
and often have problems with close relationships. Their excessive suspiciousness and hostility
may be expressed in overt argumentativeness, in recurrent complaining, or by quiet,
apparently hostile aloofness. Because they are hypervigilant for potential threats, they
may act in a guarded, secretive, or devious manner and appear to be "cold" and lacking in
tender feelings. Although they may appear to be objective, rational, and unemotional, they
more often display a labile range of affect, with hostile, stubborn, and sarcastic expressions
predominating. Their combative and suspicious nature may elicit a hostile response in
others, which then serves to confirm their original expectations.
Because individuals with paranoid personality disorder lack trust in others, they have an excessive need to be self-sufficient and a strong sense of autonomy. They also need to have a high degree of control over those around them. They are often rigid, critical of others, and unable to collaborate, although they have great difficulty accepting criticism themselves. They may blame others for their own shortcomings. Because of their quickness to counterattack in response to the threats they perceive around them, they may be litigious and frequently become involved in legal disputes. Individuals with this disorder seek to confirm their preconceived negative notions regarding people or situations they encounter, attributing malevolent motivations to others that are projections of their own fears. They may exhibit thinly hidden, unrealistic grandiose fantasies, are often attuned to issues of power and rank, and tend to develop negative stereotypes of others, particularly those from population groups distinct from their own. Attracted by simplistic formulations of the world, they are often wary of ambiguous situations. They may be perceived as "fanatics" and form tightly knit "cults" or groups with others who share their paranoid belief systems. Particularly in response to stress, individuals with this disorder may experience very brief psychotic episodes (lasting minutes to hours). In some instances, paranoid personality disorder may appear as the premorbid antecedent of delusional disorder or schizophrenia. Individuals with paranoid personality disorder may develop major depressive disorder and may be at increased risk for agoraphobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Alcohol and other substance use disorders frequently occur. The most common cooccurring personality disorders appear to be schizotypal, schizoid, narcissistic, avoidant, and borderline.
A prevalence estimate for paranoid personality based on a probability subsample from Part II of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication suggests a prevalence of 2.3%, while the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions data suggest a prevalence of paranoid personality disorder of 4.4%.
Some behaviors that are influenced by sociocultural contexts or specific life circumstances may be erroneously labeled paranoid and may even be reinforced by the process of clinical evaluation. Members of minority groups, immigrants, political and economic refugees, or individuals of different ethnic backgrounds may display guarded or defensive behaviors because of unfamiliarity (e.g., language barriers or lack of knowledge of rules and regulations) or in response to the perceived neglect or indifference of the majority society. These behaviors can, in turn, generate anger and frustration in those who deal with these individuals, thus setting up a vicious cycle of mutual mistrust, which should not be confused with paranoid personality disorder. Some ethnic groups also display culturally related behaviors that can be misinterpreted as paranoid.
The essential feature of schizoid personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of detachment
from social relationships and a restricted range of expression of emotions in interpersonal
settings. This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with schizoid personality disorder appear to lack a desire for intimacy,
seem indifferent to opportunities to develop close relationships, and do not seem to derive
much satisfaction from being part of a family or other social group (Criterion Al). They
prefer spending time by themselves, rather than being with other people. They often appear
to be socially isolated or "loners" and almost always choose solitary activities or hobbies
that do not include interaction with others (Criterion A2). They prefer mechanical or
abstract tasks, such as computer or mathematical games. They may have very little interest
in having sexual experiences with another person (Criterion A3) and take pleasure in few,
if any, activities (Criterion A4). There is usually a reduced experience of pleasure from sensory,
bodily, or interpersonal experiences, such as walking on a beach at sunset or having
sex. These individuals have no close friends or confidants, except possibly a first-degree
relative (Criterion A5).
Individuals with schizoid personality disorder often seem indifferent to the approval or criticism of others and do not appear to be bothered by what others may think of them (Criterion A6). They may be oblivious to the normal subtleties of social interaction and often do not respond appropriately to social cues so that they seem socially inept or superficial and self-absorbed. They usually display a "bland" exterior without visible emotional reactivity and rarely reciprocate gestures or facial expressions, such as smiles or nods (Criterion A7). They claim that they rarely experience strong emotions such as anger and joy. They often display a constricted affect and appear cold and aloof. However, in those very unusual circumstances in which these individuals become at least temporarily comfortable in revealing themselves, they may acknowledge having painful feelings, particularly related to social interactions.
Schizoid personality disorder should not be diagnosed if the pattern of behavior occurs exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a bipolar or depressive disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder, or if it is attributable to the physiological effects of a neurological (e.g., temporal lobe epilepsy) or another medical condition (Criterion B).
Individuals with schizoid personality disorder may have particular difficulty expressing anger, even in response to direct provocation, which contributes to the impression that they lack emotion. Their lives sometimes seem directionless, and they may appear to "drift" in their goals. Such individuals often react passively to adverse circumstances and have difficulty responding appropriately to important life events. Because of their lack of social skills and lack of desire for sexual experiences, individuals with this disorder have few friendships, date infrequently, and often do not marry. Occupational functioning may be impaired, particularly if interpersonal involvement is required, but individuals with this disorder may do well when they work under conditions of social isolation. Particularly in response to stress, individuals with this disorder may experience very brief psychotic episodes (lasting minutes to hours). In some instances, schizoid personality disorder may appear as the premorbid antecedent of delusional disorder or schizophrenia. Individuals with this disorder may sometimes develop major depressive disorder. Schizoid personality disorder most often co-occurs with schizotypal, paranoid, and avoidant personality disorders.
Schizoid personality disorder is uncommon in clinical settings. A prevalence estimate for schizoid personality based on a probability subsample from Part II of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication suggests a prevalence of 4.9%. Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions suggest a prevalence of 3.1%.
Individuals from a variety of cultural backgrounds sometimes exhibit defensive behaviors and inteφersonal styles that may be erroneously labeled as "schizoid." For example, those who have moved from rural to metropolitan environments may react with "emotional freezing" that may last for several months and manifest as solitary activities, constricted affect, and other deficits in communication. Immigrants from other countries are sometimes mistakenly perceived as cold, hostile, or indifferent.
Schizoid personality disorder is diagnosed slightly more often in males and may cause more impairment in them.
The essential feature of schizotypal personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of social
and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for,
close relationships as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior.
This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder often have ideas of reference (i.e., incorrect
interpretations of casual incidents and external events as having a particular and
unusual meaning specifically for the person) (Criterion Al). These should be distinguished
from delusions of reference, in which the beliefs are held with delusional conviction.
These individuals may be superstitious or preoccupied with paranormal phenomena
that are outside the norms of their subculture (Criterion A2). They may feel that they have
special powers to sense events before they happen or to read others' thoughts. They may
believe that they have magical control over others, which can be implemented directly
(e.g., believing that their spouse's taking the dog out for a walk is the direct result of thinking
an hour earlier it should be done) or indirectly through compliance with magical rituals
(e.g., walking past a specific object three times to avoid a certain harmful outcome).
Perceptual alterations may be present (e.g., sensing that another person is present or hearing
a voice murmuring his or her name) (Criterion A3). Their speech may include unusual
or idiosyncratic phrasing and construction. It is often loose, digressive, or vague, but without
actual derailment or incoherence (Criterion A4). Responses can be either overly concrete
or overly abstract, and words or concepts are sometimes applied in unusual ways
(e.g., the individual may state that he or she was not "talkable" at work).
Individuals with this disorder are often suspicious and may have paranoid ideation (e.g., believing their colleagues at work are intent on undermining their reputation with the boss) (Criterion A5). They are usually not able to negotiate the full range of affects and interpersonal cuing required for successful relationships and thus often appear to interact with others in an inappropriate, stiff, or constricted fashion (Criterion A6). These individuals are often considered to be odd or eccentric because of unusual mannerisms, an often unkempt manner of dress that does not quite "fit together," and inattention to the usual social conventions (e.g., the individual may avoid eye contact, wear clothes that are ink stained and ill-fitting, and be unable to join in the give-and-take banter of co-workers) (Criterion A7).
Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder experience interpersonal relatedness as problematic and are uncomfortable relating to other people. Although they may express unhappiness about their lack of relationships, their behavior suggests a decreased desire for intimate contacts. As a result, they usually have no or few close friends or confidants other than a first-degree relative (Criterion A8). They are anxious in social situations, particularly those involving unfamiliar people (Criterion A9). They will interact with other individuals when they have to but prefer to keep to themselves because they feel that they are different and just do not "fit in." Their social anxiety does not easily abate. even when they spend more time in the setting or become more familiar with the other people, because t^heir anxiety tends to be associated with suspiciousness regarding others' motivations. For example, when attending a dinner party, the individual with schizotypal personality disorder will not become more relaxed as time goes on, but rather may become increasingly tense and suspicious.
Schizotypal personality disorder should not be diagnosed if the pattern of behavior occurs exclusively during the course of schizophrenia, a bipolar or depressive disorder with psychotic features, another psychotic disorder, or autism spectrum disorder (Criterion B).
Individuals with schizotypal personality disorder often seek treatment for the associated symptoms of anxiety or depression rather than for the personality disorder features per se. Particularly in response to stress, individuals with this disorder may experience transient psychotic episodes (lasting minutes to hours), although they usually are insufficient in duration to warrant an additional diagnosis such as brief psychotic disorder or schizophreniform disorder. In some cases, clinically significant psychotic symptoms may develop that meet criteria for brief psychotic disorder, schizophreniform disorder, delusional disorder, or schizophrenia. Over half may have a history of at least one major depressive episode. From 30% to 50% of individuals diagnosed with this disorder have a concurrent diagnosis of major depressive disorder when admitted to a clinical setting. There is considerable cooccurrence with schizoid, paranoid, avoidant, and borderline personality disorders.
In community studies of schizotypal personality disorder, reported rates range from 0.6% in Norwegian samples to 4.6% in a U.S. community sample. The prevalence of schizotypal personality disorder in clinical populations seems to be infrequent (0%-1.9%), with a higher estimated prevalence in the general population (3.9%) found in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions.
Cognitive and perceptual distortions must be evaluated in the context of the individual's cultural milieu. Pervasive culturally determined characteristics, particularly those regarding religious beliefs and rituals, can appear to be schizotypal to the uninformed outsider (e.g., voodoo, speaking in tongues, life beyond death, shamanism, mind reading, sixth sense, evil eye, magical beliefs related to health and illness).
Schizotypal personality disorder may be slightly more common in males.
The essential feature of antisocial personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of disregard
for, and violation of, the rights of others that begins in childhood or early adolescence and
continues into adulthood. This pattern has also been referred to as psychopathy, sociopathy,
or dyssocial personality disorder. Because deceit and manipulation are central features of antisocial
personality disorder, it may be especially helpful to integrate information acquired
from systematic clinical assessment with information collected from collateral sources.
For this diagnosis to be given, the individual must be at least age 18 years (Criterion B)
and must have had a history of some symptoms of conduct disorder before age 15 years
(Criterion C). Conduct disorder involves a repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in
which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated.
The specific behaviors characteristic of conduct disorder fall into one of four categories:
aggression to people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness or theft, or
serious violation of rules.
The pattern of antisocial behavior continues into adulthood. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder fail to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behavior (Criterion Al). They may repeatedly perform acts that are grounds for arrest (whether they are arrested or not), such as destroying property, harassing others, stealing, or pursuing illegal occupations. Persons with this disorder disregard the wishes, rights, or feelings of others. They are frequently deceitful and manipulative in order to gain personal profit or pleasure (e.g., to obtain money, sex, or power) (Criterion A2). They may repeatedly lie, use an alias, con others, or malinger. A pattern of impulsivity may be manifested by a failure to plan ahead (Criterion A3). Decisions are made on the spur of the moment, without forethought and without consideration for the consequences to self or others; this may lead to sudden changes of jobs, residences, or relationships. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder tend to be irritable and aggressive and may repeatedly get into physical fights or commit acts of physical assault (including spouse beating or child beating) (Criterion A4). (Aggressive acts that are required to defend oneself or someone else are not considered to be evidence for this item.) These individuals also display a reckless disregard for the safety of themselves or others (Criterion A5). This may be evidenced in their driving behavior (i.e., recurrent speeding, driving while intoxicated, multiple accidents). They may engage in sexual behavior or substance use that has a high risk for harmful consequences. They may neglect or fail to care for a child in a way that puts the child in danger.
Individuals with antisocial personality disorder also tend to be consistently and extremely irresponsible (Criterion A6). Irresponsible work behavior may be indicated by significant periods of unemployment despite available job opportunities, or by abandonment of several jobs without a realistic plan for getting another job. There may also be a pattern of repeated absences from work that are not explained by illness either in themselves or in their family. Financial irresponsibility is indicated by acts such as defaulting on debts, failing to provide child support, or failing to support other dependents on a regular basis. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder show little remorse for the consequences of their acts (Criterion A7). They may be indifferent to, or provide a superficial rationalization for, having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from someone (e.g., 'Tife's unfair," "losers deserve to lose"). These individuals may blame the victims for being foolish, helpless, or deserving their fate (e.g., "he had it coming anyway"); they may minimize the harmful consequences of their actions; or they may simply indicate complete indifference. They generally fail to compensate or make amends for their behavior. They may believe that everyone is out to "help number one" and that one should stop at nothing to avoid being pushed around.
The antisocial behavior must not occur exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (Criterion D).
Individuals with antisocial personality disorder frequently lack empathy and tend to be
callous, cynical, and contemptuous of the feelings, rights, and sufferings of others. They
may have an inflated and arrogant self-appraisal (e.g., feel that ordinary work is beneath
them or lack a realistic concern about their current problems or their future) and may be
excessively opinionated, self-assured, or cocky. They may display a glib, superficial charm
and can be quite voluble and verbally facile (e.g., using technical terms or jargon that
might impress someone who is unfamiliar with the topic). Lack of empathy, inflated selfappraisal,
and superficial charm are features that have been commonly included in traditional
conceptions of psychopathy that may be particularly distinguishing of the disorder
and more predictive of recidivism in prison or forensic settings, where criminal, delinquent,
or aggressive acts are likely to be nonspecific. These individuals may also be irresponsible
and exploitative in their sexual relationships. They may have a history of many
sexual partners and may never have sustained a monogamous relationship. They may be
irresponsible as parents, as evidenced by malnutrition of a child, an illness in the child resulting
from a \aek of minimal hygiene, a child's dependence on neighbors or nonresident
relatives for food or shelter, a failure to arrange for a caretaker for a young child when the
individual is away from home, or repeated squandering of money required for household
necessities. These individuals may receive dishonorable discharges from the armed services,
may fail to be self-supporting, may become impoverished or even homeless, or may
spend many years in penal institutions. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder
are more likely than people in the general population to die prematurely by violent means
(e.g., suicide, accidents, homicides).
Individuals with antisocial personality disorder may also experience dysphoria, including complaints of tension, inability to tolerate boredom, and depressed mood. They may have associated anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, substance use disorders, somatic symptom disorder, gambling disorder, and other disorders of impulse control. Individuals with antisocial personality disorder also often have personality features that meet criteria for other personality disorders, particularly borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. The likelihood of developing antisocial personality disorder in adult life is increased if the individual experienced childhood onset of conduct disorder (before age 10 years) and accompanying attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Child abuse or neglect, unstable or erratic parenting, or inconsistent parental discipline may increase the likelihood that conduct disorder will evolve into antisocial personality disorder.
Twelve-month prevalence rates of antisocial personality disorder, using criteria from previous DSMs, are between 0.2% and 3.3%. The highest prevalence of antisocial personality disorder (greater than 70%) is among most severe samples of males with alcohol use disorder and from substance abuse clinics, prisons, or other forensic settings. Prevalence is higher in samples affected by adverse socioeconomic (i.e., poverty) or sociocultural (i.e., migration) factors.
Antisocial personality disorder appears to be associated with low socioeconomic status and urban settings. Concerns have been raised that the diagnosis may at times be misapplied to individuals in settings in which seemingly antisocial behavior may be part of a protective survival strategy. In assessing antisocial traits, it is helpful for the clinician to consider the social and economic context in which the behaviors occur.
Antisocial personality disorder is much more common in males than in females. There has been some concern that antisocial personality disorder may be underdiagnosed in females, particularly because of the emphasis on aggressive items in the definition of conduct disorder.
The essential feature of borderline personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of instability
of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity that begins
by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder make frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (Criterion 1). The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior. These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. They experience intense abandonment fears and inappropriate anger even when faced with a realistic time-limited separation or when there are unavoidable changes in plans (e.g., sudden despair in reaction to a clinician's announcing the end of the hour; panic or fury when someone important to them is just a few minutes late or must cancel an appointment). They may believe that this "abandonment" implies they are "bad." These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. Their frantic efforts to avoid abandonment may include impulsive actions such as self-mutilating or suicidal behaviors, which are described separately in Criterion 5.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder have a pattern of unstable and intense relationships (Criterion 2). They may idealize potential caregivers or lovers at the first or second meeting, demand to spend a lot of time together, and share the most intimate details early in a relationship. However, they may switch quickly from idealizing other people to devaluing them, feeling that the other person does not care enough, does not give enough, or is not "there" enough. These individuals can empathize with and nurture other people, but only with the expectation that the other person will "be there" in return to meet their own needs on demand. These individuals are prone to sudden and dramatic shifts in their view of others, who may alternatively be seen as beneficent supports or as cruelly punitive. Such shifts often reflect disillusionment with a caregiver whose nurturing qualities had been idealized or whose rejection or abandonment is expected.
There may be an identity disturbance characterized by markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self (Criterion 3). There are sudden and dramatic shifts in selfimage, characterized by shifting goals, values, and vocational aspirations. There may be sudden changes in opinions and plans about career, sexual identity, values, and types of friends. These individuals may suddenly change from the role of a needy supplicant for help to that of a righteous avenger of past mistreatment. Although they usually have a selfimage that is based on being bad or evil, individuals with this disorder may at times have feelings that they do not exist at all. Such experiences usually occur in situations in which the individual feels a lack of a meaningful relationship, nurturing, and support. These individuals may show worse performance in unstructured work or school situations.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder display impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (Criterion 4). They may gamble, spend money irresponsibly, binge eat, abuse substances, engage in unsafe sex, or drive recklessly. Individuals with this disorder display recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior (Criterion 5). Completed suicide occurs in 8%-10% of such individuals, and self-mutilative acts (e.g., cutting or burning) and suicide threats and attempts are very common. Recurrent suicidality is often the reason that these individuals present for help. These self-destructive acts are usually precipitated by threats of separation or rejection or by expectations that the individual assumes increased responsibility. Self-mutilation may occur during dissociative experiences and often brings relief by reaffirming the ability to feel or by expiating the individual's sense of being evil.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder may display affective instability that is due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days) (Criterion 6). The basic dysphoric mood of those with borderline personality disorder is often disrupted by periods of anger, panic, or despair and is rarely relieved by periods of well-being or satisfaction. These episodes may reflect the individual's extreme reactivity to interpersonal stresses. Individuals with borderline personality disorder may be troubled by chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion 7). Easily bored, they may constantly seek something to do. Individuals with this disorder frequently express inappropriate, intense anger or have difficulty controlling their anger (Criterion 8). They may display extreme sarcasm, enduring bitterness, or verbal outbursts. The anger is often elicited when a caregiver or lover is seen as neglectful, withholding, uncaring, or abandoning. Such expressions of anger are often followed by shame and guilt and contribute to the feeling they have of being evil. During periods of extreme stress, transient paranoid ideation or dissociative symptoms (e.g., depersonalization) may occur (Criterion 9), but these are generally of insufficient severity or duration to warrant an additional diagnosis. These episodes occur most frequently in response to a real or imagined abandonment. Symptoms tend to be transient, lasting minutes or hours. The real or perceived return of the caregiver's nurturance may result in a remission of symptoms.
Individuals with borderline personality disorder may have a pattern of undermining themselves at the moment a goal is about to be realized (e.g., dropping out of school just before graduation; regressing severely after a discussion of how well therapy is going; destroying a good relationship just when it is clear that the relationship could last). Some individuals develop psychotic-like symptoms (e.g., hallucinations, body-image distortions, ideas of reference, hypnagogic phenomena) during times of stress. Individuals with this disorder may feel more secure with transitional objects (i.e., a pet or inanimate possession) than in interpersonal relationships. Premature death from suicide may occur in individuals with this disorder, especially in those with co-occurring depressive disorders or substance use disorders. Physical handicaps may result from self-inflicted abuse behaviors or failed suicide attempts. Recurrent job losses, interrupted education, and separation or divorce are common. Physical and sexual abuse, neglect, hostile conflict, and early parental loss are more common in the childhood histories of those with borderline personality disorder. Common co-occurring disorders include depressive and bipolar disorders, substance use disorders, eating disorders (notably bulimia nervosa), posttraumatic stress disorder, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Borderline personahty disorder also frequently co-occurs with the other personality disorders.
The median population prevalence of borderline personality disorder is estimated to be 1.6% but may be as high as 5.9%. The prevalence of borderline personality disorder is about 6% in primary care settings, about 10% among individuals seen in outpatient mental health clinics, and about 20% among psychiatric inpatients. The prevalence of borderline personality disorder may decrease in older age groups.
The pattern of behavior seen in borderline personality disorder has been identified in many settings around the world. Adolescents and young adults with identity problems (especially when accompanied by substance use) may transiently display behaviors that misleadingly give the impression of borderline personality disorder. Such situations are characterized by emotional instability, "existential" dilemmas, uncertainty, anxiety-provoking choices, conflicts about sexual orientation, and competing social pressures to decide on careers.
Borderline personality disorder is diagnosed predominantly (about 75%) in females.
The essential feature of histrionic personality disorder is pervasive and excessive emotionality
and attention-seeking behavior. This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present
in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder are uncomfortable or feel unappreciated when they are not the center of attention (Criterion 1). Often lively and dramatic, they tend to draw attention to themselves and may initially charm new acquaintances by their enthusiasm, apparent openness, or flirtatiousness. These qualities wear thin, however, as these individuals continually demand to be the center of attention. They commandeer the role of "the life of the party." If they are not the center of attention, they may do something dramatic (e.g., make up stories, create a scene) to draw the focus of attention to themselves. This need is often apparent in their behavior with a clinician (e.g., being flattering, bringing gifts, providing dramatic descriptions of physical and psychological symptoms that are replaced by new symptoms each visit).
The appearance and behavior of individuals with this disorder are often inappropriately sexually provocative or seductive (Criterion 2). This behavior not only is directed toward persons in whom the individual has a sexual or romantic interest but also occurs in a wide variety of social, occupational, and professional relationships beyond what is appropriate for the social context. Emotional expression may be shallow and rapidly shifting (Criterion 3). Individuals with this disorder consistently use physical appearance to draw attention to themselves (Criterion 4). They are overly concerned with impressing others by their appearance and expend an excessive amount of time, energy, and money on clothes and grooming. They may "fish for compliments" regarding appearance and may be easily and excessively upset by a critical conunent about how they look or by a photograph that they regard as unflattering.
These individuals have a style of speech that is excessively impressionistic and lacking in detail (Criterion 5). Strong opinions are expressed with dramatic flair, but underlying reasons are usually vague and diffuse, without supporting facts and details. For example, an individual with histrionic personality disorder may comment that a certain individual is a wonderful human being, yet be unable to provide any specific examples of good qualities to support this opinion. Individuals with this disorder are characterized by selfdramatization, theatricality, and an exaggerated expression of emotion (Criterion 6). They may embarrass friends and acquaintances by an excessive public display of emotions (e.g., embracing casual acquaintances with excessive ardor, sobbing uncontrollably on minor sentimental occasions, having temper tantrums). However, their emotions often seem to be turned on and off too quickly to be deeply felt, which may lead others to accuse the individual of faking these feelings.
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder have a high degree of suggestibility (Criterion 7). Their opinions and feelings are easily influenced by others and by current fads. They may be overly trusting, especially of strong authority figures whom they see as magically solving their problems. They have a tendency to play hunches and to adopt convictions quickly. Individuals with this disorder often consider relationships more intimate than they actually are, describing almost every acquaintance as "my dear, dear friend" or referring to physicians met only once or twice under professional circumstances by their first names (Criterion 8).
Individuals with histrionic personality disorder may have difficulty achieving emotional intimacy
in romantic or sexual relationships. Without being aware of it, they often act out a
role (e.g., "victim" or "princess") in their relationships to others. They may seek to control
their partner through emotional manipulation or seductiveness on one level, while displaying
a marked dependency on them at another level. Individuals with this disorder often
have impaired relationships with same-sex friends because their sexually provocative interpersonal
style may seem a threat to their friends' relationships. These individuals may also
alienate friends with demands for constant attention. They often become depressed and upset
when they are not the center of attention. They may crave novelty, stimulation, and excitement
and have a tendency to become bored with their usual routine. These individuals
are often intolerant of, or frustrated by, situations that involve delayed gratification, and
their actions are often directed at obtaining immediate satisfaction. Although they often initiate
a job or project with great enthusiasm, their interest may lag quickly. Longer-term relationships
may be neglected to make way for the excitement of new relationships.
The actual risk of suicide is not known, but clinical experience suggests that individuals with this disorder are at increased risk for suicidal gestures and threats to get attention and coerce better caregiving. Histrionic personality disorder has been associated with higher rates of somatic symptom disorder, conversion disorder (functional neurological symptom disorder), and major depressive disorder. Borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, and dependent personality disorders often co-occur.
Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions suggest a prevalence of histrionic personality of 1.84%.
Norms for interpersonal behavior, personal appearance, and emotional expressiveness vary widely across cultures, genders, and age groups. Before considering the various traits (e.g., emotionality, seductiveness, dramatic interpersonal style, novelty seeking, sociability, charm, impressionability, a tendency to somatization) to be evidence of histrionic personality disorder, it is important to evaluate whether they cause clinically significant impairment or distress.
In clinical settings, this disorder has been diagnosed more frequently in females; however, the sex ratio is not significantly different from the sex ratio of females within the respective clinical setting. In contrast, some studies using structured assessments report similar prevalence rates among males and females.
The essential feature of narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity,
need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present
in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with this disorder have a grandiose sense of self-importance (Criterion 1). They routinely overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious. They may blithely assume that others attribute the same value to their efforts and may be surprised when the praise they expect and feel they deserve is not forthcoming. Often implicit in the inflated judgments of their own accomplishments is an underestimation (devaluation) of the contributions of others. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder are often preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love (Criterion 2). They may ruminate about "'long overdue" admiration and privilege and compare themselves favorably with famous or privileged people. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they are superior, special, or unique and expect others to recognize them as such (Criterion 3). They may feel that they can only be understood by, and should only associate with, other people who are special or of high status and may attribute "unique," "perfect," or "gifted" qualities to those with whom they associate. Individuals with this disorder believe that their needs are special and beyond the ken of ordinary people. Their own self-esteem is enhanced (i.e., "mirrored") by the idealized value that they assign to those with whom they associate. They are likely to insist on having only the "top" person (doctor, lawyer, hairdresser, instructor) or being affiliated with the "best" institutions but may devalue the credentials of those who disappoint them.
Individuals with this disorder generally require excessive admiration (Criterion 4). Their self-esteem is almost invariably very fragile. Tliey may be preoccupied with how well they are doing and how favorably they are regarded by others. This often takes the form of a need for constant attention and admiration. They may expect their arrival to be greeted with great farifare and are astonished if others do not covet their possessions. They may constantly fish for compliments, often with great charm. A sense of entitlement is evident in these individuals' unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment (Criterion 5). They expect to be catered to and are puzzled or furious when this does not happen. For example, they may assume that they do not have to wait in line and that their priorities are so important that others should defer to them, and then get irritated when others fail to assist "in their very important work." This sense of entitlement, combined with a lack of sensitivity to the wants and needs of others, may result in the conscious or unwitting exploitation of others (Criterion 6). They expect to be given whatever they want or feel they need, no matter what it might mean to others. For example, these individuals may expect great dedication from others and may overwork them without regard for the impact on their lives. They tend to form friendships or romantic relationships only if the other person seems likely to advance their purposes or otherwise enhance their self-esteem. They often usuφ special privileges and extra resources that they believe they deserve because they are so special.
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder generally have a lack of empathy and have difficulty recognizing the desires, subjective experiences, and feelings of others (Criterion 7). They may assume that others are totally concerned about their welfare. They tend to discuss their own concerns in inappropriate and lengthy detail, while failing to recognize that others also have feelings and needs. They are often contemptuous and impatient with others who talk about their own problems and concerns. These individuals may be oblivious to the hurt their remarks may inflict (e.g., exuberantly telling a former lover that "I am now in the relationship of a lifetime!"; boasting of health in front of someone who is sick). When recognized, the needs, desires, or feelings of others are likely to be viewed disparagingly as signs of weakness or vulnerability. Those who relate to individuals with narcissistic personality disorder typically find an emotional coldness and lack of reciprocal interest.
These individuals are often envious of others or believe that oeiers are envious of them (Criterion 8). They may begrudge others their successes or possessions, feeling that they better deserve those achievements, admiration, or privileges. They may harshly devalue the contributions of others, particularly when those individuals have received acknowledgment or praise for their accomplishments. Arrogant, haughty behaviors characterize these individuals; they often display snobbish, disdainful, or patronizing attitudes (Criterion 9). For example, an individual with this disorder may complain about a clumsy waiter's "rudeness" or "stupidity" or conclude a medical evaluation with a condescending evaluation of the physician.
Vulnerability in self-esteem makes individuals with narcissistic personality disorder very sensitive to "injury" from criticism or defeat. Although they may not show it outwardly, criticism may haunt these individuals and may leave them feeling humiliated, degraded, hollow, and empty. They may react with disdain, rage, or defiant counterattack. Such experiences often lead to social withdrawal or an appearance of humility that may mask and protect the grandiosity. Interpersonal relations are typically impaired because of problems derived from entitlement, the need for admiration, and the relative disregard for the sensitivities of others. Though overweening ambition and confidence may lead to high achievement, performance may be disrupted because of intolerance of criticism or defeat. Sometimes vocational functioning can be very low, reflecting an unwillingness to take a risk in competitive or other situations in which defeat is possible. Sustained feelings of shame or humiliation and the attendant self-criticism may be associated with social withdrawal, depressed mood, and persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) or major depressive disorder. In contrast, sustained periods of grandiosity may be associated with a hypomanie mood. Narcissistic personality disorder is also associated with anorexia nervosa and substance use disorders (especially related to cocaine). Histrionic, borderline, antisocial, and paranoid personality disorders may be associated with narcissistic personality disorder.
Prevalence estimates for narcissistic personality disorder, based on DSM-IV definitions, range from 0% to 6.2% in community samples.
Of those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, 50%-75% are male.
The essential feature of avoidant personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of social inhibition,
feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation that begins by
early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder avoid work activities that involve significant interpersonal contact because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection (Criterion 1). Offers of job promotions may be declined because the new responsibilities might result in criticism from co-workers. These individuals avoid making new friends unless they are certain they will be liked and accepted without criticism (Criterion 2). Until they pass stringent tests proving the contrary, other people are assumed to be critical and disapproving. Individuals with this disorder will not join in group activities unless there are repeated and generous offers of support and nurturance. Interpersonal intimacy is often difficult for these individuals, although they are able to establish intimate relationships when there is assurance of uncritical acceptance. They may act with restraint, have difficulty talking about themselves, and withhold intimate feelings for fear of being exposed, ridiculed, or shamed (Criterion 3).
Because individuals with this disorder are preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations, they may have a markedly low threshold for detecting such reactions (Criterion 4). If someone is even slightly disapproving or critical, they may feel extremely hurt. They tend to be shy, quiet, inhibited, and "invisible" because of the fear that any attention would be degrading or rejecting. They expect that no matter what they say, others will see it as "wrong," and so they may say nothing at all. They react strongly to subtle cues that are suggestive of mockery or derision. Despite their longing to be active participants in social life, they fear placing their welfare in the hands of others. Individuals with avoidant personality disorder are inhibited in new interpersonal situations because they feel inadequate and have low self-esteem (Criterion 5). Doubts concerning social competence and personal appeal become especially manifest in settings involving interactions with strangers. These individuals believe themselves to be socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others (Criterion 6). They are unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because these may prove embarrassing (Criterion 7). They are prone to exaggerate the potential dangers of ordinary situations, and a restricted lifestyle may result from their need for certainty and security. Someone with this disorder may cancel a job interview for fear of being embarrassed by not dressing appropriately. Marginal somatic symptoms or other problems may become the reason for avoiding new activities.
Individuals with avoidant personality disorder often vigilantly appraise the movements
and expressions of those with whom they come into contact. Their fearful and tense demeanor
may elicit ridicule and derision from others, which in turn confirms their selfdoubts.
These individuals are very anxious about the possibility that they will react to criticism
with blushing or crying. They are described by others as being "shy," "timid,"
"lonely," and "isolated." The major problems associated with this disorder occur in social
and occupational functioning. The low self-esteem and hypersensitivity to rejection are
associated with restricted interpersonal contacts. These individuals may become relatively
isolated and usually do not have a large social support network that can help them weather
crises. They desire affection and acceptance and may fantasize about idealized relationships
with others. The avoidant behaviors can also adversely affect occupational functioning
because these individuals try to avoid the types of social situations that may be
important for meeting the basic demands of the job or for advancement.
Other disorders that are commonly diagnosed with avoidant personality disorder include depressive, bipolar, and anxiety disorders, especially social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Avoidant personality disorder is often diagnosed with dependent personality disorder, because individuals with avoidant personality disorder become very attached to and dependent on those few other people with whom they are friends. Avoidant personality disorder also tends to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and with the Cluster A personality disorders (i.e., paranoid, schizoid, or schizotypal personality disorders).
Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions suggest a prevalence of about 2.4% for avoidant personality disorder.
There may be variation in the degree to which different cultural and ethnic groups regard diffidence and avoidance as appropriate. Moreover, avoidant behavior may be the result of problems in acculturation following immigration.
Avoidant personality disorder appears to be equally frequent in males and females.
The essential feature of dependent personality disorder is a pervasive and excessive need
to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation.
This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. The dependent
and submissive behaviors are designed to elicit caregiving and arise from a self-perception
of being unable to function adequately without the help of others.
Individuals with dependent personality disorder have great difficulty making everyday decisions (e.g., what color shirt to wear to work or whether to carry an umbrella) without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others (Criterion 1). These individuals tend to be passive and to allow other people (often a single other person) to take the initiative and assume responsibility for most major areas of their lives (Criterion 2). Adults with this disorder typically depend on a parent or spouse to decide where they should live, what kind of job they should have, and which neighbors to befriend. Adolescents with this disorder may allow their parent(s) to decide what they should wear, with whom they should associate, how they should spend their free time, and what school or college they should attend. This need for others to assume responsibility goes beyond age-appropriate and situation-appropriate requests for assistance from others (e.g., the specific needs of children, elderly persons, and handicapped persons). Dependent personality disorder may occur in an individual who has a serious medical condition or disability, but in such cases the difficulty in taking responsibility must go beyond what would normally be associated with that condition or disability.
Because they fear losing support or approval, individuals with dependent personality disorder often have difficulty expressing disagreement with other individuals, especially those on whom they are dependent (Criterion 3). These individuals feel so unable to function alone that they will agree with things that they feel are wrong rather than risk losing the help of those to whom they look for guidance. They do not get appropriately angry at others whose support and nurturance they need for fear of alienating them. If the individual's concerns regarding the consequences of expressing disagreement are realistic (e.g., realistic fears of retribution from an abusive spouse), the behavior should not be considered to be evidence of dependent personality disorder.
Individuals with this disorder have difficulty initiating projects or doing things independently (Criterion 4). They lack self-confidence and believe that they need help to begin and carry through tasks. They will wait for others to start things because they believe that as a rule others can do them better. These individuals are convinced that they are incapable of functioning independently and present themselves as inept and requiring constant assistance. They are, however, likely to function adequately if given the assurance that someone else is supervising and approving. There may be a fear of becoming or appearing to be more competent, because they may believe that this will lead to abandonment. Because they rely on others to handle their problems, they often do not leam the skills of independent living, thus perpetuating dependency.
Individuals with dependent personality disorder may go to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, even to the point of volunteering for unpleasant tasks if such behavior will bring the care they need (Criterion 5). They are willing to submit to what others want, even if the demands are unreasonable. Their need to maintain an important bond will often result in imbalanced or distorted relationships. They may make extraordinary self-sacrifices or tolerate verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. (It should be noted that this behavior should be considered evidence of dependent personality disorder only when it can clearly be established that other options are available to the individual.) Individuals with this disorder feel uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of their exaggerated fears of being unable to care for themselves (Criterion 6). They will "tag along" with important others just to avoid being alone, even if they are not interested or involved in what is happening.
When a close relationship ends (e.g., a breakup with a lover; the death of a caregiver), individuals with dependent personality disorder may urgently seek another relationship to provide the care and support they need (Criterion 7). Their belief that they are unable to function in the absence of a close relationship motivates these individuals to become quickly and indiscriminately attached to another individual. Individuals with this disorder are often preoccupied with fears of being left to care for themselves (Criterion 8). They see themselves as so totally dependent on the advice and help of an important other person that they worry about being abandoned by that person when there are no grounds to justify such fears. To be considered as evidence of this criterion, the fears must be excessive and unrealistic. For example, an elderly man with cancer who moves into his son's household for care is exhibiting dependent behavior that is appropriate given this person's life circumstances.
Individuals with dependent personality disorder are often characterized by pessimism and self-doubt, tend to belittle their abilities and assets, and may constantly refer to themselves as "stupid." They take criticism and disapproval as proof of their worthlessness and lose faith in themselves. They may seek overprotection and dominance from others. Occupational functioning may be impaired if independent initiative is required. They may avoid positions of responsibility and become anxious when faced with decisions. Social relations tend to be limited to those few people on whom the individual is dependent. There may be an increased risk of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and adjustment disorders. Dependent personality disorder often co-occurs with other personality disorders, especially borderline, avoidant, and histrionic personality disorders. Chronic physical illness or separation anxiety disorder in childhood or adolescence may predispose the individual to the development of this disorder.
Data from the 2001-2002 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions yielded an estimated prevalence of dependent personality disorder of 0.49%, and dependent personality was estimated, based on a probability subsample from Part II of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, to be 0.6%.
The degree to which dependent behaviors are considered to be appropriate varies substantially across different age and sociocultural groups. Age and cultural factors need to be considered in evaluating the diagnostic threshold of each criterion. Dependent behavior should be considered characteristic of the disorder only when it is clearly in excess of the individual's cultural norms or reflects unrealistic concerns. An emphasis on passivity, politeness, and deferential treatment is characteristic of some societies and may be misinterpreted as traits of dependent personality disorder. Similarly, societies may differentially foster and discourage dependent behavior in males and females.
In clinical settings, dependent personality disorder has been diagnosed more frequently in females, although some studies report similar prevalence rates among males and females.
The essential feature of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is a preoccupation
with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of
flexibility, openness, and efficiency. This pattern begins by early adulthood and is present
in a variety of contexts.
Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder attempt to maintain a sense of control through painstaking attention to rules, trivial details, procedures, lists, schedules, or form to the extent that the major point of the activity is lost (Criterion 1). They are excessively careful and prone to repetition, paying extraordinary attention to detail and repeatedly checking for possible mistakes. They are oblivious to the fact that other people tend to become very annoyed at the delays and inconveniences that result from this behavior. For example, when such individuals misplace a list of things to be done, they will spend an inordinate amount of time looking for the list rather than spending a few moments re-creating it from memory and proceeding to accomplish the tasks. Time is poorly allocated, and the most important tasks are left to the last moment. The perfectionism and self-imposed high standards of performance cause significant dysfunction and distress in these individuals. They may become so involved in making every detail of a project absolutely perfect that the project is never finished (Criterion 2). For example, the completion of a written report is delayed by numerous time-consuming rewrites that all come up short of "perfection." Deadlines are missed, and aspects of the individual's life that are not the current focus of activity may fall into disarray.
Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder display excessive devotion to work and productivity to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships (Criterion 3). This behavior is not accounted for by economic necessity. They often feel that they do not have time to take an evening or a weekend day off to go on an outing or to just relax. They may keep postponing a pleasurable activity, such as a vacation, so that it may never occur. When they do take time for leisure activities or vacations, they are very uncomfortable unless they have taken along something to work on so they do not "waste time." There may be a great concentration on household chores (e.g., repeated excessive cleaning so that "one could eat off the floor"). If they spend time with friends, it is likely to be in some kind of formally organized activity (e.g., sports). Hobbies or recreational activities are approached as serious tasks requiring careful organization and hard work to master. The emphasis is on perfect performance. These individuals turn play into a structured task (e.g., correcting an infant for not putting rings on the post in the right order; telling a toddler to ride his or her tricycle in a straight line; turning a baseball game into a harsh "lesson").
Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may be excessively conscientious, scrupulous, and inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values (Criterion 4). They may force themselves and others to follow rigid moral principles and very strict standards of performance. They may also be mercilessly self-critical about their own mistakes. Individuals with this disorder are rigidly deferential to authority and rules and insist on quite literal compliance, with no rule bending for extenuating circumstances. For example, the individual will not lend a quarter to a friend who needs one to make a telephone call because "neither a borrower nor a lender be" or because it would be "bad" for the person's character. These qualities should not be accounted for by the individual's cultural or religious identification.
Individuals with this disorder may be unable to discard worn-out or worthless objects, even when they have no sentimental value (Criterion 5). Often these individuals will admit to being "pack rats." They regard discarding objects as wasteful because "you never know when you might need something" and will become upset if someone tries to get rid of the things they have saved. Their spouses or roommates may complain about the amount of space taken up by old parts, magazines, broken appliances, and so on.
Individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are reluctant to delegate tasks or to work with others (Criterion 6). They stubbornly and unreasonably insist that everything be done their way and that people conform to their way of doing things. They often give very detailed instructions about how things should be done (e.g., there is one and only one way to mow the lawn, wash the dishes, build a doghouse) and are surprised and irritated if others suggest creative alternatives. At other times they may reject offers of help even when behind schedule because they believe no one else can do it right. Individuals with this disorder may be miserly and stingy and maintain a standard of living far below what they can afford, believing that spending must be tightly controlled to provide for future catastrophes (Criterion 7). Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by rigidity and stubbornness (Criterion 8). Individuals with this disorder are so concerned about having things done the one "correct" way that they have trouble going along with anyone else's ideas. These individuals plan ahead in meticulous detail and are unwilling to consider changes. Totally wrapped up in their own perspective, they have difficulty acknowledging the viewpoints of others. Friends and colleagues may become frustrated by this constant rigidity. Even when individuals with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder recognize that it may be in their interest to compromise, they may stubbornly refuse to do so, arguing that it is "the principle of the thing."
When rules and established procedures do not dictate the correct answer, decision making
may become a time-consuming, often painful process. Individuals with obsessivecompulsive
personality disorder may have such difficulty deciding which tasks take priority
or what is the best way of doing some particular task that they may never get started
on anything. They are prone to become upset or angry in situations in which they are not
able to maintain control of their physical or interpersonal environment, although the anger
is typically not expressed directly. For example, an individual may be angry when service
in a restaurant is poor, but instead of complaining to the management, the individual
ruminates about how much to leave as a tip. C3n other occasions, anger may be expressed
with righteous indignation over a seemingly minor matter. Individuals with this disorder
may be especially attentive to their relative status in dominance-submission relationships
and may display excessive deference to an authority they respect and excessive resistance
to authority they do not respect.
Individuals with this disorder usually express affection in a highly controlled or stilted fashion and may be very uncomfortable in the presence of others who are emotionally expressive. Their everyday relationships have a formal and serious quality, and they may be stiff in situations in which others would smile and be happy (e.g., greeting a lover at the airport). They carefully hold themselves back until they are sure that whatever they say will be perfect. They may be preoccupied with logic and intellect, and intolerant of affective behavior in others. They often have difficulty expressing tender feelings, rarely paying compliments. Individuals with this disorder may experience occupational difficulties and distress, particularly when confronted with new situations that demand flexibility and compromise.
Individuals with anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and specific phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) have an increased likelihood of having a personality disturbance that meets criteria for obsessive- compulcive personality disorder. Even so, it appears that the majority of individuals with OCD do not have a pattern of behavior that meets criteria for this personality disorder. Many of the features of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder overlap with "type A" personality characteristics (e.g., preoccupation with work, competitiveness, time urgency), and these features may be present in people at risk for myocardial infarction. There may be an association between obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and depressive and bipolar disorders and eating disorders.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is one of the most prevalent personality disorders in the general population, with estimated prevalence ranging from 2.1% to 7.9%.
In assessing an individual for obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, the clinician should not include those behaviors that reflect habits, customs, or interpersonal styles that are culturally sanctioned by the individual's reference group. Certain cultures place substantial emphasis on work and productivity; the resulting behaviors in members of those societies need not be considered indications of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
In systematic studies, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder appears to be diagnosed
about twice as often among males.
Personality traits are enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts. Only when personality traits are inflexible and maladaptive and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress do they constitute personality disorders. The essential feature of a personality disorder is an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture and is manifested in at least two of the following areas: cognition, affectivity, interpersonal functioning, or impulse control (Criterion A). This enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations (Criterion B) and leads to clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning (Criterion C). The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood (Criterion D). The pattern is not better explained as a manifestation or consequence of another mental disorder (Criterion E) and is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication, exposure to a toxin) or another medical condition (e.g., head trauma) (Criterion F). Specific diagnostic criteria are also provided for each of the personality disorders included in this chapter. The diagnosis of personality disorders requires an evaluation of the individual's longterm patterns of functioning, and the particular personality features must be evident by early adulthood. The personality traits that define these disorders must also be distinguished from characteristics that emerge in response to specific situational stressors or more transient mental states (e.g., bipolar, depressive, or anxiety disorders; substance intoxication). The clinician should assess the stability of personality traits over time and across different situations. Although a single interview with the individual is sometimes sufficient for making the diagnosis, it is often necessary to conduct more than one interview and to space these over time. Assessment can also be complicated by the fact that the characteristics that define a personality disorder may not be considered problematic by the individual (i.e., the traits are often ego-syntonic). To help overcome this difficulty, supplementary information from other informants may be helpful.
Judgments about personality functioning must take into account the individual's ethnic, cultural, and social background. Personality disorders should not be confused with problems associated with acculturation following immigration or with the expression of habits, customs, or religious and political values professed by the individual's culture of origin. It is useful for the clinician, especially when evaluating someone from a different background, to obtain additional information from informants who are familiar with the person's cultural background.
Certain personality disorders (e.g., antisocial personality disorder) are diagnosed more frequently in males. Others (e.g., borderline, histrionic, and dependent personality disorders) are diagnosed more frequently in females. Although these differences in prevalence probably reflect real gender differences in the presence of such patterns, clinicians must be cautious not to overdiagnose or underdiagnose certain personality disorders in females or in males because of social stereotypes about typical gender roles and behaviors.