Cluster B Personality disorders: Everything you need to know

Cluster B Personality disorders: Everything you need to know


Personality disorders (PDs) are described as neurotic behaviours and maladaptive, pervasive and rigid (Dixon-Gordon et al., 2015). Individuals with Personality disorders (PDs) are typically seriously influenced in social interactions or put tremendous stress on others.


These relational pressing factors can likewise influence different capacities, like the capacity of these individuals to keep up with occupations or satisfy family member obligations. More so, certain obstructions are firmly identified with wrongdoing and criminal conduct and adversely affect our social capacities.


In the most recent diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5, 2013), Personality disorders (PDs) can be generally separated into three classifications:




Albeit a wide range of Personality disorders (PDs) are identified with deficits in social functioning, contrasted with the other two sorts, cluster B problems are straightforward and all the more explicitly identified with maladaptive relational practices. In this article, the focal point is Cluster B disorder.  

What is Cluster B Personality Disorder?


There are four Cluster B Personality disorders (PDs): narcissistic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder.


1. Antisocial personality disorder (ASD)

They are described by antagonism and forcefulness. Trickiness and control frequently go with this disorder. Individuals with ASD assume practically no liability for their activities and frequently reprimand others for their wrong actions. Moreover, they regularly abuse the privileges of others (Hare et al., 2012).

2. Borderline personality disorder (BPD)

They are portrayed by solid and precarious feelings and quick passionate changes. In relational connections, individuals with BPD, for the most part, hold outrageous perspectives on their closeness and connections, and changes in relationships can cause solid negative feelings (like indignation) that are hard to control or mitigate (Hooley, Cole, and Gironde, 2012).

3. Histrionic personality disorder (HPD)

Seeing someone, individuals with HPD generally need to be the focal point of consideration. They are portrayed by excessive emotionality and attention-seeking. To stand out enough to be noticed, they need to receive trivial or enticing practices frequently and like to show overstated passionate articulations (Blashfield, Reynolds, and Stennett, 2012).

4. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)

They are described by pomposity, power, and an outrageous requirement for admiration. These attributes cause individuals with NPD to accept that they are superior to other people, uncommon merit treatment, or have remarkable gifts. In relational connections, their feeling of qualification frequently prompts a conflict, slight for other people, and trouble taking care of analysis from others (Ronningstam, 2012).


Cluster B Personality disorders (PDs) are identified with maladaptive patterns in relational conduct, which can genuinely block the foundation, upkeep and nature of close relationships. As a result, it is essential to unpack how individuals with these disorders internalize and approach their intimate relationships.

Factors associated with Cluster B personality disorders

Personality disorders (PDs) are most likely brought about by a mix of genetics and environmental variables.



According to Perugula, Naran, and Lipman (2017), there is a solid connection betweens BPD and a history of sexual trauma. Another examination by Yen et al. (2002) discovered an association between kids abused verbally by their moms and different Personality disorders (PDs) (borderline and narcissistic personality disorders).


Family history

This proposes that mental health may likewise cause these disorders. Other examination by Johnson et al. (2001) found that there is additionally a significant connection between Cluster B PD and family history. Guardians of kin with Personality disorders (PDs) can build the risk of the disorder.



Contrasted with age and sexual orientation coordinated with members without psychopathology, BPD patients detailed more regrettable sleep quality (Semiz et al., 2008). 95.5% of BPD patients depicted themselves as lacking sleep, while just 12% of the control group portrayed themselves as poor sleepers.


Also, contrasted with the control group, BPD patients announced higher self-revealed dream anxiety (for instance, bad dreams, autonomic hyperactivity, and trouble nodding off), and in the BPD test, patients with bad dream problems were clinically more severe.


The investigations likewise brought up other sleep issues in PD. Of the 110 legal people with a mental health condition, generally (83%) had PD (60% solitary, 27% BPD, 28% narcissistic PD), and 29% had self-revealed sleep issues (Kamphuis, Karsten, de Weerd and Lancel, 2013a).


In this way, the prevalence of sleep issues in PD samples may surpass that of sleep problems (i.e., a sleeping disorder) in different populations, with a proportion of 6-10% (Roth, 2007). Moreover, 49% of PD patients surpassed the clinical limit of poor rest quality in self-detailed estimations. Antisocial PD is solely the disorder that greatly determines self-announced poor sleep quality.


Generally, these discoveries demonstrate that sleep problems are relatively common among those with BPD and possibly antisocial PD.



The evidence additionally upholds the relationship between PD and obesity. As indicated by the NESARC study, four papers contemplate obesity and PD (Goldstein et al., 2008; Mather et al., 2008; Petry et al., 2008; Pickering et al., 2007). The outcomes show that personality disorder (ASD) (OR = 1.03) is related to expanded BMI (like stoutness or outrageous obesity), while histrionic PD isnt, with ORs = 1.03 and 1.01 (Petry et al., 2008).


Be that as it may, in another examination, upon adjusting for demographic and physical health factors, PD was not related to BMI in males (Pickering et al., 2007). Among ladies, antisocial PD is related to a higher probability of being significantly overweight (OR = 1.5) or incredibly stout (OR = 1.9).


In an examination by Mather et al., significantly overweight individuals are bound to have no less than one Cluster B PD, for example, antisocial and avoidant PD. (2008). Nonetheless, overweight men are more averse to meet criteria for different PD, and overweight ladies are bound to meet antisocial or multiple PD criteria.


In this data set, 3.7% of the samples meet the standards for antisocial PD (Goldstein et al., 2008). Even upon controlling for significant demographic factors, substance use, and ailments, the connection between antisocial PD and obesity or extreme obesity among women exists (OR = 1.4-3.2).


The results of these studies show that obese people who look for bariatric medical surgery and those people who dont look for a medical surgery have a high frequency of PD, demonstrating that weight and PD frequently happen simultaneously.


In large-scale epidemiological or longitudinal community samples, there is by all accounts a simultaneous connection between a few PDs and obesity, and there is proof that PD tentatively predicts the event of more significant obesity and dietary issues.   


Chronic Pain/Headaches

Information from epidemiological investigations generally shows that there is a positive relationship between a chronic illness and PDs. As indicated by NCS-R part II (N = 5692), people with chronic illness and people without the illness are bound to test positive when the IPDE is used to determine antisocial and/or BPD attributes (Braden and Sullivan, 2008).


However, while analyzing particular pain issues, including constant back and neck pains, this example didnt emerge. Likewise, from the NCS-R sample, the results of the examination showed that even after controlling for relevant demographic factors and psychopathology symptoms, history of self-reported pain conditions (joint inflammation, migraine, spinal pain, and so forth) predicted higher levels of BPD symptoms (McWilliams & Higgins, 2013).  


Academic research has set up a connection between chronic pain and BPD. For instance, researchers have discovered that symptoms of BPD are identified with actual biases of pain patients (Sansone, Whitecar et al., 2001), headache (Sansone et al., 2009), and are exceptionally prevalent (as shown by n = 87; 20%) in the in medical outpatients (Sansone, et al., 2006).


 In addition, among migraine patients (n = 100), diagnosis of BPD (through self-reporting as well as chart review) was related to severe migraine and disability. Compared to migraine sufferers without BPD, BPD participants (n = 50) also reported three-fold more significant functional incapacity due to migraine symptoms (self-reported as disabling) (Rothrock et al., 2007).


These outcomes demonstrate that chronic pain patients have a higher risk of PD, those patients with chronic pain and PD also have a higher health service utilization rate. It is also demonstrated that pain conditions and PDs regularly happen simultaneously in the general population.


Chronic Health Conditions

Epidemiological investigations support the conclusions drawn from research with smaller samples and show that PD, and BPD specifically, has a high comorbidity rate with several persistent ailments.


For instance, in an epidemiologically-based sample of St. Louis occupants dependent on epidemiology (n = 1051), BPD characteristics are associated with the presence of arthritis and obesity (OR = 2.67 and 2.61), even when controlling for demographic factors, axis I disease, and BPD other than any diagnosis of PD (OR = 2.64 and 2.94; Powers & Oltmanns, 2013).


NESARC made similar discoveries (N = 34,653; El-Gabalawy, Katz and Sareen, 2010). The presence of hypertension/atherosclerosis, joint inflammation, gastrointestinal illness, liver sickness, cardiovascular disorder, venereal disorder or different illnesses is related to a greater likelihood of having BPD, even upon adjusting for psychopathology and demographic variables.


More so, in a general study of 8580 adults in the UK (Moran et al., 2007), after controlling for demographic and health-related variables, obsessive-compulsive PDs, BPDs and avoidant PDs were related to stroke (OR = 4.0, 2.9, and 8.5).


In addition to schizoid, schizotypal and paranoid, these PDs were also related to ischemic heart illness (OR = 1.6-7.2). On top of documenting the relationship between PD and pain, the Norwegian large scale survey (Olsson and Dahl, 2009) likewise showed that people who endorse PD principles are bound to be worried about their wellbeing status than members who dont endorse these.


These epidemiological studies provide some support for the unique link between BPD and chronic health conditions, even after controlling for other PDs, the results remain the same.


In sum, the outcomes demonstrate that patients with chronic illnesses have a high prevalence of PD. In large-scale community and longitudinal research, the simultaneous relationship between chronic health conditions and BPD likewise is by all accounts strong.


Implications of Cluster B personality disorders

There is proof that people determined to have PD are at high risk of violent and vicious conduct (Larivière et al., 2010). In any case, it is essential to realize that the studies mentioned above indicate that the "risk is greater" and that not all people diagnosed with PD show certainty that violent behaviour or danger to society is presented.


Indeed, Coid et al. (2006) tracked down that in the previous 5 years, only 11% of individuals determined to have disorders revealed violent conduct, contrasted with 7% of individuals who were not determined to have disorders.  


Certain PD clusters or diagnostic characteristics are generally associated with more propensity to participate in violent conduct, however "uncertainty about the nature and degree of this relationship exists" (Gilbert and Daffern 2011).


This is particularly because of the inherent challenge of overlapping symptoms in PD, the dependence on cross-sectional examination methods, the inability to examine the stability and violence of PD over time, and the utilization of little or unrepresentative samples. Furthermore, self-reports, assessments and interviews, and even variations in personality symptoms of the assessment instrument itself should be given a thought (Tyrer et al., 2007).


Cod et al. (2006) found that people with cluster B PD attributes, but not A or C, are 10 times more likely to be convicted and nearly 8 times more likely to go to jail. Nevertheless, it is essential to pay attention to overdiagnosis among the forensic and prison population.


Studies have shown a relationship between cluster B pathology and expanded violence, anger, and aggression. Posternak and Zimmerman (2002) found that patients with Cluster B disorder are 4.6 times bound to report anger than others.


The empirical information mostly centres around (BPD) and ASPD, and there are little data on the remaining PD from clusters A to C (Emmelkamp & Kamphuis, 2006). This is by all accounts because of the theory that BPD and ASPD diagnoses are more related to crime risk (McMurran and Howard, 2009).


Violence in the diagnosis of ASPD is essentially viewed as instrumental. Hescok et al. (2003) discovered that people determined to have ASPD had a 3.7 times higher reconviction rate for attempted or completed murder, robbery, burglary, or assault. At the same time, the violence-related with the determination of BPD seems to be emotionally driven (de Barros and de Pádua Serafim, 2008), which supports that BPD and violence may be mediated by challenges associated with emotion regulation (Scott, Stepp and Pilkonis, 2014).


Treatment for Cluster B personal disorders

From empirical research, a rational treatment framework can be constructed.

The framework by Livesley (2003) incorporates essential principles and strategies. The principles direct how to organize and execute the treatment. The strategies translate principles into therapeutic actions, using a set of interventions with a common goal.

For example, the principle of optimizing the non-specific components of treatment is implemented through strategies such as establishing collaborative relationships and maintaining a consistent and effective treatment process. Intervention is a specific technique used to achieve change. They include drugs and specific cognitive, behavioural or psychodynamic techniques.



  1. Comprehensive Treatment Requires a Combination of Interventions to Treat the Range of Psychopathology Typically Associated With PD
  2. Numerous Interventions Should Be Delivered in an Integrated and Coordinated Way
  3. Treatment incorporates general methodologies for overseeing and treating centre self and relational pathology, just as explicit techniques for treating issues and individual contrasts in psychopathology
  4. The most fitting stance to treat PD: offer help, sympathy, and confirmation
  5. Treatment ought to boost the effects of common variables
  6. Treatment progress can be depicted as a progression of stages
  7. Change Occurs Through a Series of Stages, and Interventions Should Be Appropriate to the Patients Stage of Change
  8. The Work of Therapy is Collaborative Description of Patient Problems and Psychopathology and Their Effect on the Patients Life and Relationships


General treatment strategy

General interventions for PD treatment are customized according to 4 strategies (Bateman et al., 2015):


Continued use of these strategies can create a continuous correction experience and help change the core pathology. For example, emphasizing cooperation can help change distrust and solve problems of cooperation with others. Likewise, consistent treatment relationships can change the unpredictability expectations rooted in early dysfunctional relationships.


Validation helps correct self-ineffective thinking that hinders the formation of a coherent self. Finally, efforts to build motivation can help change passive and powerless beliefs and limited self-efficacy, leading to low self-direction (Bateman et al., 2012).


Strategy 1: Establish and keep a cooperative relationship

The focus is on treatment alliances since they are supportive and predict outcomes. The modern expression of the alliance emphasizes cooperation. However, partnerships are not easy to achieve-it is usually the result of treatment, not a prerequisite. For this reason, special attention is needed to establish and repair alliances (Bateman et al. 2012).


Strategy 2: Maintaining a Consistent Treatment Process

Consistency can be defined as adherence to the treatment framework (Bateman et al., 2012). Consistency provides a structure that contains instability and a stable experience of self in a relationship. However, maintaining consistency throughout the treatment process is a challenge.


Unstable self-states, unstable emotions, distrust, and difficulties in cooperation prompt repeated attempts to change the framework and challenge the therapists determination to maintain consistency. Success requires the skill of setting limits without destroying the empathy position.


This is best achieved by immediately facing an attempt to change the framework while providing support and understanding. This step involves identifying and verifying the reasons for the violation of the framework and pointing out how the breach adversely affects treatment (Bateman et al., 2012).


Strategy 3: Establish and maintain a verification process

Verification includes acknowledging the legitimacy of the patients experience. The verification response has multiple functions. They are naturally compassionate and supportive, thus strengthening the alliance.


Recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting the effects of bad experiences can also be helpful in the early stages of treatment when seeking acceptance and understanding are usually the main components of crisis behaviour (Dimaggio et al., 2012).


Strategy 4: Building and Maintaining Motivation for Change

If patients seek help, continue to receive treatment, and solve their problems, motivation for change is essential. However, low power, passivity, and helplessness are inherent to PD. Therefore, motivation cannot be a prerequisite for treatment, and therapists need to use motivational interview techniques extensively (Livesley, 2005) to trigger and renew their commitment to change.



It has been shown that personality disorders are likely caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. The main risk factors include abuse and family history. The disorders are associated with factors such as sleeping problems, obesity, Chronic Pain/Headaches and other Chronic Health Conditions such as hypertension/atherosclerosis, hepatic disease, cardiovascular disease, and gastrointestinal disease.


Since the disorders are associated with maladaptive patterns in interpersonal behaviours that can impede the establishment, maintenance, and quality of intimate relationships, they have been found to cause social threats in the form of violence from those suffering from the disorders.


Munodiwa Zvemhara is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm.

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Munodiwa Zvemhara
This article was written by Munodiwa a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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