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Personality disorders can significantly impact the mental health of teenagers. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), personality disorders involve “deeply ingrained and enduring behavior patterns, manifesting themselves as inflexible responses to a broad range of personal and social situations’; they represent ‘either extreme or significant deviations from the way the average individual in a given culture perceives, thinks, feels, and particularly relates to others’ and are ‘developmental conditions, which appear in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list ten standalone personality disorders and based on similar characteristics, each personality disorder is grouped into one of three categories (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). To understand the connection between personality disorders and teen mental health it is beneficial to review each of the ten types of personality disorders and their associated clusters, which include the following provided by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP):

  • Cluster A: characterized as odd or eccentric personalities.
    • Paranoid: mistrust and suspicion
    • Schizoid: disinterest in others
    • Schizotypal: eccentric ideas and behavior
  • Cluster B: characterized as dramatic, emotional, or erratic personalities.
    • Antisocial: disregard for others, manipulation of others for personal gain, social irresponsibility
    • Borderline: intolerance of being alone and emotional dysregulation
    • Histrionic: attention seeking
    • Narcissistic: fragile self-esteem, underlying dysregulation, overt grandiosity
  • Cluster C: characterized as anxious or fearful personalities.
    • Avoidant: avoidance of interpersonal contact due to rejection sensitivity
    • Dependent: submissive and a need to be taken care of
    • Obsessive-compulsive: rigidity, obstinacy, and perfectionism

A teenage personality disorder can significantly disrupt the development of a teen’s identity, relationships, and emotion regulation. The diagnosis of a teen personality disorder, according to the DSM-5 and explicitly outlined by the Mayo Clinic, generally includes “long-term marked deviation from cultural expectations that lead to significant distress or impairment” in a minimum of two of the following areas:

  • The way one perceives and interprets oneself, other people, and events.
  • The appropriateness of one’s emotional responses.
  • How well one functions when dealing with other people and in relationships.
  • Whether one can control one’s impulses.

It is possible for a teenage personality disorder to present with symptoms associated with more than one personality disorder. Although personality disorders are chronic conditions, there are a variety of treatment options available that can improve one’s overall quality of life. Treatment for a teenager with a personality disorder aims to help a young person learn to manage distressing emotions and behaviors, reduce harmful actions, meaningfully improve his or her ability to function, bolster mental health, and enhance emotional well-being.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times.

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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