What are Cluster A Personality Disorders?


    Before diving into how personality disorders are categorized, let’s explore what a personality disorder diagnosis means. Personality Disorders are a type of mental disorder characterized by individuals who experience limitations in their ability to form relationships or adhere to the norms of social activities such as work or school due to having rigid patterns of behavior and thoughts.

    Often, people with Personality Disorders don’t even realize there’s anything wrong with them. They’ll be more likely to believe that others are to blame for the obstacles they encounter. This is because the behavior of the individuals living with these disorders comes entirely natural for them. 

    Not all Personality Disorders are created equally, which is why they’re divided into three different cluster groups based on the symptoms most commonly associated with each disorder. However, people don’t have to experience every sign of a personality disorder to meet the criteria. 

    How Personality Disorders Are Categorized

    As aforementioned, personality disorders are separated into three clusters; cluster A, B, and C. Cluster B disorders encompass conditions characterized by exceedingly emotional or unpredictable behavior, such as:

    • Borderline Personality Disorder
    • Histrionic Personality Disorder
    • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    • Antisocial Personality Disorder

    Cluster C disorders are made up of conditions defined by fearful or anxious behavior, including:

    • Dependent Personality Disorder
    • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
    • Avoidant Personality Disorder

    And finally, Cluster A, the category we’ll be focusing on in this article, is described as conditions with eccentric or unusual behavior. These include:

    • Schizotypal Personality Disorder
    • Schizoid Personality Disorder 
    • Paranoid Personality Disorder

    If you’d like a more in-depth look at the science behind personality disorders, visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/personality-disorders/ for more information. 

    Cluster A

    While not every personality disorder in this cluster is the same, the individuals who live with them all fall under the same umbrella. However, people do not have to experience every symptom to be diagnosed with one of these disorders.

    Here are some of the more specific symptoms for each of them:

    Schizotypal Personality Disorder

    Those who may qualify for a Schizotypal diagnosis may exhibit the following behaviors:

    • Magical thinking, or the belief that you can influence others with your thoughts
    • A feeling of discomfort around forming close relationships
    • Believing that casual occurrences have a hidden meaning 
    • Perceived sensory experiences that are not based on reality, such as hearing a voice call your name
    • Feeling either utterly indifferent to someone or feeling suspicious of them.
    • Bizarre beliefs, thoughts, behaviors, or dress

    Schizoid Personality Disorder 

    Those who may qualify for a Schizoid diagnosis may exhibit the following behaviors:

    • A lack of or no interest in being sexually intimate with anyone
    • A generally cold demeanor towards others
    • Not being capable of taking pleasure in most activities.
    • Limited interest in forming social relationships; lone wolf types
    • Inability to interpret social cues
    • Not being able to express most emotions.

    Paranoid Personality Disorder

    Those who may qualify for a Paranoid diagnosis may exhibit the following behaviors:

    • A persistent distrust or suspicion of others motives
    • The belief that others are trying to harm or lie to them, even when there’s no way to prove it
    • Constantly doubting the loyalty of others or questioning their trustworthiness.
    • A reluctancy to confide personal information with others due to the fear that it may be used against them
    • Insinuating the innocent remarks are either threats or personal insults.
    • Anger and hostility to said innocent remarks or situations
    • A frequent, unfounded suspicion that their significant other is cheating on them

    Treatments For Cluster A Personality Disorders

    Treatment for Cluster A personality disorders do not have a one-size-fits-all approach. For the most part, treatment is adjusted to each individual’s specific needs and usually involves a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Often, a patient will need to undergo a trial and error process before landing on their perfect medication-therapist combo. 

    Most people know psychotherapy as talk therapy, which involves a patient meeting with their therapist either alone or in a group setting to discuss their behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. Depending on your physician’s recommendation, you may come across the following types of therapy, including:

    • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
    • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
    • Psychoeducation
    • Psychoanalytic theory 

    Your doctor will also determine which course of medication is most suitable for the severity of your symptoms and may include:

    • Antipsychotics
    • Anti-anxiety medication
    • Anti-depressants
    • Mood stabilizers

    No matter which direction it takes, choosing the path of treatment for your personality disorder is choosing the path to recovery and a more fulfilling life. 


    Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.


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