The Truth About Personality Disorders

This article was developed via a partnership with BetterHelp.
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Mental disorders have been enjoying more time in the spotlight lately. From television shows to movies, mental disorders and declining mental health have seen significant media coverage, both in fiction and nonfiction. Despite the increasing familiarity with various mental disorders and mental health conditions, there is still plenty of misunderstanding surrounding different mental health conditions, including personality disorders.

What Is a Personality Disorder?

A personality disorder is a mental disorder that impacts thought patterns and processes and behaviors and does so in a way that deviates from what is considered the norm. These deviations cause significant distress to the individuals with a personality disorder and can result in difficulty engaging with others, including people at work, in personal relationships, and even in familial relationships. People with personality disorders often have histories of unstable relationships and work situations, and may seem to “bounce around” from position to position and relationship to relationship.

Personality disorders are diagnosed along a spectrum of what is considered “normal” behavior. The manner in which people relate to others, manage their emotions and behaviors, and experience their own inner dialogue differs from what is accepted as normal and serves as the basis for a personality disorder diagnosis. The exact symptoms of each disorder differ, but all symptoms revolve around these parameters. Learn more about personality disorders here.

How Personality Disorders Differ from Other Disorders and Conditions

Personality disorders are disorders that focus primarily on personality or the thought patterns and processes and behaviors that define a person’s identity (or lack of identity). Personality disorders are usually characterized by difficulties in interpersonal relationships, personal identity, and behavior, and may be more visible than other disorders because they frequently involve behaviors and actions that are visible and identifiable by others. They may also have a great deal of shame involved and may be more difficult to initially seek treatment for because they tend to be highly isolating disorders and tend to have roots in childhood experiences and trauma.

Treating and Recovering From Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are considered among the most difficult disorders to treat, but they are not impossible to treat, or even recover from. Personality disorders are difficult to treat for several reasons, among them the seeming inability to see the traits and behaviors that are symptomatic of illness and the duration of treatment that is to be expected. Despite the difficulty that can be involved in beginning a treatment plan, personality disorders are largely considered treatable. Medication may be used to manage co-morbid conditions and the effects of personality disorders, but the primary treatment type for personality disorders is psychotherapy, in order to effectively replace unhealthy thought patterns and coping habits. Over time, as people with personality disorders continue to engage therapists’ treatment suggestions, they may begin to develop healthier thought patterns and leave behind some of the symptoms associated with their disorder.

The Truth About Personality Disorders

Personality disorders have a reputation, but the truth is that personality disorders are not indications of moral failings and should not be regarded as such. Instead, personality disorders are legitimate mental health conditions that cause a great deal of distress to the people they affect and their loved ones, and are usually borne of childhood trauma and neglect. Personality disorders can be tied to extreme behavior, including lawlessness, but they are often merely tied to attention-seeing behavior and emotional instability, neither of which are particularly hazardous or dangerous. Treatment for personality disorders is available, and people with these disorders can go on to lead healthy, typical lives with fulfilling, close relationships and stable jobs. Though treatment itself may be more difficult and time-consuming than something like an anxiety disorder, medication, trauma therapy, and talk therapy can all coalesce to create an ideal environment for healing and disorder management.

Martin Maina
Martin Maina is a professional writer and blogger who uses his expertise, skills, and personal experience in digital marketing to craft content that resonates with audiences. Deep down, he believes that if you cannot do great things, then you can do small things in a great way. To learn more, you can connect with him online.
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