A personality can be characterized by the way someone thinks, reacts, behaves, and feels. In the textbook, personality is defined as “the pattern of enduring characteristics that produce consistency and individuality in a given person.” Everyone is unique because they are distinguished by their experiences, environments, and inherited traits. Each individual encountered on a daily basis is different in the sense that their personality distinguishes them from other people. Although everyone is unique and is distinguished by their different experiences, environments, and inherited traits, there is still an expectation for everyone to function as a normal human being. Abnormal behavior can be defined in different ways, all following different constructs, but generally abnormal behavior is behavior that causes people to experience distress and prevents them from functioning in their daily lives.
Personality disorders are a form of mental disorder which can be grouped into 3 clusters. Cluster A personality disorders include individuals who exhibit odd, uncommon behavior and thinking. These people can be diagnosed with many different types of disorders. Some examples specific to cluster A personalities include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. Each disorder for cluster A personality types include unreasonable perceptions of others, lack of emotion or social interaction, and beliefs that directly affect them.
People diagnosed with Cluster B personality disorders are known to be dramatic, too emotional, and unpredictable. Some common disorders include antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. Common symptoms for cluster B personality types are irresponsible or aggressive behavior, impulsive or unstable emotions, excessive concern/desire for attention or approval, and unrealistic belief of importance.
For individuals who fall under the category for Cluster C personality disorders, unreasonable fearful or anxious behavior/thinking is exhibited. Avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders fall under this cluster. Individuals with these disorders exhibit symptoms of extreme doubt, dependence, impotence, submission, neglect because of commitment, or obsession in varying degrees which harshly impact relationships.
Feelings of apprehension or tension in reaction to stress are the defining characteristics of an anxiety disorder. Occasional anxiety is a normal part of life, it is the way people react to stress or problems but, the difference between occasional anxiety and an anxiety disorder is the constant presence of worry or fear. In many instances, the anxiety does not go away and may worsen over time. People with anxiety disorders struggle to focus and participate in daily activities such as school, work, and even relationships. There are multiple types of anxiety disorders. Some examples of these disorders are, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. These disorders all differ from person to person because they are caused by genetic and environmental factors.
An obsession can be loosely defined as an unwanted persistent idea or thought that keeps recurring. Individuals who suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder carry out strand and unreasonable acts repeatedly. OCD manifests itself as obsessions, compulsions, or both. These symptoms interfere with the aspects of an individual’s daily life making it hard to complete simple tasks at school, work, and in personal relationships. OCD is experienced as either repeated thoughts, mental images, or urges. If an act, obsession, or compulsion isn’t carried out, feelings of anxiety are presented and only go away once completed. OCD symptoms are unpredictable and are oftentimes sporadic and can ease or worsen over time. While some people recognize their obsessions, and avoid situations which trigger their obsessions, many are oblivious to their issue and require assistance from family, friends, or doctors.
Somatic symptom disorders (SSD) present themselves with extreme anxiety when psychological issues are expressed in a physical (somatic) form with no medical cause. Somatic disorders are a form of mental illness or anxiety disorder which is presented as pain, neurological problems, or gastrointestinal issues. Although it is believed that these individuals are faking their symptoms, their pain is real even if there is no medical explanation. Each person who is believed to suffer from this disorder must go through multiple tests in order to rule out other possible causes.
While it is common for most people to feel sad or upset from time to time, they eventually snap out of the bad mood they were in and feel much better. Individuals who suffer from mood disorders are affected on a daily basis meaning their emotional state is constantly being affected. Research has linked individuals who suffer from mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder to increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. Bipolar disorder is characterized by intense mood shifts, impulsivity, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, and reckless behavior. People who suffer from mood disorders are also likely to suffer from manic depression. Like all disorders, people affected are unable to carry out day to day tasks.
Periodic experiences or attacks of major depressive disorders is the most common form of mood disorder. Major depression is different from the normal depression most people experience at some point in their lifetime. Major depressive episodes are more intense, longer lasting, and are presented with no clear indication why. Individuals who suffer from this specific mood disorder experience a generalized lack of interest in life and oftentimes have a higher risk of suicide.
People who suffer from dissociative disorders experience random and abrupt breaks from reality. Dissociative disorders are characterized by involuntary and sudden changes in consciousness. During these breaks in reality, individuals experience an unexplained disconnection where their thoughts, identity, consciousness, and memory are affected. Dissociative symptoms are known to develop after traumatic events and episodes can be triggered by stressful situations.
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder which affects the way a person thinks, feels, and behaves in varying degrees. It is presented by a severe distortion of reality and manifests around the time of early adulthood. People who suffer from schizophrenia experience a gradual withdrawal from the world and social interaction. This period is where their awareness, reasoning, and feeling oftentimes deteriorates. There are many symptoms experienced by individuals with schizophrenia. Positive symptoms include hallucinations or disorganized thoughts, these are indicators that an individual has lost touch with reality. Negative symptoms include apathy and loss of normal functioning resulting in social withdrawal.