Personality-disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions in which a person’s long-term (chronic) behaviours/emotions/thoughts are very different from their culture’s expectations and can cause serious problems with relationships/work.
In Europe, it is estimated that around one in every twenty people have a personality-disorder. However, many people have only mild conditions so only need help at times of stress (such as a bereavement)and anxiety. Other people with more moderate conditions may need specialist help for longer periods.
The causes of personality-disorders are unknown however, many genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role.
Symptoms vary widely depending on the type of personality-disorder.
In general, personality-disorders involve feelings/thoughts, and behaviours that do not adapt to a wide range of settings.
These patterns usually begin in adolescence and may lead to problems in social/work situations.
These people often appear strange/peculiar to others.
Individual generally tends to interpret the actions of others as threatening.
Individual generally detached from social relationships and shows a narrow range of emotional expression in various social settings.
Individual is uncomfortable in close relationships, has thought/perceptual distortions, and peculiarities of behaviour.
These people have intense emotional mood swings and distorted perceptions of themselves and impulsive behaviours.
Individual shows a pervasive disregard for, and violation of, the rights of others.
Individual shows a generalised pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and observable emotions, and significant impulsiveness.
Individual often displays excessive emotions and are attention seeking in various contexts. He/she tend to over-react to other people, and are often perceived as shallow/self-centred.
Individuals have a grandiose view of themselves, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood furthermore, these individuals are very demanding in their relationships.
These people are often fearful and anxious of one or many things.
Individual is socially inhibited, feels inadequate, and is oversensitive to criticism.
Individual shows an extreme need to be taken care of that leads to fears of separation, and passive/clinging behaviour.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality-Disorder (OCD).
Individual is preoccupied with orderliness/perfectionism, and control at the expense of flexibility/openness, and efficiency.
Initially, individuals with these disorders usually do not seek treatment on their own. They tend to seek help once their behaviour has caused severe problems in their relationships/work, or when they are diagnosed with another psychiatric problem.
Although personality-disorders take time to treat, there is increasing evidence that certain forms of talk therapy can help many people.
The outlook varies. Some personality-disorders go away during middle age without any treatment, whereas, others may only improve slowly throughout life, even with treatment.
Personality-disorders are often difficult to treat and may require long-term attention to change the inappropriate behaviour and thought patterns. Most personality-disorders can be successfully treated with a course of psychotherapy and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), this form of therapy has helped countless of people.
Most people recover from personality-disorders with time and proper treatment with a competent therapist nevertheless, this depends on the severity of the disorder and whether there are other ongoing problems such as, stress//anxiety.
It is important to get the right therapy.
© 2012 – 2015, Content: Dr Vasilios Silivistris – Artwork: Ian Francis. All rights reserved.