Find Your Degree is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

5 Most Common Personality Disorders

According to the American Psychiatric Association, personality disorders are defined as a way of feeling, thinking and behaving that is different from social norms and cultural expectations. These disorders may result in the person feeling upset and anxious. These people are more likely to experience personal problems and suffer low functionality.


John Nash, who won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1994, was portrayed in the film “A Beautiful Mind” by Russell Crowe. John Nash suffered from severe paranoid schizophrenia, but his eccentric behaviors were drastically downplayed in the film. People who suffer from schizoid personality disorder (SPD) have a strong disinterest in social interactions and relationships. They are apathetic and isolated individuals who struggle to connect with everyone and everything. On the other hand, people with schizotypal personality disorder (STPD) are driven to isolate themselves, but they still can interact with others. STPD is characterized by open anxiety, strange behavior and social miscommunication.

Related resource: Top 10 Most Affordable Online Master’s in Clinical Psychology Degree Programs 2016

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid personality disorder, or PPD, is characterized by general paranoia, uncontrollable suspicions and cognitive hypersensitivity. People who suffer from paranoid personality disorder will often search for nonexistent correlations and formulate conclusions based on the irrational factors and coincidences. They do this in order to validate their paranoid thoughts, illogical fears and nonexistent delusions. Some of the more common concerns of patients with paranoid personality disorder involve large conspiracies, such as the city using fluoride to mind control citizens and the federal government’s alleged anti-alien activities in Area 51. This personality disorder is characterized by hostility, suspicion and emotional aloofness.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

People with antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) exhibit erratic behaviors, intense emotions and unpleasant attitudes towards society. People often mistakenly assume that ASPD is an isolating disorder, but it involves people who aggressively refuse to conform to social standard and norms. The antisocial personality disorder is marked by contempt for others, disregard for moral boundaries and indifference to ethical responsibilities. ASPD is often found among career criminals who engage in reckless and violent behaviors. Serial killers may be misdiagnosed with this condition at a young age.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder has been portrayed many times by Hollywood actors and films. This includes Glenn Close’s character in “Fatal Attraction” and Stella’s character in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Borderline personality disorder is characterized by severe behavior, personality, relationship and self-perception instability. Many people who suffer from this condition harbor a deep fear of being ignored and abandoned. This obsessive attachment is expressed through public self-harm, changing attitudes and fluctuating characteristics. Borderline personality disorder is related to Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD), which involves impulsiveness and fear of abandonment.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

This disorder involves an invasive craving for the approval and recognition of others. People with histrionic personality disorder gain approval by eccentric, flirtatious and seductive behavior. The constant craving for social recognition and personal stimulation results in flamboyant conduct and unbecoming demeanors. Many people with histrionic personality disorder are considered to be egoists and narcissists. However, people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) individuals desire approval to the point where it’s hurtful, destructive and irresponsible. These people often are vainly preoccupied with power, prestige and self-image.

Other common Personality Disorders include Avoidant Personality Disorder, which is characterized by extreme feelings of inadequacy and inhibition, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality, which is characterized by repetitious and uncontrollable behaviors.