South Asians often paint a vivid picture of what an ideal member of its community should be like: respectful, studious, ambitious, hard-working, aware of traditions, etc. However, fulfilling such an archetype isn’t easy for everyone, especially the generation of American-born South Asians who find it difficult to satisfy two strongly contrasting cultures. 


Often times, this difficulty can be expressed in the form of personality disorders. Described below are brief descriptions of four major personality disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD), and Schizoid Personality Disorder.

For your benefit, we’ve added links to sites that contain more detailed information and/or relevant articles. As we’ve stressed consistently throughout the site, if you think you or someone you know is experiencing a personality disorder or any mental illness, seek help immediately.


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)



BPD is characterized by a difficulty in emotion regulation and constant instability in mood, interpersonal relationships, self image, and behavior. Individuals with this disorder may have intense bouts of anger, anxiety, and depression that last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Like many mental illnesses, its exact causes can stem from a variety of environmental and genetic factors (i.e., it is more common in females, and in individuals with a family history of the disorder).


  1. Intense and highly changeable moods

  2. Chronic feelings of emptiness

  3. Distorted and unstable sense of self

  4. Stress-related paranoid thoughts

  5. Intense and unstable family relationships, changing from intense and extreme closeness and love to extreme hatred or anger







  1. Psychotherapy

    • Most common form of individual therapy is Dialectical-Based Therapy (DBT) but also used are Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) and Schema-Focused Therapy (SFT).

    • Group  therapy can also be helpful

  2. Medications









Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)



OCD is characterized by obsessive behavior, brought about by irrational reasoning, which leads an individual to perform specific activities repeatedly in compulsive fashion. Once again, similar to other conditions, the root cause behind OCD is unknown, but it is thought that a variety of factors acting simultaneously do have the ability to trigger the condition. These include:

  1. Genetics/family history of OCD

    • Occurs mostly in men

  2. Learned behaviors from childhood environment

  3. Physical or sexual abuse

  4. Alterations in the frontal cortex and subcortical regions of the brain



  1. Obsessions

    • An overwhelming interest in cleanliness, organization, rules, and overall order within a given environment

    • A perfectionist-like mentality to a variety of endeavors undertaken

  2.  Compulsions

    • Demonstrating an unnecessarily excessive need to wash hands, organize items in a particular way, checking and rechecking certain things, following very specific routines, etc.



  1. Medication 

  2. Psychotherapy

  3. Getting educated on the condition itself

  4. Joining self-help or support group programs


Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD)



APD is characterized by a flawed mindset that lacks consideration for the rights of others. People that suffer from this condition often see little harm in violating rules and regulations if it serves to benefit them. Factors that may aggravate or trigger the condition include: 

  1. Genetics/family history of APD

    • Far more men than women are affected

  2. Physical/verbal abuse from parents and elders

  3. Having a parent with antisocial or alcoholic tendencies

  4. Alterations to the functionality of the brain during its development



  1. Indifference to the concept of right vs wrong

  2. Lying for personal gain

  3. A hostile, irritable, hot-tempered personality

  4. Inability to develop multiple, healthy relationships

  5. Criminal behavior


Since individuals suffering from this condition rarely take the initiative to receive treatment, providing help to them can be quite difficult. However, when implemented, psychotherapy and medications have proven to be the two most effective treatment options.







Schizoid Personality Disorder



Schizoid personality disorder is characterized by individuals feeling the need to isolate themselves from social interaction. This differs from schizophrenia since neither the presence of hallucinations or delusions are experienced by those with schizoid personality disorder. Scientists have theorized that there isn’t necessarily a primary cause behind the condition, but rather, that it is the cumulative effect of a variety of circumstances, which include:

  1. Genetics/family history of Schizoid personality disorder

  2. Environmental factors, primarily during childhood, that influence an individual’s interactions with others.

  3. Having parents or elders that are rather neglectful and unloving



  1. Choosing isolation over interaction

  2. Expressing little desire for relationships of any kind

  3. Unable to express emotions maturely

  4. Lacking a sense of ambition and dedication



Similar to conditions such as antisocial personality disorder, administering treatment to individuals suffering from schizoid personality disorder can be very difficult because they refrain from interaction and the proper expression of emotions. However, when provided, psychotherapy, group therapy, and medications have proven to be effective.


Sources/links we utilized



  • Mayo Clinic

  • Medline Plus

  • Psych Central

  • National Institute of Mental Health


  • MedlinePlus

  • PsychCentral

Schizoid Personality Disorder:

  • Mayo Clinic

  • Medline Plus

  • PsychCentral

Credit: Crash Course Psychology
Credit: Crash Course Psychology
Credit: Ofir Sasson