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Personality Disorders Guide

Cluster C Disorders

People diagnosed with a disorder from Cluster C may have the following symptoms:

Avoidant Personality Disorder

  • Avoids social situations, socially withdrawn
  • Disproportionate sensitivity to criticism and rejection
  • Overly timid/shy
  • Persistent feelings of inadequacy

Dependent Personality Disorder

  • Avoids personal responsibility
  • Inability to act or think independently
  • Irrational fear of abandonment, rejection and separation
  • Low self-esteem and self-confidence
  • Prone to submissive behaviors

Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder

  • Persistent and repetitive unwanted thoughts (obsessions) about superstitions, rituals and fears (such as fear of germs)
  • Persistent and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that are driven by obsessive thoughts such as a fear of germs leading to recurrent hand washing

For more information, visit Mental Health America's factsheet about personality disorders.


Treatment plans for patients with personality disorders often include psychotherapy -- one-on-one, family, couples or group -- and medications to relieve symptoms of anxiety and altered perceptions.

Psychotherapy may be helpful in teaching patients the underlying causes and triggers of their symptoms, reducing unwanted behavior patterns and improving social skills, coping skills and self-esteem.