Personality disorders are chronic mental illnesses that can range from mildly unsettling to severe. They arise from a person’s home environment, as well as from genetic and chemical causes. Treatment options include psychotherapy (counseling), medicines, and self-help approaches. Some people may need the personalized attention that only hospitalization can provide.
A personality disorder must fulfill several criteria. They cannot be diagnosed just on the basis of one characteristic. People with personality disorders have an inflexible pattern of understanding people, thinking, and behaving that makes it difficult to adjust to their environment. This is serious enough to affect their functioning. But, in some cases, people with personality disorders may not think they have a problem or may not want to change. Personality disorders are usually recognizable by adolescence and continue throughout adulthood, and they become less obvious throughout middle age.
The following information is an overview of ten clinically diagnosed personality disorders and their symptoms.
With antisocial personality disorder, there is a pattern of disregarding or actually violating others’ rights, which usually includes most of the following:
A pattern of feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity, and social inhibition, which usually involves:
With borderline personality disorder, there is a pattern of instability and shallowness in one’s personal relationships, usually related to one’s self-image and marked by:
A chronic need to be taken care of along with a fear of being abandoned. Symptoms include:
Excessive emotionality and attention seeking, demonstrated by:
A chronic need for admiration, a lack of empathy with others, and absorption with oneself, usually including:
With obsessive compulsive personality disorder, there is a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism, and control—at the expense of flexibility and efficiency—demonstrated by:
A pattern of distrust and suspicion, often demonstrated by:
A pattern of being detached from and unemotional in social relationships, demonstrated by:
A pattern of acute discomfort with close relationships, combined with distortions of thought and perception, and eccentric behavior, demonstrated by:
Mental Health America
National Institute of Mental Health
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Canadian Psychological Association
American Psychiatric Association. DSM IV TR. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 2000.
Factsheet: personality disorders. Mental Health America website. Available at: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/information/get-info/personality-disorders . Updated November 2008. Accessed August 6, 2008.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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