What Is A Personality Disorder?
Throughout the world there are many mental disorders, different from one another with different causes, symptoms and treatments. Mental disorders can overlap in one individual and they do so on many different occasions. One can suffer from both, depression and anxiety, and it is actually quite common. Some disorders are more likely to overlap with others, however, there is one category of mental disorders that is completely different from all others, however, those who are diagnosed with one of the disorders from these categories are often diagnosed with others like depression, bipolar disorder and others. This category distinguishes from others due to the fact that all of the disorders under the umbrella of this group are personality disorders. Personality disorders? How can one have a disorder with their personality and what does it entail if one does, indeed, suffer from a disorder that is so intricately woven into their private persona? What is a personality disorder? Before we ask that question we need to understand what does personality in itself entail.
What is personality?
Each person has distinctive and unique characteristics and traits that make up that person. That is what we usually call a personality. An individual’s interaction techniques with other in a social environment, their coping mechanisms, their characteristic traits. We see the beginning of these traits early on, in childhood and they develop as we grow older and become more and more prominent in our adolescent and young adult years.
What is a personality disorder?
These traits that make up each and every individual can sometimes be, what we call, ‘disordered’. We think of personality being disordered when these features are maladaptive, unaccommodating and so prevalent that they impair the person’s ability to act and behave in a proper way and accordingly to the rules that have been set by their society. A lot of personality disorders are characterized by impending interpersonal problems and identity and ‘self’ problems (read more on borderline personality disorder).
Personality disorders are persistent, they are very hard to treat and they are characterized by certain behaviors and problems. People who suffer from personality disorders behave, feel and think in a way that is really different from the way that others do.
Personality disorders bring up questions of what actually is normal for every individual and for societies because for them the reality is quite different from those who do not suffer from the disorder.
The never ending way of their inner experiences and turmoil is what essentially makes up a personality disorder, the behaviors usually start in their teen years or maybe when they reach they young adult years and they persist with time. These behaviors cause these people damage and suffering.
In order to be diagnosed with a personality disorder, people need to have problems in two important areas, including interpersonal functioning, cognition, impulse control and affectivity (emotion).
If the problems that point to a personality disorder are caused by some other mental disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (what is bipolar disorder?) or if the symptoms are a result of a physical condition (like in the case of Phineas Gage), then personality disorder should not be diagnosed. One has to remember, however, that there is a big correlation between personality disorders and other mental disorder so many times it can be quite difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of certain symptoms.
Personality disorders divide into different sub-types depending on the exact pattern of the behavior that is persistent in that particular disorder. These disorders are difficult on those who suffer from them and the people they associate with, however, nowadays there have been many treatment therapies made in order to help these people. It is highly crucial to get help and assistance early on and learn how to cope properly and adaptively with many problems that occur in the course of the personality disorder, whatever it may be.
Valerie is a psychology student who is trying to pursue a career in Cognitive Neuroscience. She is passionate about the brain and finds it fascinating. She loves learning about new discoveries and research that is going on in the world of psychology and neuroscience. One day she hopes to contribute to the scientific community!