Personality disorder is a psychological disorder characterized by unhealthy patterns of behaviour, thought or daily function. It also involves the behaviour that makes it difficult for an individual to succeed in interpersonal relationships. Personality defines well who we are as individuals. Our personality is a unique blend of traits, including attitude, behaviour, thoughts and perception. It also shows how we express these traits when we interact with others. Our personality traits also reflect our manners while communicating with others. These traits allow people to flexibly adapt to their changing environment that leads to the development of further healthy connections with others and better managing strategies.
People with less adaptive personality traits lead them to inflexibility and unhealthy coping. They find it difficult to trust and socialize with other people. Personality forms early in human life. It is shaped through a blend of our Genes and Environment. Our parents may pass down some personality traits to us and sometimes these traits are known as temperament. The environment includes our surroundings, events that have happened to us, relationships and patterns of interactions with our family members, friends and others. People diagnosed with personality disorder often find it hard to understand emotions and tolerate distress. They rarely adapted to a certain situation or environment. This makes it difficult for them to relate to others, causing serious issues and affecting their family life, social exertion, work and overall quality of life.
Who gets personality disorder?
Anyone can get a personality disorder, but different types of personality disorders affect people differently. Most personality disorders begin in the teen years when our personality further develops and matures. Almost all people diagnosed with personality disorders are above the age of 18. There’s no clear reason why some people develop the passions and behaviours associated with personality disorders and others don’t. Researchers believe that a mix of factors seems to increase the risk of developing these experiences including environment and social circumstances. According to DSM-5, features of a personality disorder usually begin during adolescence and early adulthood. In earlier versions of the DSM, a personality disorder could not be diagnosed under age 18, however, DSM-5 allows now this diagnosis if the features have been present for at least one year.
Types of personality disorder
Paranoid personality disorder and Schizoid personality disorder:
A person having paranoid personality disorder is extremely suspicious and distrustful and, always thinks that other people are lying to them. They cannot trust their friends and family members. They worry that their spouse or partner is unfaithful, despite a lack of evidence. A person with having schizoid personality may appear cold and detached. They usually avoid making close social contact with others. They have less or no desire to form close relationships, have limited ability to experience pleasure and joy and, remain uninterested always.
Schizotypal personality disorder and Antisocial personality disorder:
A person having schizotypal personality disorder has poor social skills. They witness inordinate anxiety in social situations, even if they have known a particular person or group of people for a long time. They also have delusional thoughts and behave in unusual ways. A person having an antisocial personality disorder sees other people as vulnerable. This means they may bully others without remorse. They have a lack of concern about other people’s distress and, have little ability to tolerate frustration and control their anger. They always blame others for their own problems in life.
Borderline personality disorder and Histrionic personality disorder:
A person having borderline personality disorder is emotionally unstable and has very intense relationships with others. They impulses to self-harm. A person having histrionic personality disorder is anxious about being ignored. They feel an inviting appetite to be noticed and, have the urge to be the centre of everyone’s attention. They display excessive emotions to everyone, yet they lack real emotional sincerity and, move quickly from one emotional state to another. Usually, they don’t care much about people and are mostly self-centred.
Narcissistic personality disorder and Avoidant personality disorder:
A person having narcissistic personality disorder swings between two things i.e.; seeing themselves as special and fearing they are worthless. They may act as they have an inflated sense of their own importance. They exaggerate their achievements and abilities and, lack empathy for other people’s weaknesses. A person having avoidant personality disorder appears shy and is socially inhibited. They feel inadequate and are extremely sensitive to rejection.
Dependent personality disorder:
A person having dependent personality disorder feels like they can’t be independent. They show an inordinate need for others to look after them. They find it difficult to make decisions without others’ guidance and, are not suitable to express disagreement with others. When they are alone, they feel helpless and uncomfortable. They feel a critical need to make new connections when one comes to an end.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder:
A person having obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is anxious about issues that seem out of control or messy. They have an excessive interest in making lists, timetables and rules, and perfectly focus on completing a task that they struggle to finish. They have rigid views about issues like morality, ethics and how a person should behave.
Signs and symptoms of personality disorder
Symptoms depend on the type of personality disorder discussed above, but many symptoms of different personality disorders overlap. Common signs include strange or unpredictable behaviour of an individual. People have extreme mood swings and emotional outbursts. They feel difficulty in maintaining relationships and face problems at the workplace. Numerous people have some of these traits, but they do not fit the opinion of personality disorder. Personality disorders tend to start in nonage but the studies and behaviours come more forcefully fixed in the majority. They might not be apprehensive that they have a problem. They find it hard to seek help. Caring for someone with a personality disorder can significantly impact family and friends, leading them to be the ones seeking help.
What causes personality disorders?
We do not fully understand the causes of personality disorders. One’s personality forms in childhood, primarily resulting from a combination of inherent traits and the early childhood environment. The development of personality disorders involves the involvement of many genes. A person having a secure bond or attachment with a parent gives a positive terrain for their personality to develop in a healthy way. On the other hand, an individual having trauma, negligence or childhood abuse has higher rates of developing personality disorders. Negative life experiences and hereditary factors may combine in a complex manner to allow the occurrence of personality disorders.
Unstable family life during nonage can have a negative effect on personality development.
How are personality disorders diagnosed?
Doctors usually do a physical examination and ask questions about the person’s symptoms or any recent major life events. They will also ask about once internal health issues, family background, connections, medical history and any medicine or alcohol problems. For further assessment, they relate to a psychiatrist or psychologist. It can take some time to diagnose a personality in an individual.
How are personality disorders treated?
It can be difficult for someone with a mental health issue to learn to trust a doctor or therapist. However, establishing a positive relationship with a mental health professional is an important step towards recovery. Treatment usually depends on the type of personality disorder or any other conditions the person may have. Psychotherapy is the most effective long-term treatment option for personality disorders. A mental health professional helps an individual to understand their studies, provocations and passions. This knowledge can help people to know their symptoms and make positive behaviour changes. Different therapies provided to the clients are Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy and psychoeducation.