What Are The Characteristics of Cluster B Disorders?


According to the American Psychiatric Association our personalities are the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors we have that are what make us different from others. Personalities are shaped over time by a variety of factors from both environment and experiences.

Also according to the APA, a personality disorder occurs when a person’s thoughts, behaviors and interactions with others deviates from cultural norms and causes distress or problems with functioning, and lasts over time.

There are many types of personality disorders and doctors have organized them into different groups, or cluster, to help with diagnosis and identification. The good news is that most personality disorders can be treated.

Cluster B Disorders

People who have Cluster B Disorders may find it hard to regulate emotions, which causes problems in relationships. They may often be viewed as dramatic, emotional or erratic when compared to others.

Types of Cluster B Disorders

There are four types of Cluster B Disorders:

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder – Those diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder  may consistently lie, manipulate and deceive others. They may not conform to social norms and may act impulsively.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder – People living with borderline personality disorder may experience extreme feelings of abandonment, paranoia and chronic sadness. These feeling may create patterns of instability with relationships, self image and impulsivity. They may display inappropriate anger and recurrent suicidal tendencies.
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder – People with histrionic disorder go to great lengths to maintain being the center of attention. This may include dramatic speech, strong opinions that are unsubstantiated or use of physical appearance to attract attention.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder –  Narcissistic Personality Disorder may act as though they are superior to everyone else. They have a strong need for admiration and lack of empathy for others. They may also display a grandiose sense of self and entitlement.

Causes for Cluster B Disorders

The known causes for any personality disorder are not fully understood, most likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Potential factors may include:

  • brain development
  • sexual trauma
  • family history
  • abuse

Diagnosis For Cluster B Disorders

As with any mental health disorder, diagnosis for Cluster B Disorders require help from a mental health professional. Highly qualified experts will examine long term patterns of function and symptoms to identify if a personality disorder is present.

Often, personality disorders co-occur with alcohol addiction or substance abuse. Nearly one-third of those diagnosed with a mental health disorder will also struggle with either drugs or alcohol at some point in their lives.

Treatment for Cluster B Disorders

While medication may help in treating symptoms of Cluster B Disorders there are no known medications to specifically treat them. However, with active multi-dimensional therapy those struggling can find relief and coping strategies. Comprehensive programs involve a combination of psychotherapy, mindfulness and expressive therapies.

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