The cause of personality disorders is unknown; however, it is believed that the condition may be triggered by genetic and environmental influences, most prominently childhood trauma.

There are different types of personality disorders that tend to emerge in adolescence or early adulthood. These disorders are grouped into 3 clusters:

Cluster A: Suspicious

Schizoid personality disorder – a type of personality disorder where patients display little interest in creating personal relationships or partaking in social interactions. They may also have trouble interpreting social cues, which makes them seem emotionally distant.

Schizotypal personality disorder – people with this personality disorder often believe that they can influence other people or events with their thoughts. They also may misinterpret behaviours, leading to inappropriate emotional responses and may avoid having intimate relationships.

Paranoid personality disorder – people with this personality disorder may be distrustful of others and suspicious of their motives.

Cluster B: Emotional and Impulsive

Narcissistic personality disorder – people who are narcissistic often believe that they are more important than others. They also tend to exaggerate their achievements and express vanity. Other symptoms include a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for other people.

Borderline personality disorder – those with a borderline personality disorder often take risks and display impulsivity. They may also be erratic and have unstable moods.

Antisocial personality disorder – people with this disorder tend to manipulate or treat others poorly without being remorseful for their actions. They may also engage in dishonest behaviour such as lying and stealing.

Histrionic personality disorder – people with this personality disorder frequently try to get more attention by being dramatic or provocative. They may be easily influenced by other people and sensitive to criticism or disapproval.


Cluster C: Anxious

Dependent personality disorder – a personality disorder where people depend on others to meet their emotional and physical needs. They normally avoid being alone and regularly need reassurance when making decisions. These people are more likely to tolerate verbal and physical abuse.

Avoidant personality disorder – people with this personality disorder normally experience feelings of inadequacy, unattractiveness and inferiority. They may also dwell on criticism from others and avoid participating in new activities or making new friends.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder – also known as OCPD, the most common symptom is an overwhelming need for order. People with OCPD may also strongly adhere to rules and regulations and feel extremely uncomfortable when perfection is not achieved.

How are personality disorders treated?

Treatment varies depending on the type of personality disorder and its severity. Dr Matshaya may utilize psychotherapy in conjunction with medication to help reduce symptoms, guiding patients on how to understand and manage their condition.


1What can I do if I suspect I, or someone else, has a personality disorder?
If you think someone close to you may have a personality disorder, encourage them to visit a mental health professional.
2How is a personality disorder diagnosed?
If a personality disorder is suspected, your GP or another mental health professional will ask you questions based on personality disorder criteria. If you meet the criteria, a psychiatric evaluation will also be done.
3What happens if the condition is severe?
In cases where the personality disorder is severe, the patient may be admitted to a hospital for psychiatric care.

"Do not only go through pain but grow through pain"





A psychiatrist is a qualified doctor that specialises in the medical treatment of mental health conditions, including substance use disorders. Psychiatrists can assess both mental and physical aspects of psychological conditions and are able to prescribe appropriate medication.