Understanding Cluster B Personality Disorders


Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that affect a person’s thought processes, emotional responses, and behaviors. These disorders are divided into three clusters, and each cluster involves a unique set of traits and symptoms. Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by erratic and dramatic behavior and include four specific disorders – Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD), and Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD).

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

BPD is a condition that causes intense emotions, impulsive behavior, and unstable self-image. People with BPD often have a history of childhood trauma or abuse, making it particularly difficult for them to trust others. Symptoms of BPD can include:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsivity
  • Unstable relationships
  • Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Extreme anger outbursts

BPD can be treated with therapy, medication, and alternative therapies such as yoga or mindfulness practices.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

NPD is a disorder characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration. People with NPD may exaggerate their achievements and abilities, and they may be envious of others who they perceive as being more successful. Symptoms of NPD can include:

  • Grandiosity
  • Exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Lack of empathy
  • Envy of others
  • Exploitative behavior
  • Arrogance

People with NPD may need therapy to help them develop a sense of empathy and improve their relationships with others.

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)

HPD is a condition that causes people to seek attention and validation through their dramatic behavior and emotions. People with HPD may feel the need to be the center of attention and often exhibit provocative, attention-seeking behavior. Symptoms of HPD can include:

  • Excessive emotional expression
  • Sensitivity to criticism or disapproval
  • Seductive behavior
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Shallow emotional reactions
  • Attention-seeking behavior

Therapy is often the recommended treatment for HPD, especially cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help people develop more appropriate ways to attract attention and improve their relationships with others.

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

ASPD is a condition that causes people to disregard the rights of others and violate social norms and laws. People with ASPD may engage in criminal behavior, including lying, stealing, and manipulating others. Symptoms of ASPD can include:

  • Disregard for the law and social norms
  • Repeatedly lying and deceiving others
  • Impulsivity
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Irresponsibility
  • Lack of remorse

Therapy can be challenging for people with ASPD. However, cognitive-behavioral therapy can help people learn how to manage their behavior and improve their relationships with others. In some cases, medication may be used to treat co-occurring conditions, such as depression or anxiety, which can make it easier for people with ASPD to engage in therapy.


Cluster B personality disorders can cause significant distress and dysfunction for individuals and their loved ones. However, with proper treatment and support, people with these conditions can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. It is essential to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with a personality disorder or any other mental health condition.


What are Cluster B Personality Disorders?

Cluster B Personality Disorders refer to a group of personality disorders that are characterised by erratic, dramatic, and emotional behaviour. The four disorders that fall under this category are Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), and Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD).

What are the Causes of Cluster B Personality Disorders?

The underlying cause of Cluster B Personality Disorders is still unknown, but researchers believe that environmental and genetic factors may play a role in the development of these disorders. Childhood abuse or neglect, trauma, and a dysfunctional family environment are all common factors that have been linked with the onset of these disorders.

What are the Treatment Options for Cluster B Personality Disorders?

Treatment options for Cluster B Personality Disorders depend on the severity of the disorder and the willingness of the patient to seek help. Therapy, including Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and psychotherapy, has been found to be effective in treating these disorders. Medications may also be used to manage symptoms such as depression and anxiety. It’s important to seek professional help if you suspect you or someone close to you is experiencing symptoms of a Cluster B Personality Disorder.


1. Paris, J. (2019). Borderline personality disorder: A multidimensional approach. New York, NY: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.

2. Skodol, A. E. (2017). An overview of the cluster B personality disorders. Journal of Personality Disorders, 31(Supplement), 5-14.

3. Gunderson, J. G. (2019). Handbook of good psychiatric management for borderline personality disorder. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.