Examining Personality and Delusional Disorders

Examining Personality Disorders


In this article, you will be given definitions of the many sub-categories of personality disorder. You will be presented with a scenario wherein you will get to play "abnormal psychologist," and decide if the behavior is healthy, or unhealthy. Try to deduce, on your own, whether or not the behavior or reaction is one that requires professional help, before reading the answer.

Sub-Types of Personality Disorder


A pattern of persistent distrust of others. Paranoid sub-types are characterized by being suspicious of others, and harboring the belief that most people are behaving dishonestly. They often think others are "out to get them," even with substantial proof to the contrary. They have few friends and often act hostile, and/or distant, towards co-workers and family, and doubt their loyalty.


Characterized by a detached personality, schizoid sub-types prefer to be alone. They choose solitary activities and show little desire to join in group activities. They have no close friends or confidants, and the only close relationships they form are with parents or siblings. They are not shy, but rather have no desire for the company of others.

Schizotypal personality

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Characterized by paranoid and schizoid personality types, schizotypal personalities also display eccentric behavior and may believe they have special powers or gifts. They are detached from others, with the exception of close family members. They are unlike paranoid and schizoid types, in that they often wish they could form close relationships with others, but their odd behavior keeps them from doing so. They are sometimes obsessed with superstitious or supernatural phenomena, and believe that everyday occurrences are meant solely for them.


Characterized by a persistent disregard for the feelings and rights of others. Antisocial sub-types are often psychopaths and sociopaths. They are very aggressive, and can be very violent. They show no remorse for hurting others, and do not see their bad behavior as being damaging, because they view other people as objects without feelings. This is the most studied personality disorder, and the one most diagnosed in serial killers, rapists, and pedophiles. Degrees of antisocial range from mild, to severe. Antisocials lie easily and often, without guilt or remorse; they can be very charming, and highly intelligent.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Characterized by instability in mood, relationships, and self-image, they are unpredictable, demanding, and needy. They desire close relationships, but often do not develop them, because they are too difficult to deal with. They use attention-getting tactics to manipulate loved ones into giving in to their demands, and can be emotionally draining. Unlike other disorders, borderlines suffer from poor self-image and low self esteem, and seek close personal connections.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Characterized by a strong need for admiration, the narcissistic sub-type is grandiose, vain, and self-absorbed. They seek not only attention, as histronics do, but also admiration to the point of worship. They believe they are better than others, and unique or special in some way. They often alienate others with their grandiose behavior. This disorder is very rare, and only 1 percent of the population suffers from it.


Characterized by an extreme fear of criticism, avoidants generally shy away from others out of timidity. They have a very low self-image and believe that no one would want to be friends with them. They are overly sensitive to comments, and are very tense and clumsy around others.


Characterized by a need for constant attention, histrionic types are very dramatic and flamboyant. They seek to have the attention of everyone around them and will do whatever it takes to obtain that attention. They make and lose friends quickly and have a hard time maintaining long-term, close, lasting friendships. They are very flirtatious and sexually provocative.


Characterized by an inability, or unwillingness, to care for themselves, dependants are very clingy and needy. They will often display highly submissive behavior, and tolerate all forms of mistreatment of others out of fear of being abandoned. Dependants have difficulty making decisions, expressing opinions, or developing their own interests. Because of their submissive behavior, they often end up in abusive relationships, from which they find it impossible to break out of.

You Decide

Hone your diagnostic skills: Read the following life scenario, decide if the situation and behaviors described fall into the healthy range, or if the person needs to seek help. The answer is at the end of the article.

Jane is a 23-year-old college student. She is very shy, and has only two close friends at school -- her college roommates. She could not decide what to study, so she allowed her mother to decide for her. She does not like to drink or go to bars, but because that is what her roommates do, she goes along with them rather than stay home alone, or make other friends who share her interests. Her new boyfriend, Jake, is handsome, and often flirts with her friends. Jake is also verbally abusive, often humiliating her in front of her friends. Jane does not object to this behavior and is just happy to have a boyfriend at all. Jake likes beer, so Jane drinks beer. Jake likes action movies, so Jane watches action movies. She would like to break up with Jake sometimes, but is afraid no one else would want her.

Where you right? Jane is displaying unhealthy behaviors. She should seek professional help. She may be suffering from dependant personality disorder.