What is Cluster A Personality Disorders
Every individual in this world is born with distinct traits which design an individual’s personality. Personality is the combination of a person’s behavior, thought process, and attitude toward others.
A Personality Disorder is any mental disorder that is characterized by improper thinking, functioning, and behavior. The defining feature of personality disorder is it shows a long-term pattern and affects at least two of the given below areas.
- Thinking about oneself and others
- Way of responding emotionally
- Way of relating to other people
- Way of controlling one’s behavior
Personality disorders are broadly classified into three categories or clusters. Cluster A (or odd personality disorders), Cluster B (or dramatic personality disorders), and lastly Cluster C (or anxious personality disorders).
Cluster A Personality Disorders are characterized by abnormal and odd thoughts and deeds that do not match societal norms. Paranoid individuality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder are classified under this cluster.
So let’s discuss Cluster A Personality Disorders one by one.
PARANOID PERSONALITY DISORDER (PPD)
People with Paranoid personality disorder have odd or eccentric ways of thinking. They also suffer from paranoia and extreme mistrust or suspicion of others. PPD usually begins in early adulthood and men are generally more affected than women.
Patients with PPD are always on guard that other people have hidden motives about them. They are always thinking they may be exploited (used) or harmed by others. As a result of their extreme suspicion habit, they are not able to socialize or keep long-term relationships. The main defining features are paranoia and a sense of suspicion.
SCHIZOID PERSONALITY DISORDER
It is a rare condition in which the patient has problems with socializing and interacting with others. Patients seem like a loner or dismissive of others and actually avoid close personal relationships. Defining symptoms is limited ability to make social connections and lack of emotional expressions.
Schizoid personality disorder usually manifests itself in early adulthood, but some symptoms can be seen as early as childhood.
A differential diagnosis needs to be made between schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia. A schizoid personality disorder may show some similarity with the above two mentioned disorders such as the severely limited ability to make social connections and lack of emotional expressions. But unlike schizotypal personality disorder and schizophrenia, these people are well in touch with reality and don’t experience paranoia and hallucinations.
SCHIZOTYPAL PERSONALITY DISORDER
A schizotypal personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by a long-term pattern of discomfort with close relationships and social interactions. Defining symptoms are discomfort with interpersonal relationships, distorted views of reality, superstitious beliefs, and unusual behaviors.
A differential diagnosis of schizophrenia needs to be done. While schizophrenia is a serious type of brain disorder that disturbs the way a person might think or act schizotypal personality disorder is not so severe. While schizophrenia patients may have delusions or hallucinations, they are not present in schizotypal personality disorders. In some rare cases, schizotypal personality disorder may develop into schizophrenia.
DIAGNOSIS OF CLUSTER A PERSONALTY DISORDERS
Personality disorders are much harder to be diagnosed as compared to other mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. A personality disorder should have a long history to be finally diagnosed. It is also noteworthy here that some people may experience several types of personality disorders at the same time. So the diagnosis can be a combination of more than one type of personality disorder making it more complex a case. For this purpose, a very detailed case history has to be taken especially focusing on the “History of past illnesses”.
Differential diagnosis with mental disorders is to be made too, so that you don’t confuse personality disorders with certain other mental disorders.
TREATMENT OF CLUSTER A PERSONALITY DISORDERS
There is no particular approach that may be singled out for treating personality disorders. You may be referred to a specialist personality disorder service or unit if your general practitioner thinks you have a complex personality disorder. These service units are made up of several different types of professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists who have desired skillset and experience required to treat people with personality disorders. At other times you may directly contact these services to get help for yourself. Once admitted to a specialist service unit, you and your healthcare team should agree on a treatment plan that is tailor-made for you and is also working best for you as much as it can. The treatment plan may include:
- One-to-one discussion about your disease
- Group psychological treatments or talking therapies like CBT( cognitive behavior therapy)
Tulasi Healthcare is a group of a psychiatric hospital and rehabilitation centre involves in psychosocial rehabilitation of mental illness and addiction disorder. At Tulasi Healthcare, we provide a wide range of therapeutic mental health services that are best catered to manage symptoms of specific personality disorders. Treatment of Cluster A personality disorders includes psychotherapy, medication, and group therapy or support groups. Our team of mental health professionals also ensures that you or your loved one get the best possible care with personalized treatment plans made especially for you.