Personality Disorders

a way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.

Having a personality disorder can be particularly challenging not just for patients, but also for anyone who cares about them. Personality disorders can make it difficult to perceive situations and relate to people appropriately, but because your brain thinks the way it does, you behave the way it tells you to. You sincerely think you're doing the right thing, and it may even seem like everyone else is doing the wrong thing or is to blame when things go wrong in your life. It's easy to see how personality disorders can strain relationships and cause issues at work, school, or in social situations... and why it's important to get treatment.

What causes personality disorders?

Your personality is a product of genetics and environment. Your personality informs how you think, feel, and act, and it's what makes you YOU. You develop your personality in childhood, and disorders typically present in teenage years or early adulthood. Although there is no clear cause of personality disorders, there are some factors that put you at higher risk.

A family history of personality disorders or mental illness can lead to the development of a personality disorder, as can brain chemistry or brain structure. Environmental triggers, such as abusive or chaotic family life, also increase the risk of a personality disorder. Children who are diagnosed with a conduct disorder are at increased risk for developing a personality disorder as they get older.

It can be difficult to recognize how your thoughts and actions may be complicating your life because your thoughts and actions feel right to you," said Sarah Raike, a mental health provider at bonmente. "But if they're bringing dysfunction to your life, it's time to get help."

What are symptoms of personality disorders?

There are several types of personality disorders, falling under "clusters," and each comes with symptoms that often overlap other types.

Cluster A

Cluster A personality disorders, such as paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder, are characterized by bizarre, eccentric thoughts or behaviors.

Cluster B

Cluster B personality disorders include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. With Cluster B disorders, there is highly dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable or irrational thoughts and behaviors. Among personality disorders, Cluster B types are the most commonly diagnosed.

Cluster C

With Cluster C personality disorders, such as avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, there is an excess of anxious, fearful thoughts or behavior.

How are personality disorders treated?

Because so much of personality disorders are related to thoughts and feelings, psychotherapy is at the center of treating them. With therapy, you can gain understanding about your personality disorder and begin to recognize how your thoughts and actions are impacting your life. You can also learn stress management, coping skills, and social skill training that help you manage your disorder. Family therapy may also be indicated since personality disorders have a profound effect on relationships.