A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which an individual exhibits a rigid pattern of thoughts, emotions, behaviours, and ways of relating to others that significantly deviates from the norm. This pattern of deviant behaviour can begin in adolescence or early adulthood.
What is a personality disorder?
A personality disorder is a mental disorder that can cause deviations in an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. Personality disorders are usually first diagnosed in adolescence or early adulthood and are often associated with other mental disorders, such as anxiety or depression.
Individuals with a personality disorders may have trouble performing routine tasks and responsibilities. These disorders can make it hard for an individual to hold a job, maintain healthy relationships, and even take care of themselves. But with treatment, they can learn to manage their symptoms and live productive, fulfilling lives.
Types of personality disorders
Ten personality disorders are recognised in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The most common ones are:
1. Paranoid personality disorder: Individuals will exhibit excessively mistrustful and jealous behaviour. They may constantly look for people or circumstances they believe will cause them harm.
2. Schizoid personality disorder: Individuals will act aloof, detached and indifferent to others. They may prefer to be alone and have little interest in social interactions or relationships.
3. Schizotypal personality disorder: Individuals will exhibit odd or eccentric behaviours. They may hold unusual beliefs or ideas and may be perceived as strange or weird by others.
4. Antisocial personality disorder: Individuals will display manipulative, deceitful and callous behaviours. They may indulge in criminal behaviour and activities and have a total disregard for the rights and feelings of others.
5. Borderline personality disorder: Individuals will exhibit impulsive, erratic and emotionally unstable behaviours. They may have a fear of abandonment and may engage in self-destructive activities.
6. Histrionic personality disorder: Individuals may display overly dramatic, emotional, and attention-seeking behaviours. They may act in excessively flirtatious and sexually provocative ways.
7. Narcissistic personality disorder: Individuals will exhibit excessively self-centred, vain and arrogant behaviours. They may feel entitled and require constant admiration and approval from others.
8. Avoidant personality disorder: Individuals are shy, withdrawn and sensitive to rejection. They may avoid social interactions as they fear they may be embarrassed or ridiculed.
9. Dependent personality disorder: Individuals are overly dependent on others. They may act submissive and compliant and may find it challenging to make decisions without the approval of others.
Symptoms of personality disorders
The common symptoms of personality disorders include:
- Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships
- Mood swings
- Chronic feelings of emptiness or anxiety
- Difficulty controlling emotions
- Inappropriate or intense reactions to events.
Treatment of personality disorders
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating personality disorders, as the best course of treatment will vary depending on the individual’s specific diagnosis and symptoms. That said, some general treatment principles are used in treating personality disorders.
One of the most critical aspects of treatment for personality disorders is helping individuals learn to manage their symptoms. It may involve teaching them coping and problem-solving skills and helping them better understand their condition and how it affects their life.
In addition to symptom management, the treatment also often focuses on helping the individual improve their interpersonal skills and relationships. It may involve therapy in individual or group settings. Therapists can help individuals with personality disorders learn how to communicate more effectively, set boundaries, and deal with conflicts healthily.
Doctors may prescribe medication as part of treatment for specific personality disorders. For example, doctors may use antidepressants to help treat symptoms of depression, while anti-anxiety medication can help to reduce anxiety and help with sleep.
Treatment for personality disorders can be challenging as it often requires long-term commitment and can be difficult to maintain. However, with the right help, many individuals with personality disorders can manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives.
There are many different types of personality disorders; At the same time, some can be mild and cause only minor problems; others can be much more severe and cause significant disturbances in an individual’s life. Therapy and medication are the treatment for Personality disorders, and many people with these disorders can live relatively everyday lives with the proper treatment. If you think you or someone you know may have a personality disorder, it is essential to talk to a mental health professional as soon as possible.