BPD Related Conditions Cluster B Personality Disorders By Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. Learn about our editorial process Updated on February 13, 2023 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Daniel B. Block, MD Medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD LinkedIn Twitter Daniel B. Block, MD, is an award-winning, board-certified psychiatrist who operates a private practice in Pennsylvania. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Sandy Honig/Moment/Getty Images Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Overview Classification Causes Diagnosis Treatment Personality disorders can be confusing since many have similar or even overlapping characteristics. In order to better differentiate one from the next, the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) grouped the various disorders into three clusters, each of which is characterized by a shared and distinctive personality feature. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 9.1 percent of Americans over 18 have at least one personality disorder. Understanding Personality Disorders Your personality is defined by how you think, behave, and feel. A personality disorder is not simply about thinking, feeling, or behaving differently than would be expected. It is a persistent deviation from cultural expectations that causes distress and makes it difficult to function. At its heart, a personality disorder characterized by an unhealthy and rigid pattern of behavior that interferes with the ability to perceive or relate to situations or people, enjoy life, maintain meaningful relationships, and do well at school or work. Classifying Cluster B Disorders There are 10 specific types of personality disorders, which DSM-5 breaks into three clusters. Cluster A is defined as odd or eccentric behavior which has been estimated to affect 7.2% of adults in Western nations; cluster C personality disorders consist of fearful and anxious behaviors, affecting 6.7% of adults; cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behaviors and reportedly affect 5.5% of adults. Cluster B personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. These tend to be the least common disorders but are often the most challenging to treat. As with any other number of personality and mood disorders, conditions can overlap and coexist, requiring different approaches to treatment and care. Antisocial Personality Disorder The DSM-5 defines antisocial personality disorder as a pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of others that begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. People with antisocial personality disorder have been described as lacking empathy (the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to understand their feelings). They often act irresponsibly, lie, steal, or repeatedly break the law. Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by impulsive behavior, aggression, recklessness, a disregard for the safety of yourself or others, and a lack of remorse for any harms done. Borderline Personality Disorder Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with specific problems with interpersonal relationships, self-image, emotions, behaviors, and thinking. People with BPD tend to have unstable and intense relationships and are prone to frequent arguments and breakups. They are characteristically afraid of being abandoned and will have a strongly negative image of themselves. People with BPD will often say that they feel as if they're on an emotional roller coaster, shifting from elation to depression within a matter of minutes. Another hallmark of BPD is a tendency to engage in risky behaviors, such as going on shopping sprees, abusing alcohol or drugs, engaging in promiscuous sex, binge eating, or self-harm (such as cutting yourself or attempting suicide). If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911. For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database. Narcissistic Personality Disorder The key features of narcissistic personality disorder, according to the DSM-5, include an inflated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy and attention-seeking behavior. People with this disorder often believe themselves to be exceptional and entitled to special treatment. They will demand excessive attention, take advantage of others, and have an inability to either perceive or demonstrate empathy. People with a narcissistic personality disorder will also exaggerate their achievements and fantasize about being powerful, attractive, and successful. While they will have no interest in others' feelings and needs, they will often have unreasonable expectations of what others should do for them. Jealousy of others is common, as is the belief that they are actively envied by others. Histrionic Personality Disorder The most telling characteristic of histrionic personality disorder is a rapid shift between dramatic expressions of emotion and excessive attention-seeking behavior. People with this disorder don't like it when someone else is getting more attention and will engage in dramatic, seductive, or sexually provocative behavior and/or use physical appearance to regain the limelight. People with a histrionic personality disorder may believe that personal relationships are stronger than they really are, use dramatic statements to express opinions, and be easily influenced by others. They also tend to overly concerned about their physical appearance. Causes Your personality—the way you think, feel, and behave—largely forms during childhood. Your temperament, environment, and personal experiences all work together to shape your personality. The exact causes of personality disorders remain unclear but are believed to be genetically influenced, suggesting that our temperament may be inherited to some degree. According to research from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, certain brain abnormalities are common in people with Cluster B personality disorders, suggesting that they may be inherently predisposed to mental health disorders from birth. Childhood trauma, abuse, chaos, instability, or a family history of personality disorders are also seen to be contributing factors, The Relationship Between Child Abuse and BPD Diagnosis Avoid the temptation to try to diagnose yourself or a loved one for a personality disorder. Only a trained mental health professional can accurately make a diagnosis based on a review and characterization of symptoms. If you think you or a loved one has a personality disorder, talk to your doctor. Diagnosis includes a physical exam, psychiatric evaluation, and meeting specific criteria outlined in the DSM-5. Treatment Treatment can go a long way to helping you attain a better quality of life. The two most common treatments are psychotherapy and medication. If your situation requires it, you may need to be hospitalized or referred to a residential treatment program. The Best Online Therapy Programs We've tried, tested and written unbiased reviews of the best online therapy programs including Talkspace, Betterhelp, and Regain. Psychotherapy Usually, the best treatment for personality disorders is psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy or counseling. You may learn some life skills that help you cope with your emotions while also learning how to respond appropriately and manage your relationships. The most commonly used psychotherapies for personality disorders are: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) Psychoanalysis Group therapy Self-education and coping skills training are also important parts of psychotherapy. How to Cope With a Personality Disorder Medications Though there aren't any medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat personality disorders, co-existing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder are typically treated with: Antidepressants: These can help if you have depression symptoms such as a low mood, anger, hopelessness, worthlessness, or irritability. Anti-anxiety medications: If you have problems with anxiety or insomnia, these medications may help decrease the symptoms. However, they can also lead to increased impulsiveness in some. Antipsychotics: For people diagnosed with psychosis or extreme anxiety, antipsychotics may be useful in normalizing heightened moods. Mood stabilizers: These medications can help balance your moods so that mood swings are less frequent or severe. They may also help reduce impulsive behavior and aggression. 8 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Personality Disorders. Ekselius L. Personality disorder: a disease in disguise. Ups J Med Sci. 2018;123(4):194-204. doi:10.1080%2F03009734.2018.1526235 Volkert J, Gablonski TC, Rabung S. Prevalence of personality disorders in the general adult population in Western countries: systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Psychiatry. 2018;213(6):709-715. doi:10.1192/bjp.2018.202 Black DW. The Natural History of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Can J Psychiatry. 2015;60(7):309-14. doi:10.1177%2F070674371506000703 Dixon-gordon K, Peters J, Fertuck E, Yen S. Emotional Processes in Borderline Personality Disorder: An Update for Clinical Practice. J Psychother Integr. 2017;27(4):425-438. doi:10.1037%2Fint0000044 Roepke S, Vater A. Narcissistic personality disorder: an integrative review of recent empirical data and current definitions. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2014;16(5):445. doi:10.1007/s11920-014-0445-0 Sulz S. Hysteria I. Histrionic personality disorder. A psychotherapeutic challenge. Nervenarzt. 2010;81(7):879-87. doi:10.1007/s00115-010-3016-6 Perugula ML, Narang PD, Lippmann SB. The Biological Basis to Personality Disorders. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2017;19(2). oi:10.4088/PCC.16br02076 Additional Reading American Psychiatric Association (APA). (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Washington, DC; American Psychiatric Association. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Personality Disorders. Bethesda, Maryland. Perugula, M.; Narang, P.; and Lippmann, S. The Biological Basis to Personality Disorders. Prim Care Compan CNS Dis. 2017;19(2):16br02076. DOI:10.4088/PCC.16br02076. By Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for BPD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.