Therapy for Personality Disorders
What Is a Personality Disorder?
A personality disorder refers to an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture. In other words, the individual thinks, feels, and acts in certain ways that make it difficult to function within their own society. These patterns may make it difficult to hold down a job and are often responsible for destroying relationships. In very rare cases, a personality disorder may lead to behavior that put others in danger. Far more often, personality disorders put the individual himself in danger.
Personality disorders are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. For example, environmental factors such as repeated trauma and abuse, for example, can lead to a pattern of paranoia. Genetic factors, such as a chronic serotonin deficiency, can lead to a depressive pattern and chronic lack of motivation.
Types of Personality Disorders
There are many different types of personality disorders, including:
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) – Not to be confused with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is actually very different, OCPD is the most common personality disorder, affecting 8% of American adults. OCPD is characterized by patterns of overly-controlling behavior, perfectionism, fixations with rules and lists, and strict adherence to moral codes. While people with OCPD may be successful in their work lives, considering the high standards to which they hold themselves, they may also be paralyzed by the constant pressure.
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD) – BPD is another common disorder and one that is characterized by patterns of emotional instability, fear of abandonment, outbursts of anger and violence, intense and unstable relationships, threats of suicide, and self-harm. Borderline personality disorder can lead to many damaged relationships, difficulty holding down jobs, legal problems, and physical damage.
- Paranoid personality disorder – A person with a paranoid personality disorder has an unfounded belief that people are trying to sabotage them. This leads to a general sense of paranoia and suspicion of people and patterns.
- Narcissistic personality disorder – Narcissistic personality disorder causes people to have an inflated view of their own importance, usually at the expense of others. Antisocial personality disorder – Someone with an antisocial personality disorder has a disregard for the feelings or well-being of others, often leading to harmful or criminal acts for personal gain.
- Schizoid personality disorder – A person with schizoid personality disorder avoids social interaction and is uninterested and often oblivious to social cues and expectations.
- Avoidant personality disorder – Someone with an avoidant personality disorder is excessively shy and harbors chronic feelings of inadequacy.
Treatment of Personality Disorders at Seasons in Malibu
Treatment of personality disorders will differ based on the disorder. Most commonly, personality disorders are treated with a combination of therapy and medication. Medication is used to improve mood symptoms, but these are not to be confused with harmful prescription drugs. Therapy generally aims to help the individual learn to regulate their emotions.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), for example, are both therapies that teach practical skills, such as reality testing. This works by challenging irrational thoughts repeatedly again until patterns begin to change.
DBT is centered around mindfulness practices, which help individuals regulate strong emotions by changing their relationship to the emotions. Mindful observation of the moment means that the person does not try to resist or hold onto the feeling. When left undisturbed, emotions pass over a matter of seconds.
Explore the Personality Disorder Treatment Program at Seasons in Malibu
Personality disorders are very complex, and diagnosis should be made by a licensed mental health professional. However, they are far more common than most people suspect, and awareness and understanding are therefore very important. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have a personality disorder, reach out to Seasons in Malibu today by calling 424.235.2009 or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our team is standing by to help.