Presented by BetterHelp. Maintaining your mental health is a lifelong journey. For some, that journey will be longer and harder for one reason or another. Some people seem to develop mental health problems early on in life while others don’t experience symptoms until they’re much older. Certain mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder can make life a lot more difficult without the right support and treatment. These personality disorders normally impact multiple areas of a person’s life, which is why seeking help is vital. If you’d like to learn more about personality disorders and want to know how to seek help, visit https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/personality-disorders/. Once you know the signs and symptoms of these disorders, you’ll be more equipped to recognize them in yourself or others. From there, you can reach out to a professional so that you can get the appropriate support.
What is Personality?
To understand personality disorders, you first need to know what makes up someone’s personality. In essence, personality is a specific mixture of characteristics that make a person who they are. Behaviors, attitudes, mannerisms, thoughts, and moods are all examples of such traits. Some people are more extroverted while others are shy. Others are very open and agreeable, but other people tend to be more closed-off. There are organized individuals and messy ones. Some people are prone to worry a lot while others are more carefree and able to move quickly past any uncertainties in their life. All of these things and more make a person the unique individual that they are.
What Are Personality Disorders?
When someone has a personality disorder, it means that their way of thinking or behaving strays from the norm. Usually, the disorder interferes with a lot of different areas of the person’s daily life. This might include their life at home, school, work, or all three. It’s harder for people with personality disorders to recognize that something might be wrong, so it can be rarer for them to seek help on their own.
What Causes a Personality Disorder?
The science isn’t yet clear on what exactly causes someone to develop a personality disorder. However, researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environment play a role. If a specific personality disorder runs in a family, it’s much more likely that someone else in that family will also develop it. There is no research showing that people are born with personality disorders, but again, studies are limited in this area. One thing is for sure and that’s that these disorders develop over a period of time.
Types of Personality Disorders
There are many different types of personality disorders, all with their own unique characteristics, signs, and symptoms. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders arranges all of these disorders into three main groups. They are:
Eccentric: Marked by odd, abnormal, or peculiar behaviors
Dramatic: Characterized by extreme, volatile emotions and impulsive behavior
Anxious: Defined by intense nervousness, uncertainty, or fear
Some examples of specific personality disorders are as follows:
Eccentric: Paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal
Dramatic: Antisocial, narcissistic, borderline, histrionic
Anxious: Dependent, avoidant, obsessive-compulsive
Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorders
The signs and symptoms to be on the lookout for will vary depending on what type of personality disorder is presenting itself. Remember that some people will show extreme signs and symptoms while others will only have mild ones. Those that are receiving treatment for their disorder can usually live a fairly normal life, so their disorder might not even be obvious on the surface. Certain types of disorders are more prone to stronger symptoms as well. Below are some common symptoms of each category of personality disorders.
Eccentric: Those with an eccentric personality disorder will often have odd, bizarre, or peculiar ways of thinking or behaving. They may be suspicious about the intentions of other people and have a hard time trusting others. In more extreme cases, they might hold certain superstitions or feel like they have superpowers.
Dramatic: People with a dramatic personality disorder are known for being attention-seekers. They might use charm, dramatics, or even overly sexual behavior to gain others’ attention. Usually, they are very easily influenced and have emotions that change quickly.
Anxious: When someone has an anxious personality disorder, they are normally driven by fear or uncertainty, often in several areas of their life. They might be overly suspicious or very perfectionistic. In many cases, they will avoid going out and seeing other people because of their worries.
Diagnosing A Personality Disorder
A mental health professional is the only one who can accurately diagnose someone with a personality disorder. You should never attempt to self-diagnose as this can hinder receiving a proper treatment plan. When a professional makes a diagnosis, they’ll look at several different areas of a person’s life and see how their thoughts and behaviors are affecting them. Through different tools and assessments as well as the DSM, a diagnosis is made. From there, the person can begin to work with a professional to manage their personality disorder.
The internet is full of information about personality disorders and virtually anything else you’d like to know more about. Today, with technological advances, you can learn a lot just by doing your own research. That being said, it’s always best to reach out to a professional if you need help. Not only can a mental health expert provide you with an accurate diagnosis, but they can also come up with a treatment plan for you. While the internet is helpful sometimes, it can also give you inaccurate information, so you want to proceed with caution.
If you think you have a personality disorder, it’s vital to get support right away so that you can start to manage your symptoms. Remember that you shouldn’t attempt to diagnose yourself before speaking with a qualified professional. Help is available and you are never alone no matter what you might be going through.