Complex Personality Disorder: An Unclear Diagnosis

What would you do if a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist gave you a diagnosis that you didn’t understand or isn’t clear to you?

In every instance when something like this happens, the patient or client is left in limbo feeling uncertain about anything with regard to his/her diagnosis. If for any reason you did not understand or you’re concerned about your diagnosis the best thing to do is ask your doctor and if still in doubt get a second opinion.

What does Complex Personality Disorder Mean?

Complex personality disorder in it self is not a diagnosis, and it’s not listed in the DSM-5 as such. If you receive a diagnosis like this it would be wise to ask your doctor what’s your actual diagnosis.

The term complex personality disorder is used as an understanding of its severity. Complex personality disorders covers different categories of several clusters of personality disorders and the presence of one or more of the cluster B personality disorders. What does this mean? It means that a patient does not have one personality disorder but have features or co-occurrence with other personality disorders which calls for the complex case formation to tailor treatment to a patients specific needs.

What are Cluster B Personality Disorders?

Cluster B personality disorders are some of the most complex personality disorders and they include:

  • Antisocial Personality Disorder – Inclusive of: Psychopathy – Primary Psychopathy Sociopaths, Secondary Psychopathy – Psychopaths.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Subtypes of NPD are malignant, Covert, overt narcissists, these subtypes are not listed in the DSM-5.

These complex personality disorders may impair the patient’s response to treatment, complicate its’ management and thus poor adherence to treatment like medication that is they are most likely to stop taking treatment or therapy. For, example a person with NPD is highly unlikely to seek treatment for their illness because they see nothing wrong with them, and they are very deceiving so even if they were court ordered to seek treatment they would most likely lie to their therapist making it difficult for them to actually gain anything from therapy.


Any question, queries or concerns with regards to mental illness please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

Published by Coach Amy

BS, Psychology graduate, Certified NLP Master Practitioner, Certified Life Coach, training in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) Certified Confidence Life Coach,

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