Generalized personality disorder

Personality disorders - Symptoms and causes


A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school.

In some cases, you may not realize that you have a personality disorder because your way of thinking and behaving seems natural to you. And you may blame others for the challenges you face.

Personality disorders usually begin in the teenage years or early adulthood. There are many types of personality disorders. Some types may become less obvious throughout middle age.

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Types of personality disorders are grouped into three clusters, based on similar characteristics and symptoms. Many people with one personality disorder also have signs and symptoms of at least one additional personality disorder. It's not necessary to exhibit all the signs and symptoms listed for a disorder to be diagnosed.

Cluster A personality disorders

Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior. They include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.

Paranoid personality disorder
  • Pervasive distrust and suspicion of others and their motives
  • Unjustified belief that others are trying to harm or deceive you
  • Unjustified suspicion of the loyalty or trustworthiness of others
  • Hesitancy to confide in others due to unreasonable fear that others will use the information against you
  • Perception of innocent remarks or nonthreatening situations as personal insults or attacks
  • Angry or hostile reaction to perceived slights or insults
  • Tendency to hold grudges
  • Unjustified, recurrent suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful
Schizoid personality disorder
  • Lack of interest in social or personal relationships, preferring to be alone
  • Limited range of emotional expression
  • Inability to take pleasure in most activities
  • Inability to pick up normal social cues
  • Appearance of being cold or indifferent to others
  • Little or no interest in having sex with another person
Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Peculiar dress, thinking, beliefs, speech or behavior
  • Odd perceptual experiences, such as hearing a voice whisper your name
  • Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
  • Social anxiety and a lack of or discomfort with close relationships
  • Indifferent, inappropriate or suspicious response to others
  • "Magical thinking" — believing you can influence people and events with your thoughts
  • Belief that certain casual incidents or events have hidden messages meant only for you
Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

Antisocial personality disorder
  • Disregard for others' needs or feelings
  • Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, conning others
  • Recurring problems with the law
  • Repeated violation of the rights of others
  • Aggressive, often violent behavior
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Consistently irresponsible
  • Lack of remorse for behavior
Borderline personality disorder
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling or binge eating
  • Unstable or fragile self-image
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress
  • Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury
  • Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Frequent, intense displays of anger
  • Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes
Histrionic personality disorder
  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Excessively emotional, dramatic or sexually provocative to gain attention
  • Speaks dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up
  • Easily influenced by others
  • Shallow, rapidly changing emotions
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance
  • Thinks relationships with others are closer than they really are
Narcissistic personality disorder
  • Belief that you're special and more important than others
  • Fantasies about power, success and attractiveness
  • Failure to recognize others' needs and feelings
  • Exaggeration of achievements or talents
  • Expectation of constant praise and admiration
  • Arrogance
  • Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others
  • Envy of others or belief that others envy you
Cluster C personality disorders

Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior. They include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Avoidant personality disorder
  • Too sensitive to criticism or rejection
  • Feeling inadequate, inferior or unattractive
  • Avoidance of work activities that require interpersonal contact
  • Socially inhibited, timid and isolated, avoiding new activities or meeting strangers
  • Extreme shyness in social situations and personal relationships
  • Fear of disapproval, embarrassment or ridicule
Dependent personality disorder
  • Excessive dependence on others and feeling the need to be taken care of
  • Submissive or clingy behavior toward others
  • Fear of having to provide self-care or fend for yourself if left alone
  • Lack of self-confidence, requiring excessive advice and reassurance from others to make even small decisions
  • Difficulty starting or doing projects on your own due to lack of self-confidence
  • Difficulty disagreeing with others, fearing disapproval
  • Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment, even when other options are available
  • Urgent need to start a new relationship when a close one has ended
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Preoccupation with details, orderliness and rules
  • Extreme perfectionism, resulting in dysfunction and distress when perfection is not achieved, such as feeling unable to finish a project because you don't meet your own strict standards
  • Desire to be in control of people, tasks and situations, and inability to delegate tasks
  • Neglect of friends and enjoyable activities because of excessive commitment to work or a project
  • Inability to discard broken or worthless objects
  • Rigid and stubborn
  • Inflexible about morality, ethics or values
  • Tight, miserly control over budgeting and spending money

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, a type of anxiety disorder.

When to see a doctor

If you have any signs or symptoms of a personality disorder, see your doctor or other primary care professional or a mental health professional. Untreated, personality disorders can cause significant problems in your life that may get worse without treatment.

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Personality is the combination of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that makes you unique. It's the way you view, understand and relate to the outside world, as well as how you see yourself. Personality forms during childhood, shaped through an interaction of:

  • Your genes. Certain personality traits may be passed on to you by your parents through inherited genes. These traits are sometimes called your temperament.
  • Your environment. This involves the surroundings you grew up in, events that occurred, and relationships with family members and others.

Personality disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of these genetic and environmental influences. Your genes may make you vulnerable to developing a personality disorder, and a life situation may trigger the actual development.

Risk factors

Although the precise cause of personality disorders is not known, certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering personality disorders, including:

  • Family history of personality disorders or other mental illness
  • Abusive, unstable or chaotic family life during childhood
  • Being diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder
  • Variations in brain chemistry and structure


Personality disorders can significantly disrupt the lives of both the affected person and those who care about that person. Personality disorders may cause problems with relationships, work or school, and can lead to social isolation or alcohol or drug abuse.

By Mayo Clinic Staff


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NIMH » Borderline Personality Disorder


Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that severely impacts a person’s ability to regulate their emotions. This loss of emotional control can increase impulsivity, affect how a person feels about themselves, and negatively impact their relationships with others. Effective treatments are available to manage the symptoms of borderline personality disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense mood swings and feel uncertainty about how they see themselves. Their feelings for others can change quickly, and swing from extreme closeness to extreme dislike. These changing feelings can lead to unstable relationships and emotional pain.

People with borderline personality disorder also tend to view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad. Their interests and values can change quickly, and they may act impulsively or recklessly.

Other signs or symptoms may include:

  • Efforts to avoid real or perceived abandonment, such as plunging headfirst into relationships—or ending them just as quickly.
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones.
  • A distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self.
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating. Please note: If these behaviors happen mostly during times of elevated mood or energy, they may be symptoms of a mood disorder and not borderline personality disorder.
  • Self-harming behavior, such as cutting.
  • Recurring thoughts of suicidal behaviors or threats.
  • Intense and highly variable moods, with episodes lasting from a few hours to a few days.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness.
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger.
  • Feelings of dissociation, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside one’s body, or feelings of unreality.

Not everyone with borderline personality disorder may experience all of these symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms depend on the person and their illness.

People with borderline personality disorder have a significantly higher rate of self-harming and suicidal behavior than the general population.

People with borderline personality disorder who are thinking of harming themselves or attempting suicide need help right away.

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call or text the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat at You can also contact the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).

Risk Factors

Researchers aren’t sure what causes borderline personality disorder, but studies suggest that genetic, environmental, and social factors may increase the risk of developing it. These factors may include:

  • Family history: People who have a close family member (such as a parent or sibling) with the illness may be at a higher risk of developing borderline personality disorder.
  • Brain structure and function: Research shows that people with borderline personality disorder may have structural and functional changes in the brain, especially in the areas that control impulses and emotion regulation. However, the studies do not demonstrate whether these changes were risk factors for the illness or if such changes were caused by the disorder.
  • Environmental, cultural, and social factors: Many people with borderline personality disorder report experiencing traumatic life events, such as abuse, abandonment, or hardship during childhood. Others may have been exposed to unstable, invalidating relationships or conflicts.

Although these factors may increase a person’s risk, it doesn’t mean it is certain that they’ll develop borderline personality disorder. Likewise, people without these risk factors may develop the disorder in their lifetime.


A licensed mental health professional—such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or clinical social worker—who is experienced in diagnosing and treating mental disorders can diagnose borderline personality disorder based on a thorough interview and a discussion about symptoms. A careful and thorough medical exam also can help rule out other possible causes of symptoms. In diagnosing the illness, providers will discuss a person’s symptoms and ask about family medical histories, including histories of mental illness.

Borderline personality disorder is usually diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood. Occasionally, a person younger than age 18 may be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder if symptoms are significant and last at least a year.

What other illnesses can co-occur with borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder often occurs with other mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These co-occurring disorders can make it harder to diagnose and treat borderline personality disorder, especially if symptoms of other illnesses overlap with symptoms of the disorder. For example, a person with borderline personality disorder also may be more likely to experience symptoms of major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, or eating disorders.

Treatments and Therapies

Borderline personality disorder historically has been viewed as challenging to treat. But with newer, evidence-based treatment, many people with this disorder experience fewer and less severe symptoms, improved functioning, and better quality of life. It is important for patients with borderline personality disorder to receive treatment from a licensed mental health professional. Other types of treatment, or treatment from a provider who is not appropriately trained, may be ineffective or dangerous.

Many factors affect the length of time it takes for symptoms to improve once treatment begins. It is important for people with borderline personality disorder and their loved ones to be patient and receive support during treatment.

Seek—and stick with—treatment.

Studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) indicate that individuals with borderline personality disorder who don’t receive adequate treatment are more likely to develop other chronic medical or mental illnesses and are less likely to make healthy lifestyle choices.


Psychotherapy, sometimes called “talk therapy,” is the first-line treatment for people with borderline personality disorder. Most psychotherapy occurs with a licensed, trained mental health professional in one-on-one sessions or with other individuals in group settings. Group sessions may help teach people with borderline personality disorder to interact with others and express themselves effectively.

Two examples of psychotherapies used to treat borderline personality disorder are:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This treatment was developed specifically for individuals with borderline personality disorder. DBT uses concepts of mindfulness or awareness of one’s present situation and emotional state. DBT also teaches skills to help people control intense emotions, reduce self-destructive behaviors, and improve relationships.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This treatment can help people identify and change core beliefs and behaviors that come from inaccurate perceptions of themselves and others and problems interacting with others. It may help people reduce mood swings and anxiety symptoms and may reduce the number of self-harming or suicidal behaviors.

Read more on NIMH’s Psychotherapies health topic page.


Because the benefits of prescription medication for borderline personality disorder are unclear, medications aren’t typically used as the primary way to treat the illness. However, in some cases, a psychiatrist may recommend medications to treat specific symptoms or co-occurring mental disorders such as mood swings or depression. Treatment with medications may require coordinated care from more than one medical professional.

Medications also can sometimes cause side effects in some people. Talk to your provider about what to expect from a particular medication. Read more in NIMH’s Mental Health Medications health topic.

Other Elements of Care

Some people with borderline personality disorder experience severe symptoms and need intensive, often inpatient, care. Others may use some outpatient treatments but never need hospitalization or emergency care.

Therapy for Caregivers and Family Members

Having a relative or loved one with the disorder can be stressful, and family members or caregivers may unintentionally act in ways that can worsen their loved one’s symptoms.

Although more research is needed to determine how well family therapy helps with borderline personality disorder, studies on other mental disorders show that including family members can help support a person’s treatment. Families and caregivers also can benefit from therapy.

Family therapy helps by:

  • Allowing the relative or loved one to develop skills to understand and support a person with borderline personality disorder.
  • Focusing on the needs of family members to help them understand the obstacles and strategies for caring for someone with the disorder.

Finding Help

If you’re not sure where to get help, a health care provider can refer you to a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist with experience treating borderline personality disorder. If you need help starting the conversation, check out the Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider fact sheet.

Other resources include:

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, a tool for finding mental health services in your area
  • NIMH’s Help for Mental Illnesses webpage
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s website

Tips for Family and Caregivers

Here are some ways to help a friend or relative with the disorder:

  • Take time to learn about the illness to understand what your friend or relative is experiencing.
  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement. Change can be difficult and frightening to people with borderline personality disorder, but things can improve over time.
  • Encourage your loved one in treatment for borderline personality disorder to ask about family therapy.
  • Seek counseling for yourself. Choose a different therapist than the one your relative is seeing.

Join a Study

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

Researchers at NIMH and around the country conduct many studies with patients and healthy volunteers. We have new and better treatment options today because of what clinical trials uncovered years ago. Be part of tomorrow’s medical breakthroughs. Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you.

To learn more or find a study, visit:

  • NIMH’s Clinical Trials webpage: Information about participating in clinical trials
  • Clinicaltrials. gov: Current Studies on Borderline Personality Disorders: List of clinical trials funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) being conducted across the country

Health Hotlines

  • 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: The Lifeline provides 24-hour, confidential support to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Call or text 988 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. Support is also available via live chat. Para ayuda en español, llame al 988.
  • Disaster Distress Hotline: People affected by any disaster or tragedy can call this helpline, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, to receive immediate counseling. Call or text 1-800-985-5990 to connect with a trained professional from the closest crisis counseling center within the network.
  • Veterans Crisis Line: This helpline is a free, confidential resource for Veterans of all ages and circumstances. Call 1-800-273-8255, press "1"; text 838255; or chat online to connect with 24/7 support.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 for free and confidential support 24 hours a day throughout the U.S.
  • More NIH Information Lines

Learn More

Free Brochures and Shareable Resources

  • Borderline Personality Disorder: A brochure that offers basic information about borderline personality disorder, including signs and symptoms, treatment, and finding help. Also available en español.
  • 5 Action Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain: Infographic presenting five steps for helping someone in emotional pain to prevent suicide. Also available en español.
  • Suicide in America: Frequently Asked Questions: Fact sheet can help you, or a friend or family member, learn about the signs and symptoms, risk factors and warning signs, and ongoing research about suicide and suicide prevention. Also available en español.
  • Warning Signs of Suicide: An infographic presenting behaviors and feelings that may be warnings signs that someone is thinking about suicide. Also available en español.
  • Shareable Resources on Borderline Personality Disorder: Help support borderline personality disorder awareness and education in your community. Use these digital resources, including graphics and messages, to spread the word about borderline personality disorder.


  • Experts Discuss Borderline Personality Disorder: Learn the signs, symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and the latest research on borderline personality disorder.

Federal Resources

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia)
  • Introduction to Co-Occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
  • Personality Disorders (MedlinePlus - also en español)

Research and Statistics

  • Journal Articles: References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine).
  • Statistics: Personality Disorders: Webpage listing information on the prevalence of personality disorder among adults.

Last Reviewed: April 2022

Unless otherwise specified, NIMH information and publications are in the public domain and available for use free of charge. Citation of NIMH is appreciated. Please see our Citing NIMH Information and Publications page for more information.

Generalized anxiety disorder

generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder - a condition characterized by excessive anxiety that greatly affects the patient's personal life, family and work.

Description of Generalized Anxiety Disorder nine0003

People with generalized anxiety disorder feel excessive anxiety about typical everyday things. This concern is often related to responsibility, finances, or health - one's own or the health of a loved one. 1 Generalized Anxiety Disorder is different from ordinary anxiety because the anxiety is higher, lasts longer, and is often unrelated to any one particular topic. 1

Facts About Generalized Anxiety Disorder nine0018

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a condition characterized by excessive anxiety that greatly affects the patient's personal life, family and work. This anxiety is often related to responsibility, finances or health - one's own or loved ones 1

The degree of anxiety in patients with generalized anxiety disorder exceeds the potential for something bad to happen. nine0011 1

Patients with generalized anxiety disorder experience feelings of anxiety most of the time.
For example, a person may worry about his work, household chores, or being late for a meeting. The excitement of a person looks excessive compared to the real likelihood that something bad will happen, while
people cannot control their feelings. If one anxiety passes, the patient switches to worrying about something else. nine0005

In addition to excessive anxiety, patients with generalized anxiety disorder suffer from symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, feeling "on the edge", fatigue and irritability. Patients may also experience physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, and diarrhea.

Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder can occur and persist throughout life because it is a chronic condition, and only a few manage to completely overcome the symptoms.1


of people suffer from generalized anxiety disorder worldwide. 2


of people have their first symptoms before the age of 39 years. 2


of people with generalized anxiety disorder are severely disabled in some aspect of their home, work, relationship or social life. 2

Epidemiology and disease burden nine0003

Globally, generalized anxiety disorder affects 3.7% of the population. 2 The disease is more common in high-income countries (5.0%) than in low-income countries (1.6%). 2 Generalized anxiety disorder is most commonly diagnosed in middle-aged people, but symptoms can occur at any age. 1.2 Generalized anxiety disorder is twice as common in women as in men. nine0011 1

A World Health Organization (WHO) global survey found that 51% of people with generalized anxiety disorder have severely impaired functioning at home, work, personal relationships and social life. 2 Patients miss an average of 8 working days per year due to illness. 3 People with generalized anxiety disorder have lower income and quality of life than healthy people. nine0011 4

Facts about Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder is twice as common in women than in men. 1

People with generalized anxiety disorder miss an average of 8 days of work or activities per year because of their disorder. 3

People who are concerned that they – or their loved ones – are experiencing symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder should see their doctor for help and advice. nine0005


People who suspect they or a loved one have symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder should seek advice and help from a doctor. The diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder is made by talking to a doctor about symptoms and history. Although the disease is widespread, one study showed that in 71% of cases it was not
detected at the initial examination by a doctor. nine0011 5 The high rate of misdiagnosis is possibly related to similar symptoms of anxiety and mood disorders, and the fact that patients with generalized anxiety disorder also suffer from other illnesses, most commonly social phobia. 6

There is currently no specific treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, but it is possible to control symptoms and improve quality of life with a combination of medication and support from medical professionals and the patient's community. nine0011 7

  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5 th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
  2. Ruscio AM, Hallion LS, Lim CCW, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Al-Hamzawi A, Alonso J, et al. Cross-sectional comparison of the epidemiology of DSM-5 generalized anxiety disorder across the globe. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(5):465–475.
  3. Alonso J, Petukhova M, Vilagut G, Chatterji S, Heeringa S, Üstün TB, et al. Days out of role due to common physical and mental conditions: results from the WHO World Mental Health surveys. Mol Psychiatry. 2011;16(12):1234–1246. nine0143
  4. Hoffman DL, Dukes EM, Wittchen HU. Human and economic burden of generalized anxiety disorder. Depress Anxiety. 2008;25(1):72–90.
  5. Vermani M, Marcus M, Katzman MA. Rates of detection of mood and anxiety disorders in primary care: a descriptive, cross-sectional study. Prim Care Companion CNS Disord. 2011;13(2):PCC.10m01013.
  6. Newman MG, Przeworski A, Fisher AJ, Borkovec TD. Diagnostic comorbidity in adults with generalized anxiety disorder: impact of comorbidity on psychotherapy outcome and impact of psychotherapy on comorbid diagnoses. Behav Ther. 2010;41(1):59-72.
  7. Bandelow B, Michaelis S, Wedekind D. Treatment of anxiety disorders. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2017;19(2):93–107.
  1. American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5 th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013.
  2. Ruscio AM, Hallion LS, Lim CCW, Aguilar-Gaxiola S, Al-Hamzawi A, Alonso J, et al. Cross-sectional comparison of the epidemiology of DSM-5 generalized anxiety disorder across the globe. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(5):465–475. nine0143
  3. Alonso J, Petukhova M, Vilagut G, Chatterji S, Heeringa S, Üstün TB, et al. Days out of role due to common physical and mental conditions: results from the WHO World Mental Health surveys. Mol Psychiatry. 2011;16(12):1234–1246.

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Anxious personality disorder - symptoms, causes, stages

Anxious personality disorder is a disorder in which a person is characterized by isolation, feelings of inferiority, asociality, avoidance of communication with others because of fear of being criticized. Often associated with symptoms of other anxiety spectrum disorders. nine0005

The disease most often occurs in people aged 15 to 35 years.

Disease definition

The most common types of disorder are anxiety avoidant personality disorder and phobic disorders. Such a state is characterized by a feeling of anxiety - anxiety of ongoing events and fear - a reaction to what is happening.

Anxiety is an individual feature of a person, therefore it does not manifest itself in everyone. A person with increased anxiety tends to worry about every trifle. nine0005

The condition can be diagnosed if its symptoms appear for six months and significantly worsen the quality of a person’s life. Among the physical disorders that can lead to such disorders are hyperthyroidism, ischemia, caffeine, alcohol and drug addiction (from cannabis), and drug withdrawal symptoms.

The ICD-10 code for avoidant personality disorder is F60.6. In order to make this diagnosis, the patient must have the following behavioral symptoms (at least 4): nine0005

  1. Constant tension and anxiety.
  2. Low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy.
  3. Increased suspiciousness and a feeling of criticism from others.
  4. Communication only with those people who, in the opinion of the patient, like him.
  5. Avoiding active interpersonal contact for fear of criticism.

Another type of disorder is distinguished - anxious depressive personality disorder, in which the patient equally has symptoms of both anxiety and depression, however, individually they are not so pronounced as to diagnose the disorder. Such a diagnosis should be made only by an experienced doctor, with an appeal to which one cannot delay. This type of disease often causes suicidal thoughts, which many patients translate into reality. nine0005

Symptoms and signs of anxiety disorder

Symptoms of an anxious personality disorder manifest themselves in childhood, when the child is shy, fearful, afraid to meet people, go to the blackboard, be the center of attention. Closer to adolescence, the symptoms become more pronounced. Such people do not have many friends, they avoid social events, preferring to spend time alone with books or a computer. Patients with anxiety disorder distance themselves from others, fearing criticism and disapproval, worry about any minor trifles. nine0005

In the future, such patients do not develop a career because of their awkwardness and inexperience in relationships. They prefer quiet, inconspicuous work, in which they do not have to manage people and speak in public.

Internal tension does not allow them to communicate with others. From the outside, they seem ridiculous, closed, strange and even arrogant, which often causes negativity in the interlocutor. Such a condition prevents the patient from turning even to a psychologist. If it seems to him that the doctor does not approve of his behavior or does not accept, then the patient may abruptly interrupt therapy and close even more. Therefore, it is so important that the specialist is qualified and has experience working with such patients. nine0005

Signs of an anxious personality disorder may be accompanied by tachycardia, abdominal pain, excessive sweating, migraine, dizziness, stool disturbance, and muscle pain.

Among the symptoms that can give out an anxiety disorder are the following:

  • The problem is concentration.
  • Insomnia.
  • Lack of energy.
  • Nervous state.
  • Feeling of anxiety.
  • Tearfulness. nine0143
  • Pessimistic mood.
  • Low self-esteem, a tendency to belittle.
  • Excessive tension in all aspects.
  • Decreased mood, apathy.

It can be difficult to diagnose the disorder due to concomitant somatic diseases - digestive disorders, headaches, and so on. Often, therapists, without revealing a somatic pathology, diagnose vegetovascular dystonia, which completely deprives the patient of the opportunity to visit a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, since the disorder is mental in nature. According to statistics, only 1/3 of patients reach these doctors, the rest are treated for somatic manifestations of an anxiety disorder. Therefore, it is so important to contact a specialized clinic, where highly specialized doctors work, who can establish an accurate diagnosis. nine0005

Causes of disease manifestation

The causes of anxiety disorder are not fully understood by experts. It is assumed that the basis of the disease is hereditary predisposition, character trait and temperament, as well as the style of education in the family. At a younger age, a person is shy, shy, withdrawn, it is difficult for him to get used to everything new. Although, in some cases, these signs are not direct indicators of the presence of an anxiety state. The timidity of a child is a natural stage in the development of his psyche, which, as he grows up, disappears without a trace. nine0005

Sometimes an anxiety disorder manifests itself in conditions of constant criticism from others, rejection and rejection of society. The atmosphere in the family also plays a significant role.

The pathogenesis of anxiety personality disorder lies in the biological aspect. Low levels of GABA and neurotransmitters that reduce the activity of the central nervous system provoke feelings of anxiety. The amygdala plays a significant role in the processing of fear. Violation of its performance, also, can lead to an alarming state. nine0005

Stages of anxiety disorder

There are 3 main stages of anxiety:

  1. Anxiety stage. On it, a person does not realize the presence of this disorder in himself, takes it for suspiciousness. The patient regularly experiences anxiety, however, does not find anything wrong with this. In this state, a person can be a long time, until the end of life.
  2. In some cases, the first stage smoothly passes into the second. Anxiety is growing, fear is already beginning to manifest itself physically - fever, chills, muscle tension, tachycardia, dizziness, weakness, nausea, loss of a sense of reality. Symptoms manifest themselves at first in a stressful situation, and then in everyday life. The second stage is accompanied by recurrent symptoms in a normal situation and increased anxiety during the day. The person is aware of his anxiety. It can be reduced at this stage by getting rid of negative emotions, using relaxation methods, and forming the right lifestyle. nine0143
  3. In the third stage, panic attacks join the feeling of anxiety, which can be both episodic in nature and accompany a person constantly. The patient also has difficulty sleeping and eating.

If a person has been at this stage for more than 2 years, then it gradually develops into the last stage and becomes a stable state for him. At this stage, you will need not only psychotherapy, but also medication. However, even at stage 1, a consultation with a psychotherapist is required, which will help either exclude or establish a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, prescribe an effective treatment so that the disease does not develop further. nine0005

Types of anxiety disorder

Experts identify 9 main types of anxiety personality disorder.

  1. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common subtype of AD. Patients with this diagnosis feel constant anxiety throughout the day, worry about any household trifles.
  2. To make such a diagnosis, the patient must have at least 3 signs of the disease: anxiety, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, muscle tension, impaired concentration. The most common type of generalized anxiety disorder occurs in older people. Often, anxiety is a consequence of another disease, or occurs as a result of the use of narcotic and psychotropic substances. Outwardly, a person looks tense, he has hyperhidrosis, tearfulness, a depressive state are manifested. nine0005

  3. Phobias. This type of anxiety combines fears and anxieties associated with a particular situation. Phobias are observed in 10% of the population worldwide. The patient is terrified of the upcoming object that causes negative events in him - a place or an animal.
  4. Among the most common phobias are the fear of flying in airplanes, the sight of blood, water, heights, darkness, closed spaces, reptiles and spiders. A person is fettered by fear, the heartbeat quickens, he experiences trembling and shortness of breath at the sight of what causes horror in him. As a rule, it is impossible to overcome a phobia in a person on his own. nine0005

  5. Panic attacks. When they occur, a person experiences brief bouts of fear and anxiety, often accompanied by tremors in the body, dizziness, nausea, or difficulty breathing. Already 10 minutes after the start, they reach their peak and can last several hours. In order to be diagnosed with panic disorder, it must have chronic consequences: fear of future attacks, changes in behavior, heart palpitations. By the way, patients often confuse the latter sign with heart problems, the thought of which can cause a second panic attack. nine0143
  6. Agoraphobia. Another type of anxiety disorder in which people are afraid of public places and open spaces. Agoraphobia is closely related to panic disorder and is often the result of its manifestation.
  7. Sometimes the term is used to refer to avoidance behavior after a panic attack. For example, if after the next attack a person is afraid to drive a car, then he will continue to avoid doing it. Such behavior is a direct path to even greater fear. nine0005

  8. Social anxiety disorder or social phobia usually occurs under certain circumstances, such as before public speaking. The person is embarrassed, fearful and humiliated. The disorder can manifest itself physically: redness, sweating, difficulty speaking. People experiencing social phobia try to avoid the source of anxiety, which often leads to complete social isolation.
  9. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a negative event: from rape to a natural disaster. It occurs as a result of prolonged stress and is accompanied by sleep disturbance. nine0143
  10. Situational anxiety arising from a change in environment and changing events that makes a person uncomfortable. This type of disorder is common among a certain type of people. They may experience anxiety in crowds, dark spaces, shops, and other public places. Often this anxiety leads to panic attacks.
  11. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition of obsessions, thoughts, images and repeated performance of certain actions (rituals). OCD causes feelings of anxiety and impaired socialization. A person realizes the unreasonableness of his actions and tries to fight thoughts and behavior. nine0143
  12. selective mutism. Another type of disorder that occurs in people who are shy and have social anxiety. The disorder is manifested by the silence of a person who is able to talk, in certain situations and with certain people.

Sequelae of anxiety disorder

Anxiety should not be left unattended. Their diagnosis, treatment and control are best entrusted to competent doctors in a specialized clinic. Among the socio-psychological complications of TR can be identified: sleep disturbance, low self-esteem, accompanying feelings of hopelessness, social isolation. Lack of energy and depressed mood do not allow a person to actively develop and change under the realities of our time. Job loss, financial difficulties, family breakup can be the consequences of such conditions and further aggravate the condition. Often, anxiety provokes the onset of depression - a condition fraught with suicidal thoughts and attempts to carry it out. nine0005

Feelings of anxiety also arise as a result of the use of drugs, alcohol or nicotine.

Complications of anxiety personality disorder are also physical in nature. The patient experiences pain in the intestines, heartburn, problems with stools, insomnia, migraine. Often, the disorder is accompanied by a loss of sexual interest in a partner and fluctuations in weight, a decrease in immunity and white blood cells. According to researchers, stress can also trigger the appearance of allergies and autoimmune diseases. nine0005

A constant feeling of anxiety, restlessness and insecurity is a clear sign to contact an experienced psychiatrist. Sometimes patients, due to their individual characteristics and due to illness, cannot do this. Relatives should take on this role, gently and tactfully point out to a loved one the presence of the disease. The specialist will help to overcome psycho-emotional dependence and restore strength.


The diagnosis of anxiety disorder is difficult due to the lack of specific biomarkers. In order to detect anxiety symptoms, the specialist conducts a conversation with the patient and special psychological testing using the Beck Anxiety Scale, the Tsung Self-Assessment Anxiety Scale, and the Taylor Anxiety Scale. nine0005

The criteria for making a diagnosis are the following persistent signs that haunt the patient for a long time:

  • social awkwardness;
  • belittling one's own value;
  • internal tension;
  • restriction in social communication for fear of criticism and disapproval.⁠

The treatment of this disorder is carried out by a psychotherapist who, if necessary, will prescribe a consultation with a psychiatrist. Anxiety disorders sometimes occur along with depression, while sharing the same symptomatology. nine0005

According to studies, anxiety disorders often occur in those people whose relatives have also been diagnosed with such a diagnosis. The disorder is sometimes accompanied by a sexual disorder or arises from a common mass of causes. This is especially true in patients with panic disorder.

When making a diagnosis, first of all, it is necessary to exclude a medical pathology with similar symptoms:

  • endocrine diseases;
  • metabolic dysfunction; nine0143
  • deficiency of vitamin D and folic acid;
  • diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, blood and heart;
  • dementia, sclerosis and other brain diseases.

Treatment for anxiety disorder

The goal of treatment is to reduce the level of anxiety and improve the quality of life of the patient. The doctor, with the help of special psychoanalytic techniques, helps a person to realize the presence of a disorder and understand the reasons that prompted him.

Some of the most effective treatments for anxiety disorder symptoms include:

  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to change the patient's thinking and behavior. A psychotherapist in the course of therapy helps a person not only to detect this disorder and identify its causes, but also to form new thinking, teach how to communicate with people and form adaptive patterns of behavior.
  2. Family therapy. The family plays a significant role in the treatment of any mental illness, especially when it comes to a child or adolescent. Family therapy is aimed at identifying problems in the family and methods of dealing with them, eliminating negative factors that contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder. nine0143
  3. Medical therapy. Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants and benzodiazepines, psychoactive drugs that have sedative and sedative effects.

In no case should you use drugs on your own. They are selected individually and only as prescribed by a doctor, after a thorough examination and identification of symptoms of an anxiety disorder.

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Prevention of Anxiety Personality Disorder

With anxiety attacks, the patient should try to cope on their own. To do this, you can perform certain breathing exercises, belly breathing, nostril breathing techniques and mindfulness "here and now" techniques. nine0005

Among the main recommendations of an anxious personality disorder is a change in the patient's lifestyle. This is a set of measures aimed at eliminating negative factors that provoke anxiety:

  1. Physical exercise.
  2. Observance of sleep and rest.
  3. Reducing caffeine intake.
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