What are some lesser known mental disorders

Personality disorders

Personalities can have different facets. However, if people are too suspicious, too hysterical or too fearful-avoidant and are thus prevented from coping with everyday life, one speaks of personality disorders.

These deeply rooted psychological properties often lead to irritations and conflicts with other people and the person concerned is extremely limited in his life. Personality disorders can take different forms.


  • For one, there is the emotionally unstable personality disorder. This is a complex clinical picture with characteristics such as massive fears of being alone, unstable relationships, identity disorders and severe depression. A pronounced disturbance of body perception is noticeable. Many of those affected hardly feel any pain. Self-harm such as scratching the skin with razor blades or other sharp objects, drug use and high risk activities are the extreme consequences. For the majority of those affected, serious abuse or emotional neglect are among the reasons that have led to illness.

  • Antisocial personality disorder means people who break social norms and have little empathy. They often come into conflict with the law because they are prone to aggression and violence and learn little from their experiences. A sense of guilt is usually completely absent. Those affected are antisocial, but still enter into unstable relationships with other people. This type of disorder used to be called "psychopathy", it was called "psychopath", but is nowadays largely avoided due to its implied stigmatizing effect.

  • Previously this personality disorder was known as hysteria. Today we speak of histrionic personality disorder, as the term hysteria was originally used in relation to women and is negatively affected. In principle, however, he means the same thing: Theatrical behavior, superficiality, exaggerations, unstable moods, etc. characterize this type of disturbance. Those affected often invent adventurous stories in order to be able to be the center of attention and sometimes resort to drastic means. In addition, they often have an acting talent that enables them to think their way through many situations and to act or act accordingly.

  • This is a clinical picture that cannot be clearly defined, because the symptoms of the various personality disorders mentioned above are mixed up and result in a new type of disorder. The person concerned can then be suspicious as well as reckless and unstable, for example.

  • Narcissistic personality disorder is an extremely self-confident attitude towards the outside world, which is associated with cockiness, overconfidence and a negative view of criticism. On the one hand, those affected lack insight into the problems and activities of other people, but on the other hand they strive for constant recognition, praise and admiration from them. This excessive self-love can lead to delusional disorders with ideas of size and delusion of reality. It can happen that the borderline disorder is coupled with the narcissistic personality disorder, since the narcissistic persons often have a lack of self-confidence, which extends to rejection of themselves. As a result, the inner and outer person often come into conflict with one another.

  • This form of personality disorder mainly affects the suspicious attitude of the sick person. Even friendly or cautious behavior by other people is then interpreted as a hostile sign. Those affected are often referred to as difficult characters because they have great problems with rejection and reprimand. Paranoid personality disorder is not to be confused with paranoia and paranoid schizophrenia, which are classified differently.

Text in collaboration with: German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology e.V. (DGPPN) www.dgppn.de