Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders characterized by pervasive patterns and behaviors that can impair the functioning of any individual afflicted with the illness. There are a wide range of different personality disorders and each one affects a person with particular symptoms and behaviors. Each disorder causes the person to behave in a way that is markedly different from cultural expectations across many situations. The patterns of behavior and inability to change can cause significant distress and make it hard for people to maintain jobs and healthy relationships. Many people are not aware they have a personality disorder until they are diagnosed as an adult. Treatment can be necessary when the disorder begins to impair their ability to function in their daily lives.
Types of Personality Disorders and Symptoms
There are a number of different kinds of personality disorders but the most common in the U.S. are obsessive-compulsive, narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. Other categories include antisocial, paranoid and schizoid personality disorders which can all severely interfere with a person’s ability to function socially. The specific symptoms and behaviors can vary for each disorder but every person with a personality disorder will exhibit patterns that are considered abnormal by average standards. People with disorders like an obsessive-compulsive personality have a constant preoccupation with maintaining a level of perfectionism and rigid organization that can affect their interpersonal functioning and cause them problems in many areas of their life. Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an exaggerated sense of importance and entitlement that can affect their ability to maintain social relationships. Disorders like borderline personality involve emotional instability, sometimes resulting in violence, anger and impulsive behavior. Every type of personality disorder has its unique challenges and can make it very difficult for a person to lead a normal and healthy life.
Improving Behavior and Interpersonal Skills
The causes of personality disorders may vary but abuse, trauma or negative childhood experiences can be factors in many of the symptoms. Individual therapy sessions can help treat many of the emotional issues that result from having a personality disorder. Patients can learn to deal with their anger or depression in healthier ways that can improve their relationships with others. Cognitive behavioral therapy can be instrumental in changing some of the patterns that affect a person’s interpersonal functioning and social skills. Treatment for personality disorders may combine individual and group therapy to improve a patient’s ability to connect with others and interact in more appropriate ways. With adequate treatment, someone with one of these illnesses can learn to become more functional and carry out their daily routine with much less distress.
Because personality disorders can make life quite difficult and complex, people may begin to self-medicate through the use of drugs or alcohol. At our treatment centers we can provide help for a personality disorder and any substance abuse problem that may be associated with it. Dr. Paul’s By The Sea can offer effective solutions through therapy that treat both the symptoms of the disorder and addiction. Treating mental health problems like personality disorders can significantly improve a person’s sense of happiness and well-being. Time at a treatment center can improve a patient’s behavior and thought patterns to reduce their symptoms and help them manage their personality disorder more effectively.