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What is a Personality Disorder

What is a Personality Disorder

what is a personality disorder

What is a Personality Disorder

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder characterised by persistent patterns of thought, behaviour, and emotional expression that deviate significantly from cultural and societal norms. People with personality disorders may experience difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships, managing their emotions, and functioning in everyday life.

There are several types of personality disorders, each with its own specific set of symptoms and diagnostic criteria.

Some common types of personality disorders include:

  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD): characterised by instability in mood, self-image, and relationships, as well as impulsive behaviour and self-destructive tendencies
  • Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD): characterised by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others
  • Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD): characterised by a disregard for the rights and feelings of others, a lack of remorse or guilt, and a tendency towards impulsive and aggressive behaviour
  • Avoidant personality disorder: characterised by social anxiety, feelings of inadequacy, and a strong desire for social acceptance and approval
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD): characterised by a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control, often at the expense of flexibility and spontaneity

Personality disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat, as they often involve deeply ingrained patterns of behaviour and thought. Treatment may involve therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Therapy may include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), or other forms of psychotherapy aimed at helping individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns and behaviours, improve interpersonal relationships, and develop coping skills. Medications may be used to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions that may co-occur with personality disorders.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a personality disorder

it is important to seek help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional. With the right treatment and support, individuals with personality disorders can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Personality Disorder. A “personality” is the collection of ways that we think, feel and behave that makes each of us an individual. Most of the time, our personality allows us to get on reasonably well with other people but for some of us, this isn’t true. If you have a personality disorder, parts of your personality make it hard for you to live with yourself and/or other people. You don’t learn from experience how to change the unhelpful parts of yourself For whatever reason, parts of our personality develop in a way that makes it difficult for us to live with ourselves and/or other people.

It can be difficult to learn from experience and to change those traits – the unhelpful ways of thinking, feeling and behaving – that cause the problems. Unlike the changes in personality that can be caused by traumatic events, or an injury to the brain, these traits will usually have been noticeable from childhood or early teens.

An individual may have a personality disorder if they find it difficult to:

  • make or keep relationships
  • get on with people at work or with friends and family
  • keep out of trouble
  • control your feelings or behaviour.
  • Or, they are unhappy or distressed and/or find that they upset or harm other people. 

Research has shown that personality disorders tend to fall into three groups, according to their emotional ‘flavour’:

  • Cluster A: ‘Suspicious’
  • Cluster B: ‘Emotional and impulsive’
  • Cluster C: ‘Anxious’

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