All about Personality Disorders
What are Personality Disorders?
Everyone has a unique personality and we are all different in our ability to cope and manage the stressful situations in our lives. If you have a healthy personality, you are able to deal with life’s stresses and challenges with relative ease; you are flexible, you can cope with change and distraction and you form strong social relationships.
Having a personality disorder does not mean that your personality is flawed or that you are a bad person. Having a personality disorder means that you do have a different way of thinking and behaving that is outside of what is considered normal. Personality disorders are a diagnosis given to help explain and categorise the different ways of thinking that are rigid and unhealthy to yourself and your social relationships.
If you have personality disorder, you can tend to be rigid in your thinking and see your ideas and ways of thinking as the only approach to something. If you have a personality disorder, you may also find it challenging to develop strong social relationships, even with close family, and you may form few relationships with others. Some studies suggest that up to 10% of adults have a personality disorder.
There are several different types of personality disorders which are grouped into three categories:
If you have an odd or eccentric personality disorder such as schizoid, paranoid or schizotypal personality disorder you are likely to be withdrawn, have unusual ways of dressing or thinking, be untrusting of others and/or uninterested in other people and developing relationships with them
If you have a dramatic, emotional or erratic personality disorder such as antisocial, borderline, or narcissistic personality disorder you are likely to disregard social norms and laws, be antisocial, have abrupt and extreme mood changes or be narcissistic with an exaggerated sense of self-importance
If you have an anxious or fearful personality disorder such as avoidant, dependent or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder you are likely to avoid or depend excessively on others and/or engage in obsessive and compulsive behaviour.
To be consider as having a personality disorder, this way of thinking and behaving needs to be stable, persistent and present for a long duration, generally since childhood or adolescence.
What causes personality disorders?
People with personality disorders do not choose to think or behave the way that they do and they are not responsible for developing the disorder. Personality disorders are complex and both genetics and environmental factors, particularly early childhood experiences are expected to have a role in the development of personality disorders. Which is most important or which factors are the most likely to contribute to the development of a personality disorder is not clear. Personality disorders are long standing and often begin in childhood and continue into adulthood.
Some risks factors that may contribute to the development of personality disorders include:
Trauma during childhood such as physical, sexual abuse, neglect, unstable family environment or loss of parents. Even excessive verbal abuse has been linked to some types of personality disorders
Genetics including the possible malfunctioning of specific genes
Physical brain abnormalities
High reactivity to external stimuli such as light or noise
Recovery from a personality disorder
If you or a family member or friend is suffering from a personality disorder, you and/or they may be feeling confused or upset. You may also feel that you are alone. Personality disorders can be difficult to diagnose so it is important that you or your family member/friend talks to a professional.
Psychotherapy is the main way that personality disorders are treated. This will help you further understand your disorder, how you think, feel and behave and how this impacts the social relationships around you. Although there are no specific medications for personality disorders, medications are sometimes used as part of the treatment of personality disorders to help alleviate some of your associated symptoms such as depression, mood swings, anxiety or psychotic episodes. In some cases your thinking and behaviour may require constant monitoring, particularly if you cannot care for yourself or you are at high risk of hurting yourself or someone else and you may need hospitalisation.
If you or someone you know believe they are struggling with a personality disorder Select Counsellors can help you find a counsellor who specialises in trauma and is the best fit for you.
It’s good to know that personality disorders can be managed. Did you realise research has shown that the relationship between you and your counsellor is one of the most important elements for a successful outcome? How do you know if the counsellor you find will be the best fit for you?
Select Counsellors provides a unique client counsellor matching service to ensure you see the right counsellor for you, first time. We have a pool of highly trained Sydney based counsellors, psychologists, psychotherapists and psychiatrists and will match you with the right therapist based on important information collected in a personalised assessment about you and your needs. To book an assessment click here or call on 1300 123 680 to speak in person with a Select Counsellor.
Click on the links below to find out more information on personality disorders:
The Helpful Guide