Personality Disorders – Causes, Symptoms by Type, Treatment
A personality disorder (the obsolete term is psychopathy) is a mental disorder, which is characterized by unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior.
A person suffering from a personality disorder faces difficulties with perception and attitude towards different situations and other people. It leads to serious violations and problems with communication.
In some cases, people have no idea that they may suffer from personality disorders since they consider their patterns of behavior and thinking normal. Some people tend to blame others for their problems.
Personality disorders usually occur in adolescence or in adulthood. There are many personality disorders. Some of them are hard to define.
What causes personality disorders?
There are many factors that may lead to the development of personality disorders. The major ones include innate and hereditary features, medical history, nurture, education, family relationships, environment, and different life situations. We can say that a personality disorder is formed during childhood and remains for the rest of a person’s life. It determines his thinking, ideology, values of life, the circle of interests. A person often does not consider his condition abnormal because he is used to behaving in this way. In many cases, personality disorders lead to problems with other people at work. Rude people have few friends, they are not able to cope with their responsibilities. In rare cases, a personality disorder makes a person responsible as a result he becomes successful.
Symptoms of personality disorders by type
Paranoid personality disorder
- People with this personality disorder do not trust others and always suspect something.
- They are convinced that others want to harm or deceive them.
- They consider others unfaithful and unreliable.
- They do not want to share secrets with others because of irrational fear that this information will be used against them.
- They perceive innocent words as personal insults and attacks.
- They are hostile when hearing insults.
- They tend to revenge.
- They believe that their sexual partners are liars and unfaithful.
- People with this personality disorder are not interested in social or personal relationships, they prefer loneliness.
- They do not tend to express their emotions.
- They are not able to experience pleasure in activities.
- They do not understand common hints.
- They show that they are cold and indifferent to others.
- They are not interested in having sex.
Schizotypal personality disorder
- People with this disorder have an unusual manner of dress, thinking, behavior, communication or odd beliefs.
- They may hear that someone whispers their names.
- They may react in an inappropriate way.
- They experience social anxiety, the lack of or discomfort with close relationships.
- They are indifferent to others.
- They believe that they have “magical thinking” – they are able to influence people and events with their thoughts.
- They believe that some events and situations convey hidden messages made especially for them because they are chosen.
Antisocial personality disorder
- People suffering from this personality disorder ignore needs and feelings of others.
- They tend to deceive, steal, insult and manipulate.
- They have constant problems with the law.
- They violate rights of others.
- They behave aggressively.
- They do not care the safety of other people.
- Impulsive behavior is common.
- They are irresponsible.
- They do not consider themselves guilty.
- People with this personality disorder are dangerous to others.
- They do not understand who they are.
- They have unstable relations.
- Mood swings because of interpersonal stress.
- They tend to harm themselves and commit suicides.
- They fear loneliness and abandonment.
- They always feel empty.
- They often show their anger.
- They experience paranoia because of stress.
Histrionic personality disorder
- People want to be noticed by others.
- They express their emotions and use sexually provocative ways in order to gain people’s attention.
- They have a dramatic manner of speech with loud words but there are no facts and details.
- It is easy for others to manipulate them.
- Their emotions change very quickly.
- They pay a lot of attention to their appearance.
- They believe that they have a close relationship with someone but they actually don’t have.
Narcissistic personality disorder
- People with this disorder believe that they are unique and better than others.
- They are constantly thinking about power, success, beauty.
- They are not able to consider others’ feelings and needs.
- They usually exaggerate their abilities and talents.
- They want others to praise and worship them.
- They are arrogant.
- They wait that someone will help them.
- They are envious or they believe that others envy.
Avoidant personality disorder
- They go through criticism and rejections painfully.
- They feel wrong, ugly and imperfect.
- They avoid activities requiring interpersonal interaction.
- They are detached.
- They are shy and timid.
- They fear disapproval, judgments, and insults.
Dependent personality disorder
- People suffering from this disorder are dependent on others and need constant support.
- They tend to obey or impose themselves.
- They fear loneliness.
- They experience the lack of confidence, they need pieces of advice from other people.
- They have trouble when start working or continue working alone because they believe they are not capable to do
- They fear to express their
- They accept cruel attitudes from others even if they are able to defend themselves.
- After a breakup, they try to find another partner as soon as possible.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
- People with this disorder pay too much attention to details, instructions, rules.
- They want to be perfect and they suffer a lot if they are not able to become ideal.
- They want to control everything.
- They prefer working to building relationships.
- They can not throw away broken or useless items.
- They are obstinate.
Do not confuse obsessive-compulsive personality disorder with obsessive-compulsive disorder (a variety of anxiety disorder).
When should you seek professional help?
If you have signs and symptoms of any personality disorder, go to a doctor, psychologist or another specialist. An untreated personality disorder may cause difficulties in life and get worse.
What should I do if someone has a personality disorder?
Communication with people suffering from personality disorders requires certain tactfulness. It is necessary to behave in an appropriate way in order to avoid conflicts and stressful situations. It is possible to coexist with such people peacefully but it is necessary to make efforts.
When we are dealing with personality disorders, psychotherapy should be carried out, which is selected individually, depending on the type of personality disorders. First, a person deals with a doctor, then group therapy is used. Medications are prescribed in severe cases. After treatment, rehabilitation is important: it is necessary to choose the right workplace with the appropriate team.
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By Maria Shevtsova
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist. Taking action in support groups organization and social adaptation of the people with mental disorders. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the undepress.net project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who want to get their life back or help someone dear, who got into mental trap.
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