Personality disorders are mental illnesses characterized by inflexible thought and behavior patterns, difficulty adapting to change, and conflict with self and others. These patterns lead to significant distress and impaired functioning at home, work or school and in relationships.
Personality disorders exist on a continuum so they can be mild to more severe in terms of how pervasive they are and to what extent a person exhibits the features of a particular personality disorder. While most people can live pretty normal lives with mild personality disorders (or more simply, personality traits), during times of increased stress or external pressures (work, family, a new relationship, etc.), the symptoms of the personality disorder may begin to seriously interfere with their emotional and psychological functioning.
The Ranch treatment center helps clients address the underlying issues that contribute to personality disorders while simultaneously treating co-occurring issues like substance abuse. Learn more about our personality disorders treatment program or call 844-876-7680.
Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorders
People with personality disorders possess several distinct psychological features. These may include the following:
- Disturbances in self-image
- Inability to have successful interpersonal relationships
- Inappropriateness in range of emotions and ways of perceiving themselves, others and the world
- Difficulty controlling impulses
- Relationship problems
- Frequent mood swings
- Social isolation
- Mistrust of others
- Angry outbursts
Personality disorder disturbances come together to create a pervasive pattern of behavior and inner experience that is quite different from the norms of the individual’s culture and that often tend to be expressed in behaviors that appear more dramatic than what society considers usual. Therefore, those with a personality disorder often experience conflicts with other people. There are many different types of personality disorders, which all have specific characteristics.
Types of Personality Disorders
Personality disorder types are usually grouped into three categories:
Cluster A – Eccentric or odd behavior
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder – Those with schizotypal personality disorder respond inappropriately or indifferently in interactions with others and are uncomfortable in social settings. Often they dress or act oddly and suffer from paranoia or thoughts that they can read others minds or know their intentions.
- Schizoid Personality Disorder – Individuals with schizoid personality disorder struggle reading social cues, often feel unable to express themselves and are consumed by their own feelings and thoughts most of the time.
- Paranoid Personality Disorder – Distrustful and suspicious of others, individuals with paranoid personality disorder frequently believe other people to be unfaithful or disloyal and are often overly guarded, secretive and angry.
Cluster B – Dramatic, erratic or emotional behavior
- Antisocial Personality Disorder – Characterized by going against “the norm” of society, individuals with antisocial personality disorder often act irresponsible, callous and unremorseful toward others. They may find themselves in legal or financial trouble due to their disorder.
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder – Narcissists are driven by power and success and feel an insatiable need for the praise and attention of others. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have issues dealing with failure, may exaggerate their achievements and abilities, and often have little regard for other people’s feelings.
- Borderline Personality Disorder – More commonly diagnosed in women, those with borderline personality disorder exhibit excessive attention-seeking, moodiness, bouts of anger, impulsivity and volatility in relationships. They crave closeness while simultaneously pushing people away.
Cluster C – Anxious, fearful behavior
- Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder – Obsessive compulsive personality disorder is different than OCD, an anxiety disorder. People with this personality disorder suffer from extreme perfectionism, inflexibility and a strong need to be in control. Those with obsessive compulsive personality disorder are orderly and dependable but have a hard time with change and are rarely satisfied.
- Dependent Personality Disorder – Often overly submissive and dependent, individuals with dependent personality disorder have trouble making decisions on their own and look to others for reassurance, guidance and confidence. They are very sensitive to criticism and have difficulties in relationships, frequently plagued with a strong fear of rejection or being alone. Those with this personality disorder may stay in abusive or unhealthy relationships.
- Avoidant Personality Disorder – Individuals with avoidant personality disorder are extremely shy and withdrawn in social situations, have trouble relating to others, and are hypersensitive to disapproval and criticism.
What Causes Personality Disorders?
Like other mental health disorders, researchers believe personality disorders are likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Many individuals with personality disorders suffer from deeply rooted trauma and attachment issues.
Treatment for Personality Disorders
Treatment for personality disorders depends on the type of personality disorder and the individual’s unique interpersonal struggles. A combination of psychotherapy and medication is generally effective. The Ranch treatment center takes an evidence-based approach in treating personality disorders and the co-occurring issues that commonly accompany them like substance abuse, eating disorders or sex addiction. We draw upon traditional and experiential therapies that help clients address underlying trauma, destructive behaviors and unhealthy thinking patterns and gain insight into their disease while acquiring healthy coping skills. Learn more about our co-occurring disorders programs or call 844-876-7680.