What Are Personality Disorders?
A person afflicted with a Personality Disorder will have thoughts and feelings that deviate from the expectations of society. In turn, persistent alterations in thoughts and feelings can produce unusual patterns of behavior in Personality Disorders. There are a number of Personality Disorders that can produce a wide range of symptoms, and these conditions are usually chronic and persisting across the lifespan
A personality disorder will affect how an individual acts in day-to-day situations and also how he or she responds to the actions and reactions of others. Situations will be perceived in different ways, that often cause persistent difficulties in coping with life. This unhealthy way of looking at life creates a great deal of stress and can adversely affect how a person thinks about him or herself and will get along with others. Relationships, both personal and professional, can be hampered. Many times, a person with such a disorder does not even realize that there is a problem, as this longstanding way of thinking seems natural and normal to the individual and has become a way of life.
Types Of Personality Disorders
Four types of Personality Disorders will be discussed here.
With this disorder, a person will have trouble making healthy and lasting connections with other individuals due to impulsive tendencies and instability in relationships. Others may see someone with this particular disorder as intense and unpredictable. A person’s self-image, moods, behavior and emotions will be affected. The individual with this illness may experience powerful emotions and may injure him or herself in the context of intense fears or worries about abandonment.
Persons with this mental disorder will feel superior to others and relatively unconcerned about others’ feelings. There is a great need for admiration because the afflicted feels that he or she is deserving of being noticed and praised. Even though a person with this condition appears to be overly confident, there is a fragile sense of self-esteem lying just below the surface. The smallest criticism may be very hard to take and will easily damage an ego that is already in a delicate state.
This personality disorder is one of the most common. A person afflicted with this mental condition is unable to make decisions very well and feels the need to depend on others, to have someone take care of him or her. The individual will need frequent reassurance and will feel helpless and submissive to others. There will be a tendency to exhibit clinging behavior, and there will also be an intense fear of separation.
A person suffering with this disorder will be mistrustful of others and overly suspicious, even when there is no apparent reason for these feelings. There will be a need to constantly be on guard due to a fear of threats and harm being done. A person with this disorder feels that others always have ulterior motives. He or she will often appear cold and aloof due to a pervasive distrust of other individuals.
Symptoms Of Personality Disorders
There are distinct symptoms that will appear with the various types of Personality Disorders that are mentioned above:
- The individual may not have certainty about his or her identity and may suffer from a poor self-image.
- There may be suicidal thoughts, with attempts at committing suicide. Harmful acts may also be done to oneself, such as cutting or burning.
- Difficulty in developing relationships with others may occur.
- Impulsive acts are sometimes committed, such as driving recklessly, practicing unsafe sex or spending money well beyond a person’s means.
- Being overly suspicious of others and experiencing paranoia may be a part of this disorder.
- Mood swings may occur, accompanied by depression or irritability.
- An individual may have episodes of extreme anger and temper tantrums.
- This personality disorder often manifests itself with bouts of jealousy over others’ accomplishments or feeling that others are jealous.
- The individual will feel superior and may exaggerate and boast when talking about talents.
- There may be fantasies about power and success.
- The narcissistic person expects that praise is deserved and will be easily given.
- Goals will be set that are unrealistic.
- The feelings and emotions of others are often not considered.
- Due to a fragile ego, a person with this disorder will be easily hurt.
- There may be an inability to be alone for any length of time.
- Behavior will be very needy, with a tendency to cling to others and depend on others rather than making decisions and taking initiative for oneself.
- There is oversensitivity to criticism and a strong fear of rejection.
- A dependent person will agree with others rather than voice a differing opinion.
- There is a strong need for encouragement and approval.
- The end of a relationship will be very traumatic, and a new relationship will be started almost immediately.
- If left alone, a person with this disorder will feel helpless and unable to handle things.
- A person suffering from this mental illness will feel that others are out to harm him or her, and there is a fear of exploitation and deceit.
- Grudges will be held, and it will not be easy for a person with this disorder to forgive and forget.
- There will be a quick reaction when a paranoid person believes that there is an attack on his or her character. In most cases, the belief will be inaccurate but is perceived as realistic.
- Often, an innocent remark will not be seen that way and will be believed to have a hidden meaning.
- There is a great deal of distrust of other individuals, even regarding family and friends.
- This type of person will not easily confide in others, fearing that his or her confidences will be misplaced.
- There may be a fear that a spouse is being unfaithful, even without any evidence to back it up.
What May Cause Personality Disorders?
A combination of factors may cause a person to develop a Personality Disorder. It is believed that genes may play a part. Certain traits are passed from parents to children, and there may be a genetic tendency to develop aspects in a personality that could lead to a disorder.
The environment may also be a contributing factor. Individuals are greatly influenced by what happens in their early life surroundings, and life situations may increase the chance of the occurrence of a specific disorder. For example, the divorce of a young child’s parents could lead to feelings of abandonment and the later development of a Dependent Personality. Childhood abuse, either of a physical or verbal nature, may also scar a young person to the point where a disorder can manifest itself as the child matures.
Highly sensitive individuals have what researchers refer to as “high reactivity,” which increases the chance of specific personality traits related to worry and anxiety about the world.
Personality disorders can be treated in various ways so that an individual suffering with a specific illness can lead a more satisfying life.
Psychotherapy is extremely helpful for a person suffering with a personality disorder and is often the treatment of choice for persons with chronic thought and behavior problems. The individual has the opportunity to talk about emotions, thoughts and behavior patterns. He or she can learn about the condition and, when educated about what is going on, learn to effectively handle it. Therapy may also include ways to relax and deal with stressful situations. Unhealthy behavior can be identified, challenged, re-evaluated, and modified to more healthy patterns of behaving.
Certain medications may be prescribed to help with symptoms associated with Personality Disorders, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. A mood stabilizer will help with those situations where mood swings are present.
- Personality Disorder Residential Treatment
Residential treatment can be especially beneficial for individuals who are having a difficult time functioning in their normal environment. This treatment may be provided through a hospital or a residential treatment facility that is designed to handle clients with different forms of mental illness.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most common treatment for Personality Disorders?
Psychotherapy is most often used to help individuals who are diagnosed with Personality Disorders. Counseling can take place on an individual level and also through support groups. If a person has suspicious tendencies, support groups may not be as beneficial as working with a therapist on a one-to-one basis.
Can individuals with Personality Disorders be dangerous?
Depending on the disorder, some individuals will try to manipulate others to get their way. Some individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder will exhibit limited concern for the well-being and safety of other people. In other cases, there may also be suicidal thoughts and attempts, and acts of self-injury may be a part of specific disorders. It is important to get the proper treatment so that no harm will be done to oneself or anyone else.
Can a person have multiple Personality Disorders?
It is not uncommon for symptoms of one disorder to overlap symptoms of another. Some individuals may have symptoms that are associated with more than one Personality Disorder. A mental health professional can do a complete evaluation and properly diagnose the disorders that may be afflicting an individual so the appropriate treatments can be rendered.
What is the prognosis for treating Personality Disorders?
Individuals with Personality Disorders, when they seek proper treatment, will learn about their specific afflictions and how best to handle them. A disorder may persist throughout a person’s lifetime, but behaviors, moods, thoughts and emotions can be controlled through better understanding of the illness. Family members and friends can also help loved ones to deal with disorders by giving them support and guidance.
When do Personality Disorders most often begin?
Disorders can develop in childhood and continue into adolescence and adulthood. In order to properly diagnose a disorder, it is necessary for an individual to be at least 18 years of age. Prior to this age, it is believed that personality patterns are still developing and may fluctuate in response to life changes. If a Personality Disorder is suspected, it is important for the appropriate treatment to be provided in order to help bring healthy behavior back into a person’s life.
Can Bridges To Recovery Help Those With Personality Disorders?
Bridges to Recovery is a facility that provides Personality Disorder residential treatment. Individuals who are afflicted with various types of disorders will receive the help they need to understand and manage their feelings, thoughts, moods and behaviors. If there is any confusion as to the type of disorder that might be the problem, a complete evaluation will be provided by trained professionals so that the appropriate treatment can then take place.
A residential facility consists of a healing environment where the client will stay through his or her treatment and recovery and will only be discharged at the proper time. There will be individualized treatment options that will be unique to each client in order to meet his or her particular requirements. If support groups will be helpful, they will be provided as well.
Treatment consists of a thorough evaluation of the condition with appropriate forms of psychotherapy and counseling then being provided. Additional therapy options are also available, such as counseling in nutrition, art therapy, massage, exercise, meditation and acupuncture. A holistic approach has been found to be very beneficial to those who are troubled with personality disorders. By receiving personality disorder residential treatment, a client will obtain in-depth care in a nurturing atmosphere that will help recovery.
Personality disorders can be debilitating and severely hinder the enjoyment of life. Relationships suffer, and in severe cases there may even be the risk of injury to the afflicted person and others. It is crucial that appropriate treatment be rendered in order to bring healing and peace. Bridges to Recovery can provide that treatment.