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Cluster A vs. Cluster B vs. Cluster C: An Easy-To-Read Guide

Key Takeaways:

  • Clusters A, B, and C are ways to classify personality disorders.
  • Personality disorders have varying impacts on the lives of the people who have them - so treatment varies as well.
  • Therapy, medication, and, in extreme cases, inpatient treatment are all options for those with personality disorders.

Psychologists divide personality disorders into clusters in order to help define and classify them. There are three clusters: A, B, C.

Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd behavior: schizoid personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder are a few examples.

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic and overly emotional behavior: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder are all examples of cluster b personality disorders.

Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by nervousness and fearfulness: OCD, avoidant personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder are a few examples of cluster C disorders.

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Cluster A Personality Disorders

Cluster B Personality Disorders

Cluster C Personality Disorders

How do I know if I have a personality disorder?

Treatments for Personality Disorders

Personality Disorder Testing and Treatment in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

Definition Template (2)-1

Cluster A Personality Disorders

Cluster A, in psychology, is a group of disorders with eccentric behavioral symptoms - that is, behavior that may be strange, awkward, and isolating.

Within cluster A are several disorders that each carry their own set of symptoms and challenges.

Some of the most common cluster B personality disorders are:

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder: Chronic and unreasonable suspicion about people or situations. Those with paranoid personality disorder may be distrustful even of close friends and family, and when there is no evidence of actual wrong-doing.
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder: Chronic and debilitating disdain for close emotional relationships. Those with schizoid personality disorder tend to be reclusive.
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder: Chronic and debilitating disdain for close emotional relationships coupled with paranoid or mistrustful thinking patterns and other eccentric behaviors Those with schizotypal personality disorder often have beliefs in supernatural phenomena, and tend to be reclusive.

Cluster A personality disorders affect about 3.6% of the American public.

Cluster B Personality Disorders

Cluster B, in contrast to cluster A, is characterized by dramatic and intensely emotional behavior. Cluster B disorders include:

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder: A chronic lack of appreciation of the "social contract"; disregard for laws and the rights of others.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Chronic and unreasonably high self-importance, leading often to extreme selfishness.
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder: Chronic and heavily distorted self-image; an immense desire for attention - often of a sexual nature.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder: Unstable and dramatic emotional swings; an intense fear of abandonment.

Cluster B personality disorders affect about 1.5% of the American public.

Cluster C Personality Disorders

Cluster C personality disorders are defined by fearful and anxious thoughts and behaviors.

The most common cluster C disorders include:

  • Dependent Personality Disorder: Abnormal submissiveness; reduced capacity for decision-making; trouble taking care of themselves.
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder: Distressing and debilitating fear of rejection and negative judgment; avoiding social situations to avoid rejection and judgment.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder: Unreasonable expectations of and emphasis on perfection.

Cluster C personality disorders affect approximately 2.7% of the American public.

How do I know if I have a personality disorder?

The only way to know for certain if you have a personality disorder is to get tested by a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist.

Self-diagnosing any medical disorder is very dangerous. Self-treatment can also lead to adverse effects and ultimately do more harm than good.

If you suspect you may have a personality disorder, talk to a licensed psychologist.

You can determine whether you may have a personality disorder by asking yourself the following questions:

  • Do my thoughts often cause me or those around me distress?
  • Do my feelings or emotional reactions often cause me or those around me distress?
  • Do my behaviors and their consequences often cause me or those around me distress?

Officially, a personality disorder is diagnosable if the above three are found to be true by a mental health professional and if other causes can be ruled out.

Having a personality disorder can be extremely debilitating, but it can also be very treatable with the right medications, therapy, or intervention.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

Treatments for Personality Disorders

The treatment your mental health professional recommends for your personality disorder will depend on the disorder itself as well as how your specific case is presenting.

Most commonly, psychotherapy is the first course of treatment. If necessary or appropriate for the case, there are also medications that may help reduce symptoms.

Therapy for Personality Disorders

CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a common and well-studied form of therapy.

CBT emphasizes the identification and interruption of negative and unhealthy thought patterns.

This can be particularly effective for personality disorders, which are often characterized by distorted, inaccurate, and unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

Medications for Personality Disorders

Some medications have shown that they may be able to help reduce the symptoms of personality disorders.

Some medications that may be recommended for people with personality disorders include:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics/Neuroleptics
  • Mood stabilizers

It's important to only take medication as prescribed by a medical professional. Taking too much or too little medication, particularly in the context of a psychiatric disorder, can be extremely dangerous for yourself and others.

Inpatient Treatment Facilities

For more severe personality disorder cases, a mental health professional may recommend inpatient treatment.

These facilities exist to help and treat those with mental disorders severe enough to make living outside of a controlled facility extremely stressful or dangerous.

Inpatient facilities often administer therapy and medication in the same manner as those with outpatient treatment plans, but the controlled nature of the facility makes treatment far more likely to be effective (and to be taken as directed.)

Personality Disorder Testing and Treatment in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have a personality disorder, it's time to talk to a mental health professional about your options for testing and treatment.

At Williamsburg Therapy Group, we pride ourselves on our neuropsychological testing and treatment teams. We care about our community, and we're honored to help them get the treatment they deserve.

Give us a call to talk about our neuropsychological testing options in Brooklyn. Feeling better may be closer than you think.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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