Tyrer, head of the department of psychological medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine in London, began the study 12 years ago with 202 patients. All were treated for depression, generalized anxiety disorder, or panic disorder. Tyrer found that more than half of the patients also suffered from underlying personality disorders.
He recently found 178 of the patients and again looked at their symptoms. He found that most of them suffered more from their personality disorders. The findings:
- The odd/eccentric cluster includes people with paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personalities. These are the most severe types of personality disorders. Most of these patients became significantly less functional over time.
- The fearful/anxious cluster includes people with avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personalities. These patients also experienced significantly more difficulty over time.
- The flamboyant cluster includes people with histrionic, antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic personalities. Except for the borderlines — considered the most difficult personality disorder to treat — these patients enjoyed significantly better lives over time.
Tyrer says that most personality disorders get a bit better as a person goes from youth to the prime of life. But as a person with one of these disorders becomes elderly, the problems get worse than ever.