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What Are The 5 Most Common Personality Disorders?

Personality Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists ten standalone personality disorders. Although each personality disorder has distinct characteristics, each of the different personality disorders is categorized into one of three clusters (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) cluster A personality disorders are characterized by eccentric, odd thinking, or behavior; cluster B personality disorders are characterized by overly emotional, dramatic, or unpredictable thinking or behavior; and cluster C personality disorders are characterized by fearful, anxious thinking or behavior. The personality disorders that make up each cluster share similar symptoms and have overlapping characteristics. Data provided by the Cambridge University Press indicates that the global pooled prevalence of any personality disorder is 7.8%. The most common personality disorders are listed below.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD) belongs to cluster C. OCD is characterized by unreasonable, uncontrollable, or recurring thoughts (obsessions) followed by a behavioral response (compulsions). Obsessions are defined as “repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety.” Compulsions are defined as “repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought.” The International OCD Foundation asserts that OCD equally affects men, women, and children of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. OCD often begins in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood; the average age symptoms appear is 19 years old. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America approximately 2.3% of the population has OCD, which is about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the U.S.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) belongs to cluster B. The Mayo Clinic explains that people with NPD “have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” The Cleveland Clinic estimates that up to 5% of people have NPD, while other sources assert the prevalence rates of NPD can range between 1% to 15% of the United States population.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) belongs to cluster B. BPD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of instability and hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships, instability in self-image, extreme mood fluctuations, and impulsivity.” The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) estimates that 1.4% of the adult population in America experience BPD.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) belongs to cluster A. The Merck Manual explains that paranoid personality disorder is “characterized by a pervasive pattern of unwarranted distrust and suspicion of others that involves interpreting their motives as malicious.” The Cleveland Clinic refers to studies that estimate PPD affects between 2.3% and 4.4% of the general population, and it is thought to be more common among men.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder belongs to cluster A. The Merck Manual explains “schizoid personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of detachment from and general disinterest in social relationships and a limited range of emotions in interpersonal relationships.” The American Psychiatric Association estimates that between six and seven million Americans suffer from schizoid personality disorder. The most recent research from the National Institutes of Health on the subject suggests that almost five percent of the population has schizoid personality disorder.


The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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