Despite years of research, surveys and scientific studies, psychologists and sociologists alike are still unsure about the true prevalence of personality disorders in our modern-day society. Most experts estimate that such disorders impact about six to sixteen percent of the population. Disorders affect both genders equally, and they almost always begin to form at a very young age. Below are five of the most commonly reported personality disorders in today’s society.
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Common Personality Disorders
The most frequently reported personality disorder among American adults is obsessive-compulsive disorder. This type of disorder causes an individual to be excessively interested in details, scheduling, organization or rules. This preoccupation stems from a desperate need for perfectionism and a deep-seeded lack of control over reality. This serious issue may cause individuals to perpetually procrastinate, have difficulty socializing and experience an overwhelming sense of constant anxiety. Reoccurring thoughts, uncontrollable urges, and compulsive behavior are common symptoms. Those with severe forms of the disorder may experience uncontrollable tics like body motions or verbal sounds. Around eight percent of U.S. citizens suffer from diagnosed obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Paranoid personality disorder is best described as an uncontrollable and persistent distrust of other individual’s intentions. Those who suffer from this disorder often believe specific groups, individuals or businesses are targeting them for abuse, extortion or other reasons. These thoughts manifest through the individual’s strong desire to withdraw from society to protect themselves. Sadly, those who suffer from paranoia frequently fail to foster close relationships because of their distrust. Symptoms may include extreme hypervigilance, excessive suspiciousness, a strong sense of independence, remaining guarded and emotionally closed off. Recent studies suggest that nearly five percent of the U.S. population suffers from diagnosed paranoid personality disorder.
Researchers have identified that around 4 percent of the population suffers from antisocial personality disorder. Antisocial personality disorders were originally the main and only form of disorder until these categories were later expanded to include anxious, fearful, odd and eccentric behaviors. The most common characteristic of this disorder is a lack of concern for other people’s feelings. This underlying trait causes bigger issues with authority, social rules and learning from experience. Antisocial personality types are frequently overly aggressive, impulsive, irritable and lacking in guilt. While they are great at socializing superficially, most of their relationships are short-lived.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that about 6.5 million Americans suffer from schizoid personality disorder. The most recent research from the National Institutes of Health on the subject suggests that an incredible 4.9 percent of the population has schizoid personality disorder. These types of individuals are often struggling with social isolation due to their inherent pattern of social detachment and introversion. Sufferers often have a very restricted range of emotional expression, and they are frequently labeled as loners. These individuals are most often indifferent to both criticism and praise. These loners of society are frequently highly functioning and well-respected community members, so they are rarely treated through medical intervention.
Narcissistic personality disorder is the most elusive and difficult disorder for researchers to study. A diagnosis of this condition is still considered highly controversial, so it is unclear how prevalent this disorder truly is. The disorder presents itself as an extreme sense of grandiosity, a failure to take accountability for their own actions and a lack of empathy for others. While some selfishness is necessary for survival, malignant narcissists take this to an unimaginable level. These individuals are driven to become some of the most successful, famous and wealthy members of society. Any failings are blamed on scapegoated victims, and the narcissistic individual is unable to accept personal responsibility for any negative actions or emotions they have. Some experts estimate that around one percent of the population suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, but the exact number is hard to determine. Due to the extreme egotism and manipulation tactics employed by these individuals, they rarely ever seek treatment or see an issue with their own behaviors. When called out by others, they are skilled at deflecting the blame and avoiding a diagnosis.
NBC News highlights that personality disorders are the second most commonly listed problem that young Americans self-report struggling with. The sweeping increase of violence amongst students in America has raised the public’s awareness about the worrying prevalence of untreated mental illness, but much more work needs to be done to spread knowledge about these serious yet very common personality disorders.
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