Personality disorders are characterized by fixed, enduring and extreme patterns of thoughts and behaviors that deviate from the expectations of society and cause significant amounts of impairment across several areas of a person’s life. All personality disorders are characterized by distorted thinking patterns, inappropriate emotional responses, lack of impulse control and social impairment. Personality disorders are categorized into three clusters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-5: cluster A, cluster B and cluster C. Cluster A personality disorders are described as “odd and eccentric,” cluster B as “dramatic and erratic” and cluster C as “anxious and fearful.”

Personality disorder statistics reveal important information regarding prevalence, incidence of co-occurring conditions and suicidal and high-risk behaviors that are attributed to each of the personality disorders. They can also provide valuable information about risk factors, treatment and prognosis.

Prevalence of Personality Disorders

The prevalence of personality disorders provides approximations about how common each of the personality disorders are in various populations and geographical locations. Prevalence rates are important in understanding and researching effective treatment options.

  • The percent of the population with a personality disorder is 10–13% of the universal population
  • It is estimated that 9% of adults in the United States have at least one personality disorder
  • Personality disorders are diagnosed in 40–60% of psychiatric patients, rendering them the most common of all psychiatric diagnoses
  • Traumatic childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect, have been recognized as risk factors that may elevate the chances that an individual may develop a personality disorder.
  • Studies estimate that between 65–90% of people treated for a substance use disorder have at least one personality disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) is characterized by an intense focus on details, organization and perfectionism that interferes with daily functioning.

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder statistics show that:

  • OCPD impacts 2.1–7.9% of the population
  • The condition is twice as prevalent in males than females.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid personality disorder is driven by the fear that others are going to manipulate, harm or take advantage of an individual. Because of these symptoms, the condition often results in social withdrawal, tenseness, irritability and lack of emotion.

Paranoid  personality disorder statistics in the U.S. show that:

  • The prevalence of the condition in people receiving outpatient mental health treatment  is 2–10%
  • Rates of paranoid personality disorder in a population of people in psychiatric inpatient facilities is 10–30%

Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder is exemplified by a person who lacks consideration for right and wrong, has no regard for the rights of others, cannot show guilt or remorse and antagonizes and manipulates others.

Antisocial personality disorder statistics show that:

  • Approximately 3% of the United States population has the condition
  • Approximately 80% of individuals with antisocial personality disorder will have started to show symptoms by the age of 11
  • Antisocial personality disorder occurs in 0.2–3.3% of the general population at any given time

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by social detachment, a lack of interest in socializing and limitations in emotional expression. Schizoid personality disorder statistics are difficult to find, as people with this personality disorder rarely seek treatment. However, available statistics suggest that between 3–4% of the general population has the condition.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Avoidant personality disorder is exemplified by significant feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness and inadequacy and challenges with relationships and social interactions. Individuals with this condition are extremely prone to criticism and disapproval from others.

Avoidant personality disorder statistics depict that:

  • Approximately 2.5% of the population meets the criteria for diagnosis
  • Although 40% of the population deals with shyness, the symptoms of avoidant personality disorder are much more intense than feelings of general shyness

Histrionic Personality Disorder

Histrionic personality disorder is defined by self-centeredness, exaggerated emotions, dramatic displays and irregular emotional states. Histrionic personality disorder statistics show that the condition occurs in approximately 2.1% of the general population.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by an unstable sense of self and relationships, trouble controlling temper, risky behaviors and recurrent self-harm or suicidal ideation.

Borderline personality statistics show that:

  • About 1.6% of the United States population has borderline personality disorder
  • More than 4 million people have borderline personality disorder in the United States
  • 75% of people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are women
  • People with BPD have an unusually high risk of suicide, with at least 75% of these individuals attempting suicide at least once in their lives and 10% eventually committing suicide

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is distinguished by a strong need for approval from others, lack of empathy, an inability to form meaningful interpersonal relationships and extreme attention-seeking behaviors.

Narcissistic personality disorder statistics show that:

  • The condition is present in about 0.5% of the United States population
  • Between 2–16% of those seeking help from a mental health professional will receive a narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis
  • The condition is found in 6% of the forensic population, 20% of the military population and 17% of first-year medical students

Dependent Personality Disorder

Dependent personality disorder is characterized by an inability to make decisions alone, a strong dependence on others, extreme sensitivity to criticism, low self-confidence and intense fear of abandonment.

Dependent personality disorder statistics show that it is:

  • Fewer than 1% of the U.S. population has this condition
  • While some studies show that the condition is diagnosed more often in women, others suggest that the prevalence between men and women is similar

Personality Disorder Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that can make a person more susceptible to developing a personality disorder. While personality disorders do have a hereditary component, environmental factors can also contribute to their development. Some additional personality disorder risk factors include:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Head injury
  • Childhood abuse, neglect or trauma
  • Disorganized or unstable childhood home environments
  • Harsh or unpredictable discipline received as a child
  • Sensitive temperament and high reactivity to stimuli

Personality Disorders and Co-Occurring Conditions

The prevalence of personality disorders and other co-occurring conditions is fairly high. Personality disorders can co-occur with mental health conditions, substance abuse disorders or other personality disorders. It is unclear if one condition prompts the other, or if they originate from similar causes earlier in life. Comprehensive and simultaneous treatment for personality disorders and co-occurring conditions is critical for positive treatment outcomes because co-occurring conditions can intensify the symptoms of a personality disorder.

Trauma and personality disorders are often linked together. Children who were abused, neglected or traumatized are at an elevated risk for developing a personality disorder, such as avoidant personality disorder. Both borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) result from trauma, and it’s estimated that anywhere from 25–60% of people with borderline personality disorder also have PTSD.

Personality disorders and substance abuse are commonly comorbid conditions, as many people use substances to self-medicate the symptoms of their personality disorder. Studies show that 65–90% of people receiving treatment for a substance use disorder have at least one personality disorder.

Additionally, comorbid personality disorders can occur together simultaneously. Other individuals may display traits from other personality disorders without meeting the full diagnostic criteria.

Personality Disorders and Suicide

Research demonstrates that cluster B and cluster C personality disorders are often associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. For example, the borderline personality disorder suicide rate is high, as impulsivity, poor emotional regulation and propensity towards self-harm converge simultaneously. Around 75% of people with borderline personality disorder attempt suicide at least one time in their lives and 10% are successful in their attempts. Avoidant personality disorder suicide rates are also high due to shame, self-loathing, isolation, and lack of close friendships and relationships.    

Prognosis for Personality Disorders

Personality disorder prognosis is somewhat poor, as personality is generally rigid and fixed. Individuals are likely to maintain abnormal personality characteristics throughout their lifespan. Antisocial personality disorder prognosis, in particular, is poor, as people have low motivation for treatment and are often distrusting of help. However, aggressive and illegal behaviors tend to lessen with age.

Similarly, paranoid personality disorder treatment prognosis is also poor due to resistance to treatment. However, some people with this personality disorder are able to maintain stable relationships and jobs and function fairly well, while others are incapacitated by the disorder.  

Borderline personality disorder long term prognosis shows that it can go into remission with proper treatment, but the condition is chronic and must be managed throughout the lifespan.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment prognosis shows that individuals can make significant improvements in their relationships, achievements and coping mechanisms with appropriate forms of treatment.

Statistics on Personality Disorder Treatment

Personality disorder treatment is extremely important as it relates to long-term prognosis and outcomes. While the rates of treatment success vary significantly depending on the disorder an individual has, professional care is almost always needed for people to experience any improvements in symptoms. This is particularly true if an individual has a co-occurring mental health condition, like addiction. 

If you or a family member are struggling with addiction and a co-occurring personality disorder, The Recovery Village can provide assistance. Facilities are located across the country for your convenience. Reach out to a representative today for more information.

Personality Disorders Statistics
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