Personality disorders are long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviours that cause serious problems with relationships and work. People with personality disorders have difficulty dealing with everyday stresses and problems. They often have stormy relationships with other people. The exact cause of personality disorders is unknown. However, genes and childhood experiences may play a role.
Symptoms vary widely depending on the specific type of personality disorder. Treatment usually includes talk therapy and sometimes medicine.
A psychologist will look for the following criteria:
- Symptoms have been present for an extended period of time, are inflexible and pervasive, and are not a result of alcohol or drugs or another psychiatric disorder. The history of symptoms can be traced back to adolescence or at least early adulthood.
- The symptoms have caused and continue to cause significant distress or negative consequences in different aspects of the person's life.
Symptoms are seen in at least two of the following areas:
- Thoughts (ways of looking at the world, thinking about self or others, and interacting)
- Emotions (appropriateness, intensity, and range of emotional functioning)
- Interpersonal Functioning (relationships and interpersonal skills)
- Impulse Control
The causes of personality disorders are unknown. However, many genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role.
Mental health professionals categorize these disorders into the following types:
First, people with these disorders usually do not seek treatment on their own. They tend to seek help once their behavior has caused severe problems in their relationships or work, or when they are diagnosed with another psychiatric problem, such as a mood or substance abuse disorder. In some cases, medications can be a useful addition to therapy.
Although personality disorders take time to treat, there is increasing evidence that certain forms of Talk therapy, Psychological Counseling, Psychotherapy can help many people.
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