A personality disorder diagnosis—whether it’s yours or a loved one’s—can leave you reeling. However, it can also feel like a relief, because with a diagnosis comes the hope of successful treatment. Personality disorder treatment centers specialize in providing comprehensive treatment programs that can help those living with personality disorders to learn new tools, strategies, and coping skills for managing their symptoms.
What Are Personality Disorders?
Personality disorders are a kind of mental health condition. They are long-term, pervasive patterns of thinking and behavior that cause significant distress or impairment in important areas of life. Personality disorders typically include a wide range of symptoms, such as problems with impulse control, emotion regulation, interpersonal relationships, and cognitive functioning.
Personality disorders are caused by a combination of factors. Both genetics and childhood trauma may play a role. Symptoms usually first appear during adolescence, but personality disorders are often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. It’s often the case that the correct diagnosis is only made during adulthood.
Types of Personality Disorders
There are 10 different types of personality disorders grouped into three categories or clusters.
Cluster A: Odd or Eccentric Behavior
Cluster A personality disorders, sometimes called “eccentric” behavior, are characterized by odd thinking or behavior, including extreme suspiciousness and social withdrawal. These personality disorders include:
- Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) – People with this disorder are suspicious and distrustful of others. They tend to hold grudges and perceive personal insults where there are none. They are often hard to get along with. People with PPD often self-isolate due to their ongoing suspicions of others.
- Schizoid personality disorder – People with schizoid personality disorder are distant and withdrawn. They focus more on their thoughts and feelings than on outward stimuli. They have trouble expressing themselves and reading other people’s social cues.
- Schizotypal personality disorder –This disorder often leads people to dress or act in unusual ways. They may have paranoia or strange beliefs, such as that they can read minds or see into the future. People with schizotypal personality disorder aren’t always loners. But, because they often interact in inappropriate ways, they may become isolated.
Cluster B: Dramatic, Erratic or Emotional Behavior
Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, erratic behavior. People with these conditions may be impulsive and have trouble controlling their emotions. These personality disorders include:
- Borderline personality disorder (BPD) – People with this disorder have an unstable self-image and unstable relationships with others. They have trouble regulating their mood, are impulsive and often behave in risky ways. This disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men, but this may be due to gender stereotyping. There is evidence that BPD occurs equally in men and women. However, men with BPD symptoms are more often diagnosed with depression or PTSD.
- Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) – People with NPD are drawn to power and success and to the appearance of it. They exaggerate their abilities and achievements to get praise and attention. Another common feature is a sense of entitlement. This may lead them to take advantage of others to get what they want.
- Antisocial personality disorder – People with this disorder ignore the rights, feelings and safety of others. They tend to have a disregard for right and wrong, both ethically and legally. They may lie to or manipulate people, ignore their obligations and be hostile or violent.
- Histrionic personality disorder (HPD) – Someone with HPD feels the need to be provocative and seductive. They want to be the center of attention as much as possible. Their need for approval is typically due to low self-esteem. Other common symptoms include mood swings and dramatic behavior.
Cluster C: Anxious, Fearful Behavior
Finally, cluster C personality disorders are characterized by anxious or fearful behavior. These conditions may include avoidance and withdrawal. Cluster C disorders include:
- Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) – People with OCPD are perfectionists with a strong need to be in control. They tend to be very rigid and particular about details. While they are orderly and reliable, they also have a hard time adapting to change. Note that OCPD is distinct from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). One major difference is that people with OCD have unwanted intrusive thoughts. In contrast, people with OCPD are comfortable with their thoughts and beliefs.
- Dependent personality disorder (DPD) – People with DPD are dependent and submissive. They rely heavily on others for reassurance and guidance in making decisions. They have a strong fear of being alone or rejected and find it hard to disagree with others or take criticism. Some people may stay in an unhealthy or abusive relationship to avoid being alone.
- Avoidant personality disorder – People with this disorder face crippling stress in their day-day-day lives. This strongly affects their ability to socialize and maintain relationships. They feel inferior to others and are sensitive to criticism. Some people may even isolate themselves to avoid it.
How a Personality Disorder Treatment Center Can Help
The goal of personality disorder treatment isn’t to “cure” your personality. There is no such cure. However, if you have a personality disorder, a treatment program can improve your quality of life. Treatment is also important if you engage in impulsive or risky behavior. Getting treatment can help you avoid the behavior and the harmful consequences.
Having a personality disorder may make you feel isolated, rejected, or abandoned. Treatment can help you recognize why you feel that way and what you can do to change it. With successful treatment, you may build stronger relationships and have a more satisfying life.
Therapy is the core of treatment for most people with personality disorders. The kind of therapy may depend on the disorder they have and their unique challenges. However, people with personality disorders often benefit from medication as well as therapy. While there are no drugs designed for personality disorders, some drugs help relieve certain symptoms.
Classes of medication that might be prescribed include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
People with personality disorders are often emotionally unstable and engage in risky behavior. This means they’re at risk for co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety disorder, eating disorders, and addiction.
These co-occurring disorders have long-term risks in themselves. They can increase the risk of self-harm, suicide attempts and other kinds of risky behavior. Both addiction and eating disorders can cause permanent physical damage to the body and are sometimes deadly.
For people with co-occurring disorders, it’s important to receive dual diagnosis treatment. This is a treatment that addresses both the personality disorder and any co-occurring disorders at the same time. Having untreated depression or addiction holds side effects that make it harder to focus on mental wellness. It can also trigger relapses in personality disorder symptoms. Having an untreated mental illness means it’s harder to manage the personality disorder in the long term, even after treatment.
Promises Behavioral Health’s Personality Disorder Treatment Centers Can Help
Personality disorders are not curable; they are life-long mental health conditions. It can be intimidating to realize this because these disorders can make many aspects of life more difficult.
Even though there are no cures, there can be healing. Our personality disorder treatment centers can help you or a loved one discover ways to cope and improve quality of life.