5 Most Common Personality Disorders

types of personality disorders

5 Most Common Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves. If you have one of these conditions, you will experience feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that deviate from the societal norm and cause you great distress.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “The prevalence of any personality disorder was 9.1%”.[1]

Personality disorders can make it extremely difficult to function in everyday life. Oftentimes, these conditions cause patterns of unstable relationships, confusing emotions, and extreme difficulty in coping. When left untreated, personality disorders can lead to significant dysfunction, distress, and even unhealthy coping mechanisms like drug or alcohol abuse.

If you are worried that you or a loved one is suffering from a personality disorder, being aware of the 5 most common types might help you decide whether diagnosis and treatment are necessary. 

Understanding the Different Types of Personality Disorders

Unlike other types of mental illnesses like anxiety or mood disorders, personality disorders might be caused by environmental influences. For example, most people who suffer from personality disorders have a history of childhood trauma. While these conditions can be caused by genetics, there is usually an environmental factor that triggers symptoms to arise.

Other mental health conditions tend to show up in childhood, however, personality disorders are more likely to begin in your late teens or early adulthood. Different types of personality disorders cause varying symptoms and behaviors. These illnesses are separated into clusters.

The different clusters of personality disorders include:[2]

  • Cluster A – These conditions are characterized by odd or eccentric behavior. People with Cluster A personality disorders are often high-functioning, causing others to believe they are just weird or quirky. Cluster A includes paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders.
  • Cluster B – These conditions are characterized by dramatic and erratic behavior. If you have one of these disorders, you might display highly emotional responses to everyday situations and have a pattern of unstable relationships. Cluster B includes antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personality disorders.
  • Cluster C – This group of illnesses includes avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders. Cluster C disorders cause people to behave fearfully and anxiously.

What are the 5 Most Common Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are not as common as other types of mental health conditions. However, a large number of people are still affected by them.

The 5 most common personality disorders include:

1. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Research shows that obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is the most common personality disorder in the United States.[3]

An obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is not the same illness as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), which is an anxiety condition. Oftentimes, this condition goes untreated because many of the behaviors are considered desirable in American society, however, this illness can cause significant distress in your life.

Symptoms of this obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) include:[4]

  • Experiencing overwhelming feelings of doubt and worry
  • Being obsessed with order and rules
  • Experiencing extreme distress associated with real or perceived failure
  • High levels of perfectionism
  • An overwhelming need for control 
  • Neglecting self-care or time with loved ones to work
  • Behaving in a rigid or judgemental manner 
  • An inability to be flexible, especially in work environments 

2. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The second most common personality disorder is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).[3] NPD causes feelings of extreme self-importance, cravings for admiration, and a lack of empathy. If you struggle with this condition, others might view your behavior as putting your own needs for importance ahead of others’ feelings.

Common symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder include:[5]

  • Believing you are special and better than others around you
  • Obsessing over achieving success and power 
  • Being unable to recognize or care about other people’s feelings 
  • Exaggerating your achievements to receive higher praise 
  • Arrogant behaviors 
  • Envying people they consider successful
  • Believing the people around you envy you
  • Feeling entitled and expecting compliance from others

3. Borderline Personality Disorder

The third most common personality disorder is borderline personality disorder (BPD). Because of how the media has portrayed BPD, there is a huge stigma surrounding it that often prevents people from receiving the professional help they need. BPD usually stems from significant trauma and abuse during early childhood.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that severely impacts a person’s ability to regulate their emotions. This loss of emotional control can increase impulsivity, affect how a person feels about themselves, and negatively impact their relationships with others.”[6]

The symptoms of borderline personality disorder include:

  • Risky and impulsive behaviors like unsafe sex, overspending, or substance abuse
  • Unstable self-image
  • A pattern of unhealthy relationships
  • Self-harm and suicidal behaviors 
  • Extreme fear of imagined or real abandonment 
  • Long-term feelings of emptiness or emotional numbness 
  • Outbursts of anger and frequent mood swings
  • Difficulty trusting others 

4. Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder causes you to heavily rely on other people because you are unable to meet your own emotional and physical needs. If you have this condition, you might feel helpless and have trouble making simple decisions for yourself. This leads to codependency. 

The common symptoms of dependent personality disorder include:[7]

  • Avoiding being alone 
  • Being unable to care for personal responsibilities 
  • Being highly sensitive to criticism 
  • Becoming overly focused on a fear of abandonment 
  • Behaving passively in relationships 
  • Behaving overly upset when relationships end 
  • Being unable to make decisions without another person’s help
  • An inability to express disagreements with others 

5. Antisocial Personality Disorder 

An antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of manipulating other people without feeling any remorse. There is debate on whether this condition is the same as psychopathy, however, some people suggest that antisocial personality disorder is a less severe version.[8]

The symptoms of antisocial personality disorder include:[8]

  • Behaving in a witty and charming manner
  • Being good at flattery and manipulating others 
  • Having a history of legal trouble
  • Disregarding the feelings and safety of others
  • Often experiencing anger and arrogance 
  • Being unable to display feelings of guilt or remorse
  • Lying, stealing, and fighting frequently 
  • Abusing substances 

Find Help for Personality Disorders Now

If you believe that you or a loved one suffers from a personality disorder, professional treatment can help. Personality disorders can make it extremely difficult to build close relationships with others or even function in your daily life, and you should always seek help from a mental health rehab program. 

Florida Recovery Group specializes in treating complex mental health conditions including personality disorders like borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. When you first arrive at Florida Recovery Group, you will meet with our mental health team to help create a treatment program that meets your needs. This will include an initial psychiatric and medical evaluation by one of our nurses or physicians and a detailed evaluation and history from a mental health counselor. 

From there, our team will work with you to choose treatments and therapy modalities that will best serve your mental health goals. 

If you or your loved one needs treatment or would like to learn more about the options available to you, please contact our staff at Florida Recovery Group today.


  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/personality-disorders
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/personality-disorders
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3105841/
  4. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000942.htm
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK556001/
  6. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder
  7. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000941.htm
  8. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000921.htm