Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD)
Antisocial personality disorder (APD) is a personality disorder which is often characterised by antisocial and impulsive behaviour. Although criminal activity, these individuals often encounter legal difficulties due to their disregard for societal standards and the rights of others. Therefore, many of these individuals can be found in prisons. However, it should be noted that criminal activity does not automatically warrant a diagnosis of APD, nor does a diagnosis of APD imply that a person is a criminal.
Research has shown that individuals with APD are indifferent to the possibility of physical pain or many punishments, and show no indications that they experience fear when so threatened; this may explain their apparent disregard for the consequences of their actions, and their lack of empathy when others are suffering.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
People with avoidant personality disorder experience a long-standing feeling of inadequacy and are extremely sensitive to what others think about them. This leads to the person being socially inhibited and feeling socially inept. Because of these feelings, the person with avoidant personality disorder will seek to avoid work, school and any activities that involve socialising or interacting with others.
Individuals with Avoidant Personality Disorder often vigilantly appraise the movements and expressions of those with whom they come into contact. Their fearful and tense demeanour may elicit ridicule from others, which in turn confirms their self-doubts. They are very anxious about the possibility that they will react to criticism with blushing or crying. They are described by others as being “shy,” “timid,” “lonely,” and “isolated.”
The major problems associated with this disorder occur in social and occupational environments. The low self-esteem and hypersensitivity to rejection are associated with restricted interpersonal contacts. These individuals may become relatively isolated and usually do not have a large social support network that can support them through crises.They desire affection and acceptance and may fantasise about idealised relationships with others. The avoidant behaviours can also adversely affect occupational functioning because these individuals try to avoid the types of social situations that may be important for meeting the basic demands of the job or for advancement.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder is characterised by significant instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and mood, and impulsive behaviour. Sometimes there can be a variation of periods of confidence to despair, with fear of abandonment and rejection, which may lead towards suicidal thinking and self-harm. It is also associated with substantial weakening of social, psychological and occupational functioning and quality of life.
People with borderline personality disorder are particularly at risk of suicide. The problems experienced by people with borderline personality disorder, whether emotional or behavioural vary significantly. Some people are able to maintain some relationships and professional occupations.
People with more severe forms experience very high levels of emotional distress. They have repeated crises, which can involve self-harm and impulsive aggression. Some people may exhibit an appearance of multiple illnesses, including other personality disorders, and are frequent users of psychiatric and acute hospital emergency services.
Dependent Personality Disorder (DPD)
Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is characterized by pervasive concerns about being separated from caretaker figures as well as difficulty with independence and autonomy. People with this disorder are anxious and insecure when they are not with a person who will support them, make decisions for them and generally take care of them.
People with DPD may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Unable to make everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
- Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of their life
- Difficulty initiating projects or doing things themself (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities, rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
- Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
- Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone, because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for herself
- Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
- Has an unrealistic preoccupation with fears of being left to take care of themselves