Research Article|Articles in Press

Personality Disorders in Dermatology: a Review of Patient Characteristics, Associated Dermatologic Conditions, and Pearls for Management


      Personality disorders are characterized by ‘ego-syntonic’ maladaptive behaviors that impair functioning. This contribution outlines the relevant characteristics and approach to patients with personality disorders pertaining to the dermatology setting. For patients with Cluster A personality disorders (paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal), it is crucial to avoid being overly contradictory of eccentric beliefs and to take a straightforward, unemotional approach. Cluster B includes antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders. Promoting safety and boundaries is paramount when interacting with patients with an antisocial personality disorder.
      Patients with borderline personality disorder have higher rates of various psychodermatologic conditions and benefit from an empathetic approach and frequent follow-up. Patients with borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic personality disorders all have higher rates of body dysmorphia, and the cosmetic dermatologist needs to avoid unnecessary cosmetic procedures. Patients with Cluster C personality disorders (avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive) often have significant anxiety associated with their illness and may benefit from extensive and clear explanations of their condition and management plan. Due to the challenges posed by these patients’ personality disorders, they are often undertreated or receive poorer quality care. While it is essential to acknowledge and address challenging behaviors, their dermatologic concerns should not be dismissed.


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