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What Is a Personality Disorder?

woman with curly hair considers what is a personality disorder

Personality is part of what makes every individual unique. Psychologists define it as the sum of a person’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. What is a personality disorder? For such a diagnosis to be made, a client’s thinking and behavior must show unhealthy patterns that persist over time and have marked damaging results on day-to-day functioning. If you or a loved one is struggling, remember that a medical evaluation is the best way to determine if a personality disorder is the underlying cause.

Call the caring team at NuLife Recovery Massachusetts at 888.568.2057 or reach out to us online to get the conversation started. We offer a range of personality disorder treatments in Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey and can also make referrals.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are ten major types of personality disorders recognized by modern medicine:

Paranoid Personality Disorder

This condition is defined by unreasonable suspicion of others’ motives and behavior. People with this disorder often believe others are trying to harm, deceive, or betray them and perceive threats or insults in innocent remarks or events. They may feel hesitant to confide in others, hold many grudges, or regularly react with unwarranted anger.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

This condition is marked by extreme detachment. Those with schizoid personality disorder may consistently prefer solitude, display limited emotional expression, and take little pleasure in most activities. In social situations, especially intimate ones, they may fail to pick up on social cues and appear uncaring.

Antisocial Personality Disorder

This condition is characterized by broad disregard for others. Those diagnosed with this may steal, lie, con others, or get in legal trouble. They may show poor impulse control, be generally irresponsible or violent, or show little remorse.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Those with borderline often have fragile self-perception and experience volatile moods. Strongly impacted by emotional stress, their relationships are often intense and may be quite damaging. Risky or even suicidal behavior, fear of abandonment, intense anger, and paranoia are common.

Histrionic Personality Disorder

This condition features constant attention-seeking. Those suffering may display ephemeral skin-deep emotions, extreme concern with physical appearance, and a tendency to be easily influenced. Seeking attention, they might engage in emotionally extreme or dramatic behavior, especially of a sexual nature.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Those with this condition fundamentally believe they’re more important than others. They may make gross exaggerations about their own abilities or achievements or might appear arrogant or envious. Taking advantage of others or placing unreasonable expectations on them are also common.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

This condition is characterized by extreme sensitivity that causes withdrawal. Criticism and rejection are monumental to people with avoidant personality disorder. They thus often avoid any situation that could conceivably lead to embarrassment or ridicule. This can severely impede social functioning.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

This condition is similar to but distinct from the anxiety disorder OCD. It is characterized by overwhelming attention to detail, order, and rules. Those afflicted may become hyper-focused on work, neglect enjoyable activities, show high-control behaviors, or be morally inflexible.

Treatment for Personality Disorders

One of the most effective treatments for personality disorders is talk therapy. This modality takes many forms, and one of the most effective in treating personality disorders is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). In DBT, clients learn to reframe negative thought patterns and engage in mindfulness practices. This helps them gain greater self-awareness and tolerance for their internal experience.

In some cases, especially when substance abuse is also present, a full-scale treatment program may be most effective. Residential, partial hospitalization, or outpatient programs can be very impactful because of their high level of supervision, array of complementary offerings, and broad impact on clients’ lives.

Finally, personality disorders may respond well to medication. A licensed psychiatrist or medical doctor may prescribe antidepressants for disorders featuring impulsivity, hopelessness, or depression. Mood stabilizers, on the other hand, can help with irritability, mood swings, or aggression.

Contact NuLife Behavioral Health to Learn More About Personality Disorders Today

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health and day-to-day life, don’t wait another minute to reach out for support. The qualified team at NuLife Recovery Massachusetts is waiting to assist you as you take the first steps toward impactful treatment. Call us at 888.568.2057 or fill out our secure online form to get started.