Personality Disorders are described as “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” and “are inflexible and maladaptive, and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress”.
Schizoid Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of detachment from social relationships and a restricted range of expressions of emotions in interpersonal settings. Those with SPD may be perceived by others as somber and aloof, and often are referred to as “loners.”
Schizotypal Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with reduced capacity for close relationships as well as by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior. This disorder is characterized both by a need for isolation as well as odd, outlandish, or paranoid beliefs. In social situations, they may show inappropriate reaction or not react at all, or they may talk to themselves.
Paranoid Personality Disorder – A pervasive mistrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent. Although they are prone to unjustified angry or aggressive outbursts when they perceive others as disloyal or deceitful, those with PPD more often come across as emotionally “cold” or excessively serious.
Antisocial Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others. APD is characterized by lack of empathy or conscience, a difficulty controlling impulses and manipulative behaviors. This disorder is sometimes also referred to as psychopathy or sociopathy, however, Antisocial Personality Disorder is the clinical terminology used for diagnosis.
Borderline Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, affects, and control over impulses. This mental illness interferes with an individual’s ability to regulate emotion. Borderlines are highly sensitive to rejection, and fear of abandonment may result in frantic efforts to avoid being left alone, such a suicide threats and attempts.
Histrionic Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of excessive emotion and attention seeking often in unusual ways, such as bizarre appearance or speech. With rapidly shifting, shallow emotions, histrionics can be extremely theatrical, and constantly need to be the center of attention.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy. Narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity, but the pathologically narcissistic tend to be extremely self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ perspectives, insensitive to others’ needs and indifferent to the effect of their own egocentric behavior.
Avoidant Personality Disorder – A pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation and are unwilling to take social risks. Avoidants display a high level of social discomfort, timidity, fear of criticism, avoidance of activities that involve interpersonal contact.
Dependent Personality Disorder – A pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of which leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fears of separation. Dependent personalities require excessive reassurance and advice, and are extremely sensitive to criticism or disapproval.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder – Also called Anankastic Personality Disorder display a pervasive pattern of preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control, at the expense of flexibility, openness, and efficiency. They can also be workaholics, preferring the control of working alone, as they are afraid that work completed by others will not be done correctly.
My questions is: Are these clusters necessary?
Once you know which personality disorder someone has you’ve got it pegged. It would make more sense to use clusters to further narrow down behavior before diagnosis.
If the patient is obviously dramatic and emotional it is easier come to the Cluster B conclusions and therefore rule out disorders characterized by other clusters. However there can easily be overlap and therefore confusion. With Borderline (Cluster B) there’s an intense fear of abandonment, often paranoia that something will happen and people will leave, which is why we attach so hard to people regardless of there being any evidence to support this paranoia. To me this indicates anxious and fearful behavior which would be Cluster C, even though Paranoid PD is Cluster A. Confusing, no?
Being Borderline I’m grouped into Cluster B. I can tell you with absolute certainty that my personality characteristics fit almost all Cluster A criteria. In Cluster B I obviously hit Borderline but also Histrionic PD. As far as ASPD goes, I have at least the difficulty controlling impulses and manipulative behavior. For NPD a case could be made for being self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ perspectives (if they don’t satisfy what I need at the moment), and indifference to the effect of egocentric behavior. For ASPD and NPD my motivations are fundamentally different though. Maybe that’s the deciding factor. Motivation. Not consciously of course, but those underlying factors that set us apart from the other PDs that we’re not diagnosed with. To me this conclusion is obvious. It boils down to which behaviors are most predominant. This still doesn’t explain what the point of further breaking personality disorders into clusters is. In all of my research, so far, I have not found a single reason why these clusters are necessary.
Who’s to say what the difference between these traits are anyways? Who defines what is erratic (Cluster B) and not eccentric (Cluster A)? Lack of interest in social relationships (Cluster A) and social inhibition (Cluster C)? There is no solid, scientific way of distinguishing between clusters. There is a lot of overlap between the Clusters so they don’t help narrow down the playing field. Any conclusions reached about a person will point directly to a personality disorder(s) regardless of which cluster they fall into, especially as symptoms may indicate multiple clusters. In fact, the cluster groupings may work to limit the consideration treatment options that other personality disorders could provide insight to.
My conclusion is that they’re basically erroneous.
Hah, Ok. I just found this abstract on Neuropsychological, Psychophysiological, and Personality Assessment of DSM-IV Clusters:
Testing the construct validity of the three DSM-IV cluster groupings of personality disorders, in terms of neuropsychological, psychophysiological, and personality traits measures, was the purpose of this study. The results hardly confirm significant differences between B and C cluster groups in their neuropsychological functioning, but, instead, suggest that Cluster A could have some empirical validity based on executive prefrontal deficits (concept formation and sustained attention tasks) and clinical features. Similarly, no consistent differences among groups emerge when psychophysiological measures are compared. With regard to the Big-Five personality dimensions, the results also indicate that clusters may be more heterogeneous than the DSM-IV suggests. It appears, therefore, that the categorical division of DSM personality disorders into three discrete clusters may not be empirically justified.
See, no real reason for the Clusters. I win. (Apparently this was a competition.)