What is a personality disorder?
A personality disorder is a mental health disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, functions, and behaves. A person with the disorder might have difficulty recognising, understanding, or relating to certain situations or people, which can cause issues in personal and professional relationships or social environments.
We all have different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving – collectively, these make up our personalities which are formed and developed in our childhood and through our teens. After that, our personalities remain fairly constant for the rest of our lives. But for some, it’s those developing years when personality disorders can begin.
Someone with a personality disorder may not realise they have one as their way of thinking and behaving seems right and natural. But they might also find these thoughts and feelings hard to deal with or confusing, which can cause distress for them and others around them.
What types of personality disorders are there?
There are a number of different personality disorders, but broadly speaking, they tend to fall into three separate clusters depending on similar signs and symptoms:
Cluster A: Suspicious personality disorders
- Paranoid, Schizoid, or Schizotypal
This group of disorders are closely linked, and sufferers will have distrust or suspicions of others and their motives (paranoid), have limited emotions with difficulty in reading certain cues or situations (schizoid), or social anxiety and odd or eccentric behaviours and beliefs (Schizotypal).
Cluster B: Emotional and impulsive personality disorders
- Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic
Cluster B disorders are represented by irresponsible, impulsive or aggressive behaviour (antisocial), unstable or intense behaviour (borderline), arrogant, emotional, or provocative behaviour (histrionic), or behaviours that rely on fantasies over power, success, and self-importance (narcissistic).
Cluster C: Anxious personality disorders
- Avoidant, Dependent, or Obsessive-Compulsive
This cluster sees people showing signs of sensitivity, inadequacy, or inferiority (avoidant), a lack of self-confidence or a feeling of excessive dependence on others (dependent), or extreme perfection, inflexibility, or a desire for control (obsessive-compulsive).
There’s no clear answer to what causes a personality disorder. But similar to OCD, it’s thought they could develop as a result of traumatic or distressing childhood or life events or family genetics.
Personality disorder counselling and psychotherapy
But taking that first step in counselling can make a real difference in understanding and solving the complicated emotional issues that present themselves as personality disorders. In your sessions with one of our experienced Devon Therapy Services counsellors or psychotherapists, you’ll take control of the thoughts, emotions, and behaviours that are currently controlling you.
Using different techniques, including DBT, we’ll find ways to help you manage and cope with any personality disorder. If you live in the wider Exeter or Torquay areas, contact our team today, and we can help you change your thought and behaviour patterns in the desired way and help you lead a rich and fulfilling life.
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