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Mental health problems fit into two broad categories. These are mental illness and personality disorders. Both cause problems for the person who has them. Both affect those around the person who suffers from them. One grouping, mental illness, is often treatable with medicines while personality disorders have no medicines to treat them. While people with mental illnesses suffer from their conditions, it is often the case that those around a person with a personality disorder suffer more than the person with the disorder. And to the extent that person gets in trouble with the law, those with mental illnesses are often seen as not being responsible for their actions while those with personality disorders are more often held accountable.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are ten types of personality disorders and one subset making eleven in all.

  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCPD)
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
  • Emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), sometimes known as borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Impulsive personality disorder (a subtype of EUPD)

Personality disorders fall into three general groupings. Those exhibiting unconventional behavior include schizotypal personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder. Those individuals with unpredictable and dramatic symptoms include impulsive personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, emotionally unstable personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. And those individuals who typically exhibit anxiety and fear generally fit profiles for obsessive compulsive personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, or avoidant personality disorder.

Types of Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders Have to Do With How We Relate to Others

The issues with personality disorders in general have to do with exaggerated beliefs and reactions in relation to other people. We all do well to be a little suspicious at times and in certain situations. When a person has a paranoid personality disorder, they are overly suspicious of everyone and at all times. There are times when it is healthy to take a break from too many relationships and too much interaction but folks with antisocial personality disorders carry this to extremes. People with personality disorders do not have hallucinations or delusions where they do not accurately see and hear what is going on around them in the world. Rather they get the same sensory input as other people but interpret things differently and therefore respond differently. At times this makes them difficult to be around or interact with. At times their mere presence is so overwhelming that it constitutes a mental health problem for those close to them.

Types of Mental Illnesses

Schizophrenia and psychoses are types of mental illnesses. Individuals with these illnesses get hallucinations and delusions. Their input from the world is distorted. Thus, their reactions to sensory input and the constant barrage of distorted input leads to what would be irrational behavior in someone who experienced the world normally. There are medicines that help treat schizophrenia and other psychotic problems. Unfortunately, people need to take them all of the time to get relief.

Depression is a mental illness. While it is normal to feel depressed due to events in a person’s life, major depression is caused by an imbalance of chemical transmitters in the brain and is treatable by antidepressants and the psychedelic medicine psilocybin. PTSD and obsessive compulsive disorders are characterized by fear and the brain getting stuck in a feedback loop from which the person cannot escape. These conditions can be helped with antidepressants and the psychedelic medicine MDMA along with coaching or psychotherapy.

A difference between mental illnesses like schizophrenia, PTSD, and depression and personality disorders is that people with a personality disorder are generally functional, can do their work and get on with their daily lives while those with severe mental illnesses often cannot. People with mental illnesses commonly isolate and get neglected. People with personality disorders often are interacting with and being an irritant for those around them. While we generally see those with mental illnesses as being ill, we often see those with personality disorders as simply being contrary or difficult.

Types of Mental Illnesses

Don’t Get in Trouble With the Law If You Have a Personality Disorder

Individuals who are mentally ill and who have committed a crime but are often found not to have understood the difference between right and wrong generally do not go to prison. They may end up getting psychiatric care but generally are not considered guilty of something they did not understand. While those individuals with personality disorders often misread the intent of others and act accordingly, the law generally finds them to be guilty of crimes because having a different opinion or interpretation of a situation does not excuse their actions.

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