Treating Personality Disorders


Mental disorders come in many different shapes and sizes. Literally. Under behavioral disorders, there are various illnesses that branch to even more mental health issues. A good example of this is the personality disorder, which is under dissociative disorders. Dissociative disorders are characterized by disturbances in memory, perception, identity, and awareness. It causes instability in moods and behavior, thus impairing an individual’s ability to function properly in daily activities. People with this disorder even have difficulty in thinking about themselves or others.

What is a Personality Disorder?

First of all, what is a personality disorder? How can you sense if someone is possibly suffering from this? And, what does it do to the person diagnosed with it?

“A personality disorder is a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior of a specified kind causing long-term difficulties in personal relationships or in functioning in society.” – Nicole Martinez, Psy.D.

A personality disorder is a behavioral disorder where an individual’s pattern of thinking and functioning differs entirely from an average person. These people have difficulty in perceiving people and situations as what they are, causing problems in relationships, social life, and work or school. Sometimes, a person diagnosed with this may even fail to realize that they have a personality disorder, since the way he/she behaves or acts comes naturally to them. However, once it causes mishaps, he/she often blames others for the sudden challenges that arise against them. According to Mindia Gabichvadze, PsyD, “It’s difficult to determine what got you to that place as there often are multiple stimuli that affect your functioning. At times, you may become rigid and lose flexibility of certain behaviors that can compromise your judgment.”

There are many symptoms that you can find in a person with a personality disorder, such as:

Angry or hostile behavior towards perceived insults
Hesitancy to trust others
Unreasonable belief that other people are trying to harm you
Tendency to hold extreme grudges
Limited show of emotion (often appearing as cold or indifferent)
Preferring to be alone
Odd perceptual experiences (seeing or hearing things that are not there)
Odd way of dressing, thinking, or speaking
Persistent lying
Impulsive behavior
Suicidal behavior
Extreme fear of abandonment
Constant seeking of attention
Excessive concern over self-image

The direct causes of personality disorders are still unclear, but recent research have explored possible factors that result to personality disorders:


Genetic links to traits that result to personality disorders — aggression, anxiety and fear
A person with relatives who have a personality disorder have higher chances of suffering from it


Childhood trauma
Unstable and inconsistent way of disciplining
Any form of abuse inflicted my blood relatives (sexual, physical, verbal, etc.)
Divorce between parents or any family problems in relation


Surrounded by neighborhoods that cause chaos or riots
Neighbors are criminals or deviant
House is unclean, unsafe, and located in scary or dark places that could cause traumatic experiences


Negative interaction with peers may result to development of anxious feelings and fear
Abusive relationships
Bullying or teasing inflicted by schoolmates

The Types of Personality Disorders


According to the diagnosis system that psychiatrists use, there are 10 types of personality disorders. These types are grouped into three categories:


Paranoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)

Emotional and impulsive

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Histrionic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder


Avoidant personality disorder
Dependent personality disorder
Obsessive compulsive personality disorder (OCDP)

Treatment for Personality Disorders


“Therapy doesn’t have to be talk-based; there are some modalities, like music therapy and art therapy, that can help you get those in tune with those emotions without having to cough them up verbally.” Hannah Goodman, LMHC said. Even if personality disorders seem like a great unknown in the world of mental illnesses, there are still multiple treatments that can help patients cope with their issue, ranging from therapy to medication, such as:

Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) – a cognitive-behavioral treatment focused on changing the patient’s ability to control his/her intense emotions and actions

Mentalization-Based Treatment – a type of psychodynamic treatment geared towards helping the patient “mentalize” what others might feel in response to how he/she acts

Schema Therapy – a type of therapy characterized by challenging the beliefs of the patient from childhood

Psychodynamic Therapy – helps in uncovering how the patient’s childhood is affecting his/her life

Behavioral Therapy – typically applied to a single symptom of personality disorders

Social Skills Training – education, group, and targeted way of treatment to help the patient learn about the area of socializing, which is vital in understanding others

Prescription and Medication – acts as an aid in easing and reducing the feelings of fear, anxiousness, and depression caused by personality disorders, but it does not, however, completely cure the disorder itself