Personality disorders are characterized as a form of mental disorder in which the sufferer exhibits a rigid and dysfunctional pattern of thinking and behaving. People suffering from a personality disorder may have marked difficulty engaging and maintaining a relationship with others, responding appropriately to challenges or situations, displaying appropriate affect in response to the emotional environment, etc. Unlike other mental health conditions some personality disorders can be hard to detect as it can be attributed to being “touchy”, “self-absorbed”, “a loner”, etc. Often, signs of personality disorder will emerge in the teenage years or early adulthood. Person’s with a personality disorder tend to have a view of the world that is significantly different from those without the disorder. They tend to blame others for their challenges and failures rather than taking responsibility for their individual choices.
Some people with a diagnosis of personality disorder will live out their lives never knowing they have a diagnosable mental illness, many of those that are aware will lead normal lives. Interestingly, many people that have been formally diagnosed will only seek psychotherapeutic treatment during times of increased stress or social demands. One of the important things to remember is when comparing personality disorders with other mental health disorders is the fact that it doesn’t affect the persons daily functioning to the same degree as someone diagnosed with other more prominent mental health conditions.
Types of Personality Disorders Include:
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Multiple Personality Disorder / Dissociative Identity Disorder
- Schizoid Personality Disorder
- Avoidant Personality Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Dependent Personality Disorder
- Histrionic Personality Disorder
Although, there is no specific thing that can cause an individual to develop a personality disorder, it is thought to have a positive correlation to both genetic and environmental influences. Genetics may allow some individuals to be more vulnerable to developing a personality disorder, while life stressors can trigger the development of symptoms.
Treatment for personality disorders can include individual psychotherapy medication, a combination of both and in severe cases hospitalizations.