What is personality disorders?


Know the basics

What is personality disorders?

Personality disorders refer to a group of metal disorders that affect how you think, feel and behave. Personality refers to a distinctive set of traits, behavior styles, and patterns that make up our character or individuality. It can affect how we perceive the world, our attitudes, thoughts, and feelings.

Personality disorders can cause difficulty in socializing even with family and friends. It is hard for them to find what are considered normal behavior and what are not.

Personality disorders can be grouped into small groups that have somewhat the same behavior:

  • Cluster A: schizoid personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.
  • Cluster B: antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
  • Cluster C: avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

How common is personality disorders?

This health condition is common. It commonly affects more females than males. It can affect patients at any age. Personality disorders typically emerge in adolescence and continue into adulthood. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of personality disorders?

The common symptoms of personality disorders are:

  • Being overwhelmed by negative feelings such as distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger;
  • Avoiding other people and feeling empty and emotionally disconnected;
  • Difficulty managing negative feelings without self-harming (for example, abusing drugs and alcohol, or taking overdoses) or, in rare cases, threatening other people;
  • Odd behavior;
  • Difficulty maintaining stable and close relationships, especially with partners, children and professional care-givers;
  • Sometimes, periods of losing contact with reality.

Depending on which disorder you have and which cluster they fall to, the symptoms might be different:

  • A person with a cluster A personality disorder tends to have difficulty relating to others and usually shows patterns of behavior most people would regard as odd and eccentric.
  • Someone with a cluster B personality disorder struggles to relate to others. As a result, they show patterns of behavior most would regard as dramatic, erratic and threatening or disturbing.
  • Someone with a cluster C personality disorder fears personal relationships and shows patterns of anxious and fearful behavior around other people. Others may be withdrawn and reluctant to socialize.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes personality disorders?

There are many causes of personality disorders. It could develop from a trauma or dramatic event that happened in your life. Some scientists suggest it might have to do with brain chemical imbalance, and that environmental effects only trigger the changes in personality. Personality disorders may also be associated with genetic and family factors. Experiences of distress or fear during childhood can increase the risks of personality disorders.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for personality disorders?

There are many risk factors for personality disorders, such as:

  • Having been in a traumatic event;
  • Having a difficult childhood, such as abuse or neglect;
  • Having a brain injury.
  • Genetic factors.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is personality disorders diagnosed?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) is a common reference that mental professionals use to help determine mental health problems. Your doctor will interview you and your family to know your behavior and compare that to the criteria for each type of disorder. They will also ask about any recent event that is important to you or impact you emotionally. Your medical history and living environment will also be taken into account to diagnose.

In some cases, your primary care or mental health provider may perform blood tests or screening test for alcohol and drugs to determine the possible causes.

How is personality disorders treated?

Treatment will depend on the disorder you have, but generally, there are a few treatment methods they have in common:

  • Psychotherapy: There are many types of therapy (talk therapy, light therapy, group therapy, etc.) to help you cope with your emotions and learn how to control them.
  • Medications: There aren’t any drugs approved for the treatment of personality disorders. Some medications might help to regain balance in hormone and brain chemicals, including:
  • Antidepressants, which can help improve a depressed mood, anger, or impulsivity.
  • Mood stabilizers, which prevent mood swings and reduce irritability and aggression.
  • Antipsychotic medications, also known as neuroleptics, which may be beneficial for people who often lose touch with reality.
  • Anti-anxiety medications, which help relieve anxiety, agitation, and insomnia.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage personality disorders?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with personality disorders:

  • Taking your medication as prescribed by your doctor;
  • Communicate with your family and friends about your condition, this will help them understand you more; you need their support a lot in treatment therapies.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

msBahasa Malaysia

Review Date: December 17, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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