People who suffer from personality disorders often display deviant behavior. The mental illness itself is not deviant. They typically have problems with social skills, mood swings, emotional states, and are often unable to maintain healthy, stable relationships. Many sufferers do not possess the capability to have genuine emotions, including empathy for others. A personality disorder is the basis of many circumstances of maladaptive behavior including substance abuse, self-harm, suicide, and criminality.
There are ten different personality disorders, each having specific symptoms, but all of them share certain characteristics. The first of these characteristics is that an individual who has a personality disorder noticeably deviates from the individuals cultures expectation of that person. The second characteristic is that the sufferer is unable to function normally in social, occupational, and other important areas due to the disorder. The last common characteristic is that the origins of the disorder can be traced to adolescence or early adulthood and is never the result of another mental illness or medical condition.
A person having one or more of the ten disorders is often times a participant in deviant behavior of some sort. The first of the personality disorders is paranoid personality disorder. A paranoid personality has a basic distrust of others, including the belief that others are trying to exploit, harm, or deceive him or her. This suspicion is always without basis. Because of this distrust, one is unable to confide in and trust others and has often has suspicions of a spouse. The paranoid personality disorder is unable to forgive others of attacks (which are not apparent to others). The deviant actions which stem from a person with a paranoid personality disorder can include one who files lawsuit after lawsuit in an attempt to keep people from taking advantage of him or her. They may react to supposed character attracts with learned anger and counterattacks. They often project blame for their own failures onto other people and become very isolated and closed to others. Because of the isolation, paranoid personality disorders often turn to alcoholism and drug use.
Another personality disorder that often results in isolation is schizoid personality disorder. This person chooses solitary activities and takes pleasure in few, if any, activities involving others. Due to the fact that this person does not desire or enjoy close relationships, other than first-degree relatives, the interest in sexual experiences with another person is nonexistent. This lack of desire for attachment results in a show of emotional coldness. The main deviant behavior of a schizoid personality is the lack of social interaction. They usually have a restricted range of emotions in all social settings. They often prefer the life of the recluse or the isolated eccentric. This type of personality disorder often evolves into a serious psychotic condition known as schizophrenia.
Another type of personality disorder that may turn into schizophrenia is schizotypal personality disorder. A person who displays this type of behavior also is uncomfortable close relationships. However, this type of personality disorder often displays eccentrics of behavior including the following: thinking that is inconsistent with sub-cultural norms (e.g. superstitions, belief in telepathy, bizarre fantasies), odd speech, lack of friends, social anxiety. In addition to the violation of cultural norms and the possibility of schizophrenia, the schizotypal personality may be deviant in other ways. They often develop suicidal tendencies and attempt to take their own lives. They often have hypochondria and express odd complaints, such as pain in the blood or bones. They often eavesdrop on others conversations and perceive references to themselves, which are nonexistent. In addition to these behaviors, the schizotypal personality is often seems as simply odd in behavior.
The most commonly recognized personality disorder in studying deviance is the antisocial personality disorder. This disorder is commonly characterized by specific patterns. These patterns include defiance, lack of remorse, being self-absorbed, irresponsible, deceitful, and irritable and aggressive. This disorder almost always starts in childhood and continues through adulthood. The list of deviant behaviors of an antisocial personality is long. Many serial killers have been diagnosed with an antisocial disorder. They often begin their deviant lifestyles with drugs, alcohol, and sex at a very early age. People with this disorder are at a great risk for substance abuse, alcoholism, vagrancy, suicide, incarceration, and criminal activity. There are estimates that as high as 70-80% of the prison population has antisocial personality disorder. The antisocial personality is often one who seriously violates the rights of others.
An example of a fictional character that seriously a violated persons right was Alex Forrest played by Glenn Close, in the movie Fatal Attraction. The disorder portrayed here was borderline personality disorder. This disorder is the most common of all the personality disorders. It occurs in about 2% of the population. The onset of this disorder usually “flares up” when psychological stress occurs. When the stress subsides, the symptoms may subside as well. The common characteristics of borderline personality are unstable personal relationships, unstable self-image, unstable emotions, and little control over impulses. The deviance displayed by a borderline personality can range from the insignificant to the harmful and destructive. The lack of control of impulses can result in self-destructive acts such as self-mutilation. This can also result in binges, whether it is on food, alcohol, or sex. The most dangerous of the deviance of a borderline is the infliction of bodily harm on oneself or others. Nearly 75% of borderline personality disorders attempt suicide. It is often said that borderline personalities are often attention seekers.
The histrionic personality disorder is also classified as someone who displays a pattern of attention seeking. The histrionic personality is very uncomfortable with situations in which he or she is not the center of attention. In reference to interaction with others, the histrionic personality is often inappropriate sexually. Individuals who are said to be histrionic are known to attempt to get attention in strange and unusual ways. A histrionic personality often uses physical appearance to draw attention to themselves. They often dress flamboyantly and have outrageous hairstyles. They often develop a style of speech that is truly impressionistic and lacks true detail. Most people with this disorder do not have problem adapting to society, however some develop maladaptive behaviors that cause difficulties in their everyday lives.
Another personality disorder that displays a need for attention is the narcissistic personality disorder. This person however also develops fantasies and has a grandiose sense of who he or she is. The narcissistic personality feel that he or she is special and unique and is unable to relate to others unless they are high status or can be classified as “special” too. When interaction does occur, the narcissistic personality often takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own needs and wants. This stems from the fact that he or she is unable to recognize the needs of others.
A personality disorder that is very unlike the narcissistic personality it the avoidant personality. Less than 1% of the population has this disorder. The avoidant personality fears embarrassment in social situations. For this reason, these people avoid social situations at all costs. They believe that others are constantly watching them and being critical of them. The avoidant personality has a severe lack of self-confidence. People who have a dependent personality disorder go beyond the lack of self-confidence of the avoidant personality. This lack of self-confidence always results in a need for others to completely control their lives. They do not lack motivation or energy, however they need others to make decisions for them and are unable to initiate projects on their own. Because of the need for another person, they have the inability to disagree with others because they fear that the person will not support them if they disagree. The deviance of this disorder lies within the disorder itself. The sufferers of this disorder go beyond the normal degree of interdependence of allowing another person to take over their lives. Dependent personality sufferers often have another personality disorder.
The last of the personality disorders is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. This person suffers from an obsession with orderliness, perfectionism, and control. There is a desire to work on a task instead of dealing with friends or leisure activities. These traits interfere with task completion because his or her high standards can never be met. The obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is totally inflexible about matters of morality, ethics, or values. This cannot be accounted for by his or her cultural or religious identification. The associated deviant features of an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder are often depression and sexual dysfunction, which may include a total lack of sexual desire. As illustrated in this paper, all people who suffer from personality disorders display some form of deviant schizoid behavior. People often have more than one personality disorder. Because of the fact that the majority of deviants have personality disorders, when dealing with a deviant, it is important to determine the disorder he or she has. This way, the disorder can be managed effectively.