The 'wacky' Cluster A personality disorder

The ‘wacky’ Cluster A personality disorder

People with personality disorders have numerous problems in social relationships and mood regulation that are usually present throughout their adult life. In these patients, patterns of perception, thought and response are fixed and inflexible, although their behavior is often unpredictable. Schizoid, schizotypal and paranoid personality disorders are part of the Cluster A group. Individuals in this group are often referred to as wacky, distrustful, suspicious and magical thinkers. These personality disorders should not be confused with the Axis I disorder schizophrenia, which is not a personality disorder but an actual brain disorder that presents with anatomic, neurotransmitter and immune system abnormalities. Personality disorders, on the other hand, are Axis II diagnoses in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Schizoid personality

This personality disorder is characterized by detachment from social relationships and restricted range of emotional expression in interpersonal settings. People with this disorder do not have many close friends, are not close with their family, generally give the cold shoulder, act indifferent and prefer solitude.

Schizotypal personality

People with this disorder are also socially isolated and do not have many close relationships, but they also are very odd and eccentric. They often have unusual thinking and speech, are overly suspicious and paranoid, and possess magical thinking, bizarre fantasies and beliefs in telepathy or a “sixth sense.” Interestingly, this disorder may have a genetic component and may be a clinical precursor to schizophrenia.

Paranoid personality

People with paranoid personality disorder display excessive distrust and suspiciousness. They believe that everyone is out to either harm them or deceive them and, as a result, they do not confide in others. They bear grudges and have a hard time maintaining relationships because they feel their significant other is either cheating or lying.

Impaired functioning

Keep in mind that people with personality disorders experience impaired psychological and social functioning, which can dramatically affect their lives and the lives of people close to them. These patients struggle with interpersonal relationships, educational and vocational endeavors, psychiatric and substance abuse issues, and legal problems. The disorder affects their intimate relationships, their functioning at work and other significant areas of their life.

If you or someone you know might be struggling with a personality or other mental health disorder, the Dual Diagnosis Helpline may be able to help. Call our 24/7 helpline at 855-981-6047 for more information.

Read more blogs about personality disorders.