Personality Disorders in Children and Teens

A personality disorder is a term for behavior patterns that make it difficult for people to get along with others, regardless of their environment or circumstances. Children and teens who suffer from a personality disorder have problems maintaining healthy relationships and often blame circumstances or people around them for problems they have created. This behavior leads to a feeling of loneliness and isolation. 

Personality disorders usually become apparent in adolescence or early adulthood. Although not as common, they can begin during childhood.

Types of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are grouped into three overarching "clusters" based on similar symptoms and characteristics.

Cluster A Personality Disorders

Cluster A personality disorders are characterized by odd, eccentric thinking and/or behavior. Cluster A includes paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder. The common features of Cluster A personality disorders are social awkwardness, distorted thinking and inappropriate emotional responses.

Cluster B Personality Disorders

Cluster B includes disorders that are characterized by emotional, dramatic and erratic thinking and/or behavior. Cluster B personality disorders include include borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. The common features of Cluster B personality disorders are problems with impulse control, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior and other problems with emotional regulation.

Cluster C Personality Disorders

Cluster C includes disorders that are characterized by anxious, fearful thinking and/or behavior. Cluster C includes the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and dependent personality disorder. Cluster C personality disorders share a high level of anxiety.

*These symptoms may resemble other conditions or problems. Always consult with a provider for a diagnosis.