Personality Disorders – Causes and Treatment

Causes and Treatment

The personality disorder (PD) construct continues to be debatable when applied to adolescents and children. A personality disorder is a term for behaviour patterns that make it difficult for individuals to get along with others, regardless of their environment or circumstances. People who suffer from this disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This behaviour trigger offs significant problems and Causes difficulties  in relationships, social activities, work and school.

Personality disorders usually become apparent in adolescence or early adulthood. Although not as common, they can begin during childhood. Children and teens who suffer from this disorder have difficulties maintaining healthy relationships and often blame people around them or circumstances for problems they have created. Often this behaviour leads to a feeling of loneliness and isolation.

Assessment and diagnosis of personality disorders generally happens as an adult. Before this period, it is considered to be an ‘Emerging Personality Disorder’.

These children have difficulties in school and at home due to their behaviour. They are often blamed, ridicules, and criticised which worsens their conditions.

Parenting a child with an emerging personality disorder can often be a huge challenge. Parents often need counseling themselves.

Types of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are grouped into three overarching “clusters” based on similar symptoms and characteristics.

Cluster A – Personality Disorders

Cluster A – personality disorders are characterised by odd, eccentric thinking and/or behaviour.

Cluster A – includes paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder.

People with paranoid personality disorder are unusually suspicious hostile, envious, tense and are usually loners.

People with schizoid disorder are isolated from others and they lack emotional expression.

People with schizotypal disorder show odd mannerisms and appearances, they are passively detached from others.

The common features of Cluster A – personality disorders are social awkwardness, distorted thinking and inappropriate emotional responses.

Cluster B – Personality Disorders

Cluster B – includes disorders that are characterized by emotional, dramatic and erratic thinking and/or behaviour.

Cluster B – personality disorders include histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

People with histrionic personality disorder are shallow, always seeking attention and show exaggerated emotions

People with narcissistic disorder have an inflated self esteem, low empathy for others, and they feel entitled to privileges

People with borderline traits have unstable moods, engage in impulsive behaviour, are usually angry and have a lot of interpersonal turmoil

People with antisocial personality are constantly violating rights of others, callous, manipulative, dishonest and do not have guilt

The common features of Cluster B personality disorders are problems with impulse control, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behaviour and other problems with emotional regulation.

Cluster C – Personality Disorders

Cluster C – includes disorders that are characterized by anxious, fearful thinking and/or behaviour.

Cluster C – includes the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and dependent personality disorder.

Traits of avoidant personality disorder are pervasive and excessive hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, social inhibition, and feelings of inadequacy

People with dependent personality have a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to clinging behaviour, submissiveness, they have fear of separation and interpersonal dependency

Obssessive compulsive personality disorder have a preoccupation with orderliness, perfectionism and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility

Cluster C – personality disorders share a high level of anxiety.

What Causes Personality Disorders?

It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but like other mental health disorders; upbringing, life events, brain problems, unstable or chaotic family life during childhood, Family history of personality disorders or other mental illness, and genetics play a part. Abusive, unstable or chaotic family life during childhood.

Effects of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders can significantly disturb the lives of both the affected person and those who associate with the person equally. Personality disorders can cause problems with their relationships, work or at school, and can lead to social isolation or drug or alcohol abuse.

Personality disorders are treatable and change over time. Early intervention to prevent disruptive behaviour problems and hence reduce risk for some disorders like antisocial personality disorder is the most promising approach to a disorder that seems so intractable by adolescence.

There is a substantial role for psychotherapy for treatment of people with borderline personality disorder. Social skills training helps people with some kinds of personality disorders. The family members often need help in understanding how to deal with a person with a personality disorder. They must be given the information about the disorder and how one can handle it as well.Medication may be prescribed to cure problems associated with a personality disorder, such as anxiety, depression or psychotic symptoms.

About the Author

Dr. Manjiri Deshpande

Dr. Manjiri Deshpande, Child Psychiatrist – Docterz

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