What Are Cluster A Personality Disorders?

Clinical psychologist David Steinbok, PsyD, possesses nearly a decade of experience counseling groups, individuals, and couples at his private practice in Boca Raton. Dr. David Steinbok specializes in several psychoanalytic and cognitive behavioral therapy approaches and has worked with clients managing personality disorders.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) recognizes 10 personality disorders, which are defined as a pervasive set of behavioral and thought patterns that negatively impact a person’s well being and ability to function in day to day life. These 10 conditions are categorized into three separate clusters; A, B, and C.

Cluster A personality disorders, Schizotypal, Paranoid, and Schizoid, have similar symptoms including underdeveloped social skills, distorted thinking, and eccentric behaviors. Within cluster A disorders, there are distinct differences in the manifestation of these symptoms.

Schizotypal personalities may experience sensory hallucinations or hold unusual beliefs. They are often distrusting of others and have difficulty forming intimate relationships. An intense distrust of people is also present in those with paranoid personality disorder. People with this disorder may also have excessive fears of being harmed or betrayed.

Schizoid personality disorder is defined solely by a lack of interest in close relationships. People with the disorder also exhibit a stunted affect and a limited range of emotional expression. While personality disorders tend to be enduring, psychotherapy and medication can be used to minimize the negative effects and improve a person’s quality of life.

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