Addressing personality disorders is a demanding and challenging task since it involves changing patients’ behaviors and encouraging them to alter their perceptions of themselves and relationships with others. Therefore, understanding personality disorders is vital in assisting patients in fighting the challenges that the disorders in question represent for their relationships with other people. Although personality disorders cannot be treated medically, a carefully planned therapeutic framework combined with the medicine that will reduce primary symptoms such as anxiety will help patients to adjust to the foundational principles of interpersonal interactions.
Primary Features of Cluster B Personality Disorders
In essence, cluster B personality disorders can be characterized by atypical thinking or behavior. Namely, the behavior and thinking of a patient with a cluster B personality disorder are likely to be erratic, overly emotional, often unpredictable and typically highly dramatic (Vossen, Coolidge, Segal, & Muehlenkamp, 2017). There are four cluster B personality disorders, namely, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders (Vossen et al., 2017). In turn, each of the disorders has a unique set of characteristics that are only attributable to the disorder in question. For instance, the narcissistic personality disorder, which is further split into grandiose and vulnerable types, displays the tendency for patients to believe in them being special and having a sense of increased perceived importance (Vossen et al., 2017). However, unlike the grandiose type, which requires constant gratification through praise, vulnerable narcissism suggests the unceasing need for supportive attention (Vossen et al., 2017).
The borderline personality disorder is characterized by a tendency to engage in risky behaviors, as well as low self-esteem and poor self-image. In addition, if a patient with borderline personality disorder is involved in a relationship, the said relationship is typically unstable. Moreover, people with borderline personality disorder tend to have frequent mood switches and are often prone to self-harm (Vossen et al., 2017). Furthermore, the sense of fear and abandonment is usually associated with the specified disorder type (Vossen et al., 2017).
Similarly to the narcissistic personality disorder, the histrionic personality disorder implies constant need for attention, although appreciation and lauding are not the necessary attributes of it in this case. As a rule, a patient uses provocative behavior to attract the audience’s attention. In addition, a rapid change in emotions is also observed in the histrionic personality disorder, which makes it quite close in nature to the case of grandiose narcissism.
Finally, the main traits of antisocial personality disorder involve complete disregard for the emotions and needs of others, usually linked to the inability to empathize (Vossen et al., 2017). A strong propensity toward lying, as well as engaging in criminal behavior, is also frequently observed in people with antisocial personality disorder (Vossen et al., 2017). Impulsive behavior is another characteristic that makes antisocial personality disorder identifiable (Vossen et al., 2017). As seen in the descriptions above, while the disorders in question are, for the most part, different in nature, they share a common characteristic of impulsivity and disruptive behaviors.
Obstacles that Can Make Personality Disorders Resistant to Treatment
A case of a personality disorder might be relatively easy to spot and diagnose by a professional. Specifically, the presence of the indicators discussed above, as well as the application of respective tools, such as personal interviews and the use of tools such as McLean Screening Instrument for BPD, are quite helpful. However, treating them can become quite a complex problem (Vossen et al., 2017). Since cluster B personality disorders are linked to a patient’s personality, addressing them implies changing not only how patients behave, but also how they think and perceive reality (Vossen et al., 2017). Therefore, the process of managing a cluster B personality disorder may take a significant amount of time.
Factors That Contribute to the Development of Personality Disorders
Like many other mental health conditions, personality disorders develop as a response to a variety of factors, the cluster B type not being an exception. Typically, the specified type of personality disorders occurs as a response to a traumatic experience that a patient may have suffered at some point in his or her life (Vossen et al., 2017). Specifically, sexual trauma usually precedes the development of a cluster B personality disorder (Vossen et al., 2017). The described correlation is particularly strong with the instances of borderline personality disorder, as studies show (Vossen et al., 2017). Similarly, other personality disorders belonging to cluster B usually occur as a response to a traumatic situation (Vossen et al., 2017).
Types of Treatment That Would Be Effective for the Cluster B Personality Disorders
As a rule, cluster B personality disorders are seen as impossible to treat, mostly due to the challenges in changing the patient’s perception of him- or herself, as well as the patient’s concept of others. However, therapy, particularly, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is deemed as one of the most effective ways of stifling the effects of cluster B personality disorders (Vossen et al., 2017).
Despite the fact that cluster B personality disorders cannot be treated medically, they can be managed with a proper intervention. By allowing patients to face their past traumas and reconcile with their emotional issues, a therapist will help them to manage the challenges in communication and relationship-building that cluster B personality disorders entail. Therefore, thorough analysis and close focus on patient-specific needs should be the priority in addressing cluster B personality disorders.
Vossen, T. J., Coolidge, F. L., Segal, D. L., & Muehlenkamp, J. J. (2017). Exploring the dark side: Relationships between the dark triad traits and cluster B personality disorder features. Journal of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Disorders, 1(6), 317-326. Web.