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There are a number of definitions of personality disorder. Most agree that personality disorders affect the way people think and feel about themselves and others. People with personality disorders tend to have ideas and feelings that negatively affect the way they relate to others, while also resulting in considerable negative feelings and ideas towards themselves.

While many of us experience these feelings from time to time, the features that define a personality disorder are the intensity and frequency of the negative thoughts and feelings the person experiences.

People with personality disorder have these experiences to a significantly higher degree than the general population. This can potentially cause serious and intense psychological pain, suffering and instability. Sometimes the distress associated with these feelings may cause the person to engage in self-harm or other harsh, risky and damaging activities, in an attempt to escape the negative intensity of their experiences.

There are six types of personality disorder, each with its own particular characteristics. The following information provides an overview of some of the more recognisable symptoms and behaviours for these personality disorders.

For more information about these and other personality disorders visit the Mayo Clinic website.