PERSONALITY DISORDERS TREATMENT
Personality disorders are a classification of mental health disorders that feature unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors. The disordered functioning that results from a personality disorder can cause severe impairment in work, relationships, or school and can lead to social isolation or substance use disorders. Most personality disorders emerge during the teen years or in early adulthood.
Personality disorders are grouped into three clusters or types. These include:
- Paranoid personality disorder (PDD). PDD features distrusting and suspicious thoughts about other’s motives or actions, paranoid thinking, misperception of remarks as personal insults, angry responses to perceived insults, and holding grudges.
- Schizoid personality disorder (SPD). SPD is characterized by isolating behaviors, a limited range of emotional expression, unable to pick up social cues, seeming disconnected, unengaged, or indifferent to others, and a lack of interest in sex or personal relationships.
- Schizotypal personality disorder (STPD). STPD features social anxiety, strange style of dress, speech, and behaviors, inappropriate emotional responses, belief you can influence people with your thoughts, belief in hidden messages, and suspicion toward others.
- Antisocial personality disorder (APD). APD features a disregard for rules, impulsivity, a lack of remorse when they hurt or offend others, irritability, aggressive behavior, and manipulative behaviors.
- Borderline personality disorder. Characterized by mood swings, fragile self-image, fear of abandonment, feelings of emptiness, impulsive and high-risk behaviors, angry outbursts, self-harming behaviors or suicide attempts, unstable relationships, and fragile self-image.
- Histrionic personality disorder (HPD). HPD features attention-seeking behavior, overly dramatic outbursts, sexually provocative behaviors, obsession about appearance, being easily influenced by others, being opinionated and hyperbolic, and being shallow.
- Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is characterized by a need to be admired, a sense of superiority, a lack of empathy or compassion, expecting constant praise, arrogance, taking advantage of others, have an exaggerated sense of self.
- Avoidant personality disorder (APD). APD features an avoidance of social situations due to excessive fear of rejection, lack of friendships, being overly shy, lonely,
- Dependent personality disorder (DPD). DPD is characterized by being needy, excessive dependence on others, fear of having to fend for oneself, being submissive toward others, lack of self-confidence, always being in a relationship, tolerating abusive behavior, and not speaking up for self.
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD). OCPD differs from OCD, which is in the anxiety spectrum. OCPD features obsession with achieving perfection, does not delegate responsibilities to others, putting work ahead of relationships and leisure, being rigid and stubborn, being miserly with money, seeks to control others.
Causes of Personality Disorders
The exact cause of personality disorders is unknown, however, certain factors are said to be involved in their development. These include:
- Genetics. Certain personality traits or a family history of personality disorders or mental illness can be linked to developing a personality disorder.
- Childhood abuse. An abusive or unstable home in childhood can result in a personality disorder.
- Childhood conduct disorder. Being diagnosed with a conduct disorder in childhood can be a precursor to a personality disorder.
- Brain chemistry. A chemical imbalance may contribute to a personality disorder.
Signs of a Personality Disorder
Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by enduring patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience that deviate from cultural expectations and cause distress or impairment in functioning. Signs of personality disorders can vary depending on the specific type of disorder and the individual’s unique presentation. However, some common signs and symptoms of personality disorders include:
- Difficulty with Relationships: Individuals with personality disorders often struggle to maintain stable and healthy relationships, experiencing frequent conflicts, misunderstandings, or interpersonal difficulties.
- Unstable Self-Image: People with personality disorders may have a distorted or unstable self-image, fluctuating between feelings of grandiosity and low self-esteem.
- Impulsivity: Impulsivity is a hallmark feature of many personality disorders, leading to reckless or risky behaviors such as substance abuse, reckless driving, overspending, or engaging in unsafe sexual practices.
- Emotional Dysregulation: Individuals with personality disorders may have difficulty regulating their emotions, experiencing intense and unstable mood swings, anger outbursts, or emotional overreactions to minor stressors.
- Fear of Abandonment: A pervasive fear of abandonment or rejection is common among individuals with personality disorders, leading to clingy or dependent behavior in relationships or frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
- Intense and Unstable Relationships: Individuals with personality disorders may have tumultuous and unstable relationships characterized by frequent breakups, idealization, devaluation, or patterns of love-hate dynamics.
- Chronic Feelings of Emptiness: Many individuals with personality disorders experience chronic feelings of emptiness, loneliness, or existential despair, which may drive impulsive or self-destructive behaviors in an attempt to alleviate emotional pain.
- Difficulty Trusting Others: Trust issues are common among individuals with personality disorders, leading to suspicion, paranoia, or a belief that others are out to harm or manipulate them.
- Difficulty with Identity: Individuals with personality disorders may struggle to establish a stable sense of identity, often adopting different roles or personas in different situations or feeling uncertain about their values, beliefs, or goals in life.
- Lack of Insight or Awareness: Some individuals with personality disorders may lack insight into their own behavior or the impact it has on others, making it challenging to recognize or acknowledge the need for help.
It’s important to note that experiencing one or more of these signs does not necessarily indicate a personality disorder, as many factors can contribute to these behaviors. However, if these symptoms persist over an extended period, significantly interfere with daily functioning, or cause distress or impairment, it may be indicative of a personality disorder. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a personality disorder, it’s essential to seek professional help from a mental health provider for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment.
Treatment of Personality Disorders
Treatment for a personality disorder will be determined by the specific disorder that is diagnosed. However, in most cases, treatment interventions will include some form of psychotherapy and medication:
- Psychotherapy. The primary purpose of psychotherapy in treating personality disorder is to help the individual learn to access coping skills, stress reduction techniques, and social skills to better manage the symptoms of the disorder. Psychotherapy can be provided in individual sessions or group sessions.
- Medication. There are a variety of psychotropic medications that can help mitigate symptoms of a personality disorder. These might include antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-anxiety medications, or mood stabilizers.
Residential and Outpatient Treatment for Personality Disorders
Contact Elevation Behavioral Health to learn more about available treatment programs and options. Call our Admissions Team at 888-561-0868.