What Are Personality Disorders?
Personality disorders are a group of mental illnesses. They are characterized by long-term patterns of unhealthy and inflexible thoughts and behaviors. These disorders can cause significant problems in the person’s work, relationships, schooling and daily functioning. Typically, people with personality disorders struggle to deal with stress. They often have unstable relationships filled with drama and intense emotions. Genetics and childhood trauma are believed to contribute to the development of personality disorders, but research is still searching for exact causes. Children are rarely diagnosed with personality disorders as their personalities continue to develop as they age. Approximately 1.4% to 9.1% of American adults have personality disorders. It is common for these individuals to have related disorders such as depression or substance abuse issues, too.
Subtypes of Personality Disorders
- Paranoid Personality Disorder
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- pervasive distrust or suspicion of others
- hostile reaction to perceived slights
- lack of interest in personal relationships; prefers to be alone
- “magical thinking” – believing you can influence people or events with your thoughts
- disregard for the safety of self or others
- unstable and intense relationships
- constantly seeking attention
- fantasies about power and attractiveness
Diagnosis and Treatment
Personality disorders are typically diagnosed by mental health professionals such as psychiatrists or psychologists. It is important to see a trained professional with experience in these disorders as they can mimic other types of psychiatric conditions. Each type of personality disorder has its own diagnostic criteria. In general, however, people who experience these disorders have difficulty in how they perceive themselves and others, how well they function in relationships, and the extent to which they can control their impulses.
Treatment can be complicated, too, due to a unique aspect of personality disorders. Many individuals with these diagnoses perceive their way of thinking and behaving as normal. They often blame others for the discord in their lives so it may not occur to them that there is anything they need to do to get healthier.
We are here to help you find a specialist to meet your needs. Click the button below to see a listing of our providers.
At CRG we offer a variety of webinars, events and articles that will help you find the information you need. Click the button below for a complete listing of related resources.