How to Understand Personality Disorders

Опубликовал Admin
22-05-2018, 11:00
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Each person thinks, behaves and reacts differently in various situations. Personality is formed based on a variety of factors, including upbringing, genetic influences, a person's environment and his or her life experiences. Having a personality disorder is the result of thinking, acting or believing differently than what is considered normal in society.

Realizing the Cause of Personality Disorders

  1. Start by understanding how a personality disorder develops. Personality disorders often originate in childhood, from a misguided belief that manifests itself in adolescence. It involves long term behaviour patterns and personal experiences that significantly differ when compared to what is expected.
    • The result is an adult who has difficulty with personal relationships, trouble coping with certain situations, and the inability to adjust to change.
  2. Learn the role that genetics play. Research has discovered that there are traits passed genetically that can be linked to disorders such as anxiety, aggression and fear.
  3. Grasp the negative effects of verbal abuse. A study involving 793 mothers and their children saw that children subjected to verbal abuse were three times more likely to suffer from a personality disorder. These personality disorders, including narcissism, paranoia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, could often be found to follow the children into adulthood.
    • It is worth noting that the influence of strong relationships with friends, a teacher or a family member can help to neutralize some of the damaging effects.
  4. Accept the part that childhood trauma plays. A major study performed jointly at a number of highly regarded US universities, called the Collaborative Longitudinal Personality Disorders Study, studied the role childhood trauma plays in developing a personality disorder.
    • One study showed a link between the type and frequency of trauma to a relative personality disorder. One such example is children who experienced sexual trauma were more likely to develop borderline personality disorder.
  5. Appreciate that hypersensitivity can be a signal. Children who are overly sensitive to such stimuli as noise, light, and touch, for example can become withdrawn, nervous or fearful. While approximately 20 percent of infants are considered highly reactive, personality disorders occur in less than 10 percent of these cases. This makes the role of hypersensitivity in these situations far from straightforward.

Recognizing the Attributes of Personality Disorders

  1. Understand the defining features of personality disorders. The four core features both define and are prevalent in each of the ten personality disorders. These features are:
    • Distorted thinking patterns
    • Difficulty with impulse control
    • Interpersonal difficulties
    • Questionable emotional responses
  2. Appreciate how a diagnosis is achieved. Prior to diagnosis, a person must demonstrate noteworthy and prolonged instances of a behaviour disorder in at least two of the four of the above features.
  3. Recognize the difference between mental illness and a personality disorder. It is worth noting that there are distinct differences between a mental illness and a personality disorder. The terms are ‘’not’’ interchangeable.
    • Mental illness involves extreme character traits that can develop in a relatively short time. As well, mental illness is a medical condition, and is as serious as any physical illness.
    • Personality disorders involve more moderate change in character traits. Where mental illness evolves quickly, personality disorders are formed by lifelong patterns and cannot be compared to an illness of a physical nature.

Determining How Personality Disorders are Categorized

  1. Understand how personality disorders are classified. There are three categories, known as ‘’clusters’’, that divide the 10 specific types of personality disorders. These categories are based on the symptoms and shared characteristics of each disorder.
    • Cluster A consists of behavior that is considered odd, paranoid or eccentric.
    • Cluster B disorders include emotional, unpredictable or dramatic behavioral disorders.
    • Cluster C is comprised of disorders causing anxiety or fear.
  2. Realize that being diagnosed with more than one personality disorder is common. While a patient may present with significant symptoms of one particular disorder, it is not uncommon for a secondary or multiple disorders within the same ‘’cluster’’ to occur.

Defining ‘’Cluster’’ Personality Disorders

  1. Recognize the disorders associated with ‘’Cluster A’’ Personality Disorder.
    • ’’’Paranoid personality disorder’’’ involves difficulty with trusting and confiding in others. The paranoid person will hold an unreasonable fear of being taken advantage of. As well, they perceive threats and danger in many everyday situations. A paranoid person fears being betrayed or treated with hostility.
    • ’’’Schizoid personality disorder’’’ patients prefer a solitary existence and show little emotion. There will be very little interest in seeking close personal relationships and tend to show indifference to any sort of outside criticism or praise.
    • Those suffering ‘’’schizotypal personality disorder’’’ come across as eccentric, with distorted thinking patterns and perceptions. They display extreme discomfort in close relationships and may often exhibit a belief that they can read minds or have a sixth sense in particular situations.
  2. Recognize the disorders associated with ‘’Cluster B’’ Personality Disorder:
    • A person with ’’’antisocial personality disorder’’’ can often put themselves or others in risky, even dangerous situations, without realizing the consequences of their actions. This person may repeatedly lie, deceive or act impulsively, as they do not understand how to act or conform to normal social situations. Antisocial personality disorder is typically not given as a diagnosis unless the patient is at least 18 years of age.
    • ’’’Borderline personality disorder’’’ involves very intense and impulsive feelings. A person suffering this condition can have emotions that range from fear of abandonment, anger and suicide to confident and very happy just a few hours or days later. Feelings of chronic sadness and loneliness, along with the inability to make or keep stable relationships, are all a part of this very serious condition.
      • In very stressful situations, feelings of paranoia, numbness and difficulty with memory can occur. Also, experiencing psychoses including seeing or hearing things that are not there have been known to occur.
    • ’’’Histrionic personality disorder’’’ is a condition where one craves attention and shows excessive emotion. When they are not the center of attention, a person with histrionic personality disorder will take necessary measures to draw attention to themselves. They feel the need to entertain those around them. At the same time, this person is easily influenced and dependent on the opinion and approval of others.
    • A person with ’’’narcissistic personality disorder’’’ believes they are special. They believe they are better than others, making for a delicate self-esteem and noticeable lack of empathy. This person will expect to get their way and will be quite upset if ignored or slighted. They will resent the successes of others, causing them to be viewed as selfish and demanding. As well, this person is not above taking advantage of people or situations.
  3. Recognize the disorders associated with ‘’Cluster C’’ Personality Disorder:
    • ’’’Avoidant personality disorder’’’ involves a great level of anxiety. This person expects the worst, worrying about disappointing others or embarrassing themselves. They isolate themselves from employment or activities where they must be around others. They avoid personal and social relationships for fear of rejection or ridicule; they tend to live a very lonely life.
    • ’’’Dependent personality disorder’’’ describes a person who is very needy. People with dependent personalities like to be cared for, behaving submissively and appearing quite clingy. Making daily life decisions and being alone cause such a type of person to feel uncomfortable and helpless. This is due to their fear of being unable to care for him/herself.
    • A person with ’’’obsessive-compulsive ‘’personality’’ disorder’’’ finds the need for everything to be orderly and controlled. While this person expects a catastrophe if things are not perfect, they set unreasonably high goals and standards for themselves and others. They are quite frugal in their spending habits and worry tirelessly about making mistakes. Their leisure activities and friendships tend to suffer as a result.
      • ‘’’Obsessive-compulsive ‘’personality’’ disorder is ‘’not’’ the same as obsessive compulsive disorder.’’’ Never confuse the two. People with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder think these behaviors are perfectly fine and strengthen a sense of control, but those with obsessive-compulsive disorder don't want to engage in the behaviors and see them as harmful, but they find it their only way out.

Living with a Personality Disorder

  1. Seek and form a support system. Never forget that it ‘’’is’’’ possible to lead a full and happy life. Having the support of family, loved ones, and close friends is sometimes all a person needs. Others may find it important to create routine and a systematic schedule to feel comfortable and in control.
  2. Get involved with outside resources. Such resources include self-help groups and group therapy sessions. For some people suffering from a personality disorder, being with others who are suffering similar issues can help them to feel free to be open and honest.
  3. Learn the importance of your medical team. There is a variety of therapies that have show success in dealing with personality disorders.
    • One such therapy is Cognitive Therapy, and forms of this therapy, which work to change negative or detrimental thinking patterns.
    • Transference Focused Therapy involves exploring and changing unconscious thought processes with a therapist.
    • Mentalization is performed individually or as a part of group therapy. It explores how a patient thinks, as well as thought patterns of others.
  4. Accept that medication will likely be a part of therapy. Symptoms for various disorders can be controlled or alleviated by a regiment of drug therapy.
    • One of the hurdles that some patients need to overcome is the stigma that they feel is attached to taking medication. It is important to realize that doing what it takes to live a happy life is worth it in the grand scheme of things.
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