A personality disorder may exist when one or more personality traits becomes so inappropriate for the situation and so pronounced that they disrupt an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. There are several different types of personality disorders, each with their own symptoms. Personality disorder treatment typically consists of therapies designed to address those symptoms.
Defining the Personality Disorder
Everyone has specific personality traits, those ways of thinking and reacting that make them who they are. These traits are usually relatively stable, particularly in adulthood. A personality disorder exists when these traits become rigid and maladaptive, impairing the individual’s ability to function at work or to interact appropriately with other people.
An individual with a personality disorder can experience significant distress because they are not able to adjust socially. In fact, their distress is one of the primary reasons they may seek personality disorder treatment.
A personality disorder will usually start to become evident in late adolescence to early adulthood. The individual’s symptoms will vary, depending on the type of disorder, as to their severity and in how long they persist. Some symptoms may even resolve themselves over time.
Approximately 10% of the general population has a personality disorder. There seem to be no clear distinctions in terms of socioeconomic class, race, or sex, although men outnumber women who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder by six to one. In clinical settings, women outnumber men who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder by three to one.
Types of Personality Disorders
There are many types of personality disorders, with their own symptoms and behaviors. These are categorized into three different clusters:
- Cluster A – Odd or eccentric behavior
- Cluster B – Dramatic, erratic, or emotional behavior
- Cluster C – Anxious, fearful behavior
Schizoid Personality Disorder – withdrawn, solitary, distant, emotionally cold, distant, absorbed with their own thoughts and feelings.
Paranoid Personality Disorder – interpreting others’ actions as demeaning or threatening; untrusting, unforgiving, and prone to anger or aggression.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder – odd or eccentric manners of speaking or dressing; outlandish or paranoid beliefs; difficulty forming relationships.
Antisocial Personality Disorder – ignoring normal rules of social behavior; impulsive, callous, and impulsive; a history of irresponsible behavior, aggression, and possibly even violent relationships.
Borderline Personality Disorder – unstable in a number of areas, including mood, behavior, relationships, and self-image.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder – an exaggerated sense of self-importance, seeking constant attention; prone to extreme mood swings between insecurity and self-admiration.
Avoidant Personality Disorder – hypersensitive to rejection, excessive social discomfort and fear of criticism; very hurt by others’ disapproval.
Dependent Personality Disorder – exhibiting a pattern of submissive and dependent behavior, relying on others to make their decisions for them; requiring excessive reassurance and easily hurt by criticism with a strong fear of rejection.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder – striving for perfection, never satisfied with their achievements; orderly and methodical but inflexible and unable to adapt to changing situations.
Personality Disorder Treatment
Psychosocial therapies are the most effective treatment for these disorders. When an individual is seeking treatment and is motivated to change, both individual and group psychotherapy can be effective in addressing the disorder. Medications may help control specific symptoms in certain cases, to control anxiety or depression, for example. However, the personality disorders themselves are typically not responsive to drugs.
Complicating treatment options are disorders that may co-occur, such as substance use disorders, eating disorders, depressive disorders, or anxiety. These conditions will need to be treated together to address the symptoms of each.
The first step in personality disorder treatment is to help the individual recognize that their issues are not caused by anything external, but rather by their own internal traits. Then it is necessary to reduce the distress caused by the disorder.
The mental health professional will work with the individual to help decrease the behaviors that are considered to be socially undesirable and that keep them from being able to adapt to social settings appropriately. Therapy can also aid in modifying the personality traits that are causing problems for the individual and for those around them.
Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE
If you are experiencing personality disorder symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.
At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.