Sep 26th 2023
Personality disorders are a class of mental health conditions that involve long-term thought patterns and behaviors that can be harmful and difficult to overcome. Personality disorders can be categorized into three distinct clusters: Cluster A, Cluster B, and Cluster C .
This article will focus on Cluster C personality disorders, which are characterized by anxious and fearful behavior. Read on to learn how they differ from other personality disorders, their causes, how they are diagnosed and your treatment options.
People with cluster C personality disorders typically experience anxious and fearful thoughts and behaviors. They are usually shy, withdrawn and struggle with a low sense of self esteem. They tend to be overly cautious and hesitant, and they avoid situations that may cause them discomfort or embarrassment . Disorders in this cluster include:
Cluster C personality disorders vary from other personality disorders, with sufferers typically behaving anxiously and fearfully.
All three clusters of personality disorders share commonalities, chief among them are sufferers’ struggles to socially interact with others and maintain relationships. 
Personality is comprised of a person’s thoughts, behaviors and emotional regulation. Personality disorders typically emerge in late adolescence or early adulthood and are characterized by enduring patterns of behavior, cognition, and an overall emotional state that deviates from cultural expectations.
The exact causes are complex and may involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and developmental factors :
Cluster C personality disorders are diagnosed by mental health professionals following a comprehensive evaluation. If you think you have symptoms of a personality disorder, make an appointment with your healthcare provider and they can refer you to an appropriate specialist .
They will assess your symptoms, review your medical history and may administer standardized tests – such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), to assist with the diagnosis .
Your symptoms will be assessed against the DSM-V’s diagnostic criteria for Cluster C personality disorders and the doctor will rule out any other potential conditions that could be responsible. Once satisfied, they will provide you with a diagnosis and lay out your treatment options.
Treating personality disorders can be challenging, but immensely rewarding for patients who show dedication and grit.
The treatment option will depend on the severity of your symptoms and whether you have any comorbid conditions, but typically involve a combination of therapy, medication and self-help strategies. These are outlined below:
Therapy can help provide you with the skills to handle social situations more comfortably and regulate your emotions. They are typically the frontline treatment approach for personality disorders. 
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective in treating Cluster C personality disorders. CBT helps patients to identify the negative thoughts and behaviors associated with their personality disorder and change them to effect more positive outcomes.
Group therapy can also be beneficial to people with personality disorders, as it provides individuals with the opportunity to practice social skills in safe and supportive surroundings .
While no medication has been officially approved for the treatment of personality disorders, certain medications can be used to treat certain symptoms of Cluster C personality disorders. For example, antidepressants could be prescribed to treat symptoms of depression or anxiety that occur alongside a Cluster C personality disorder .
Self-help strategies are a crucial component of a person’s treatment plan for their Cluster C personality disorder. While therapy, supplemented by medication in some cases, is the optimum treatment approach – lifestyle management can optimize your ability to manage your symptoms. These include: 
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