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‘Cluster C Personality Disorders’

Post by on Wednesday, July 14, 2021

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If you are asked to describe a friend's personality, you might describe them as generally being a creative type or easygoing but nervous in groups. Basically, you're trying to summarise the personal traits that make them who they are either, how they think or how they act. Sometimes these thought patterns are behaviours which make up a person's personality can actually be harmful in the sense that they interfere with their day-to-day functioning in their personal life, at work or in social settings. If this were the case, we would say that the individual has a personality disorder.
The DSM-5 or The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders lists 10 personality disorders that are split into three different clusters referred to as clusters A, B and C.
Last week we discussed ‘Cluster B’ Personality Disorders.
This week, we get a hold of Cluster C Personality Disorders. They include Avoidant Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder. These three disorders can also be described as cowardly, compulsive and clingy to help you remember them and they all have a genetic association with anxiety disorders.
So let's start with Avoidant personality disorder associated with the word cowardly. These individuals are shy, timid and socially inhibited with extremely low self-esteem and see themselves as incapable, inadequate and undesirable. These people want close relationships with others, but rarely take social risks and avoid social situations, which makes it hard for them to meet new people. People with this disorder are also hypersensitive to rejection in negative feedback becoming even more withdrawn when that happens. There is some overlap between avoidant personality disorders and social phobias but one key difference is that social phobias tend to be focused on anxiety of specific situations like public speaking or dancing in public while Avoidant personality disorder is defined by an anxiety of social situations more generally. All right, so next is Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder, which is where individuals are obsessed with orderliness, perfectionism and having complete control as well as rules, details and schedules. While this might sound like a great set of attributes, people with this disorder are often inflexible and easily stressed as well as being surprisingly inefficient because they spend so much extra time planning and worrying about tasks rather than simply doing them. They also tend to be very rigid when it comes to beliefs and moral issues which leads them to be perceived as very stubborn. The name Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder or OCPD sounds a lot like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD which is a different disorder with some overlap and symptoms. OCD is an anxiety disorder where there's a repetition of ritualistic actions, like checking the door over and over again to make sure that it's locked. The key difference is that OCD is called an ego-dystonic condition because the person wishes that he or she could stop the behavior. In contrast OCPD is ego-syntonic meaning that the person’s generally happy with how they are and don't want to change anything about themselves. And finally, we have Dependent Personality Disorder, which is associated with the word clingy. These people have an intense fear of separation and rejection.
So they tend to overly depend on or cling to the relationships that they do have. They lack self-confidence and believe that they can't adequately care for themselves and they find it nearly impossible to make even simple decisions like what to eat for lunch and they become desperate to hold on to someone who can completely take care of them. Sadly these individuals often get trapped in abusive relationships. Now there's considerable overlap between diagnostic categories for personality disorders. For example people with Dependent personality disorder often meet the diagnostic criteria for Avoidant personality disorder, and there's also overlap with personality disorders in clusters A and B as well. Treatment for cluster C personality disorders typically include social skills training and anxiety management. Group therapy can be particularly helpful for these people as well since it provides a safe place through which they can practice engaging in different social interactions. Alright, that's a quick recap: Cluster C Personality Disorders are split into Avoidant Personality Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Dependent Personality Disorder.
 

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