Characteristics And Treatment of Personality Disorders

According to the data represented in the National Comorbidity Study Replication, nearly 10% of people in the United States suffer from some type of personality disorder.

Other major studies, including one from the peer-reviewed Journal of Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, have suggested a prevalence rate of about 14%.

Of the ten defined personality disorders that will be discussed, Borderline Personality Disorder is the most commonly diagnosed, prevailing in about 2% of the population. Other commonly prevailing personality disorders are Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Additional commonly seen disorders are Avoidant Personality Disorder and Paranoid Disorder.

What follows will be a discussion about the different types of personality disorders, their characteristics, and their treatment.

What is a Personality Disorder?

As a subtype of mental disorder, a personality disorder is such that it causes negative thinking patterns, dysfunctional behaviors, and unhealthy actions. It’s most evident in those who see no wrong in their uncharacteristic thoughts and behaviors, ultimately resulting in troubling decisions, harmful perceptions, and destructive relationships.

There are a total of ten types of personality disorders, ranging from mild to severe, each with its symptoms and thought patterns, thus, requiring specific treatment protocols. Most personality disorders progress slowly, with the initial evidence of the condition being seen in adolescent, teenage, and young adult behavior.

The official diagnosis of a personality disorder tends to come years after the first symptoms present themselves. This is because the clinical definition of such disorders describes a long-term pattern of multiple symptoms.

Diagnosing a personality disorder too early may result in a mischaracterization of temporary thoughts and behaviors influenced by age, environment, and otherwise.

Types of Personality Disorders

While there are a total of 10 personality disorders, most clinicians tend to place them into 3 groups according to similar symptoms and treatment protocols.

Group One tends to pertain to thinking patterns and behaviors associated with eccentricity.

Group Two tends to pertain to thoughts and actions dramatically and unpredictably. Finally, group Three tends to pertain to thoughts and feelings of fear and overthinking.

These are the 10 Types of Personality Disorders and Their Most Prominent Characteristics:

. Schizoid Personality Disorder (Group 1)

Characterized by significant differences from the normal thoughts and behaviors of society, ultimately causing extreme feelings of distress and the inability to cope.

. Schizotypal Personality Disorder (Group 1)

Characterized by hyper-unusual thoughts and behaviors, largely differing from the norms of society.

. Paranoid Personality Disorder (Group 1)

Characterized by long-term patterns of unjust distrust and suspicion towards people, places, and things.

Types of Personality Disorders

. Antisocial Personality Disorder (Group 2)

Characterized by distancing behaviors, lies, and deceit, often acting irrationally without feelings of guilt and apology. 

. Borderline Personality Disorder (Group 2)

Characterized by uncontrollable emotions and irrational behavior that can cause harm and result in extreme mood swings. Phases of extreme anger, depression, and anxiety occur in those with Borderline Personality Disorder.

. Histrionic Personality Disorder (Group 2)

Characterized by events of hysteria and dramatic outbreak, often intense, ultimately resulting in instability and low self-esteem.

. Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Group 2)

Characterized by patterns of arrogance, self-centeredness, and ego, ultimately destroying relationships due to a low level of empathy and consideration toward others.

. Avoidant Personality Disorder (Group 3)

Characterized by extreme thoughts and emotions of sensitivity, inadequacy, and rejection, often shown unjustifiably placing criticism on themselves and others.

. Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (Group 3)

Characterized by the extreme need to live in order and perfection, ultimately resulting in preoccupation with mundane details causing interference with daily life.

. Dependent Personality Disorder (Group 3)

Characterized by the need to be taken care of due to an overwhelming sense of submissiveness, helplessness, and low self-esteem.

An important distinction to re-emphasize is that personality disorders only become personality disorders when symptoms become long-term personality traits. In addition, the individual often behaves as if they are completely unaware of their behavior.

The reason for this emphasis is that many will temporarily experience and act in ways that mirror a given personality disorder for short periods or intermittently.

For example, they may have periods of antisocial decision-making, narcissistic thoughts, or times of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Associated Causes and Risk Factors

Like many mental illnesses and conditions, the causes of a personality disorder are not completely understood.

There are, however, some commonly associated scenarios and risk factors that are highly correlated with the condition.

The presumed potential causes and risk factors of different personality disorders include genetics and family history, environmental influences, past trauma, personal history of mental illness, and lifestyle factors such as substance abuse.

In addition, certain types of excessive content consumption can negatively influence certain thoughts and behaviors of susceptible individuals, leading to poor decision-making skills.

Commonly Used Treatments and Therapies

There are varied treatments for these disorders due to the different severity levels of these conditions. Yet, some treatments and therapies have shown the most promise in the management of personality disorders.

Those treatments and therapies include medication and counseling.

Personality Disorders Treatments and Therapies

More specifically, the medications most commonly used to treat personality disorders include antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications.

Additionally, the most common forms of therapy used to treat personality disorders include dialectical behavioral therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic therapy.

Final Thoughts

Before treating a personality disorder, it’s important to successfully determine, with the help of a mental health professional, the specific type of personality disorder that is present. Certain treatment plans cater to particular disorders and will not have the same success as others.

Most treatments for personality disorders are quite effective at alleviating symptoms, especially when followed correctly and consistently.

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