What Are They?
Personality disorders are a class of mental conditions where an individual’s personality severely differs from others in society. Individuals with a personality disorder may perceive, think, feel and relate differently from the average person. This can have a huge impact on them and can make socialising and spending time with others incredibly difficult.
Personality disorders may start in childhood but become more noticeable in adolescence and adulthood. Relationships and friendships may be difficult to maintain and living with a personality disorder can be very isolating and lonely. However, help is available to teach individuals coping strategies to help integrate them into social settings, as well as to help them understand people thus promoting better relationships.
What Causes Them?
There is no clear cause of personality disorders but it has been suggested that there may be a combination of factors such as childhood trauma, other mental disorders, differing brain structures and in how the chemicals in the brain work, upbringing, genetics, and family circumstances.
Long-term psychological therapy is required in the treatment of personality disorders. An integrative approach is often adopted in the treatment of personality disorders and structured care. A range of therapies may be used to help individuals regulate their thoughts and emotions. Group therapy is used so individuals can develop a better understanding of social relationships. Dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) can teach individual’s ways of helping them change unhelpful ways of thinking. Strategies can be taught to help individuals adjust their behaviour and attitudes helping them to resolve problems. Psychodynamic psychotherapy may be used to look at an individual’s early childhood experiences which influence thoughts, beliefs and behaviours. This is used particularly with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is important that consistency and reliability are maintained with the therapist during treatment.
Medication may be prescribed by your GP for other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety but no specific medication is prescribed for personality disorders.