Do you know someone who always seems to struggle in their relationships no matter how hard they try? Perhaps this person is you. Even though you strive to have good connections with others, it seems your relationships are always in turmoil. While some people are known for being naturally “difficult,” it’s possible you could suffer from a personality disorder.
If you have a personality disorder, you likely have more rigid thinking and reacting behaviors that make it harder to adapt to situations. These behaviors can make it difficult to get along with others, causing problems in your personal, professional and social life. Let’s learn more about personality disorders, the symptoms to be aware of and what you can do to improve your relationships.
What are Personality Disorders?
A personality disorder is more than just having a bad day. It is a behavioral pattern that occurs over a long period. The symptoms of personality disorders typically appear in your late teens or early 20s, though they can be overshadowed by “normal teenage behavior.” Researchers believe about 10 percent of the U.S. population has a personality disorder.
According to a major study, the most common personality disorder is obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. The second most common is narcissistic personality disorder, followed by borderline personality disorder. Each disorder has different symptoms and treatment options, so it’s important to be diagnosed appropriately.
There are ten personality disorders recognized in the DSM-5, and they fall into one of the following categories:
- Cluster A. These disorders are characterized by odd and eccentric thinking and behavior. They include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.
- Cluster B. Cluster B disorders involve dramatic or erratic thinking and behavior. They include antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.
- Cluster C. Characterized by anxious and fearful thinking and behavior, Cluster C disorders include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
What are the Main Symptoms of Personality Disorders?
Since there are many types of personality disorders, the symptoms can vary widely. For example, if you have obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, you may have trouble working with others and being flexible. If you have histrionic personality disorder, you may seek attention and engage in inappropriate behaviors to gain praise or approval.
No matter which personality disorder you have, all of them affect how you cope with life and manage your relationships. It’s also possible to have a personality disorder alongside other mental conditions like depression, anxiety or substance use.
Here are some general symptoms that could indicate a personality disorder:
- Trouble getting along with others
- Difficulty starting and keeping relationships
- Difficulty controlling or managing emotions
- Self-medicating with drugs or alcohol
- Strong feelings of fear and anxiety
- Unclear view of oneself
- Trouble in social situations
- Unable to relate to others
Best Treatment Options for Personality Disorders
As with other mental disorders, personality disorders are treatable. Specific treatment for each personality disorder depends on your age, health and medical history, as well as the presence of co-occurring conditions. Generally speaking, therapy and medications treat personality disorders.
Psychotherapy can help you learn about your condition and teach you healthy ways to cope with stress. You may also benefit from group therapy or sessions that include friends and family, as this gives you opportunities to interact with others in a controlled setting. Your care team may also recommend social skills training and family therapy.
As far as medications go, several types of drugs can treat your symptoms, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic medications and anti-anxiety medications.
Seek Treatment for Your Personality Disorder
To learn more about treating a personality disorder, contact Awakenings Treatment Center. Our dual diagnosis treatment center works with all types of mental health and substance use disorders. We maintain a caring, compassionate and supportive environment where clients thrive and learn essential life skills, social skills and coping skills. Start your recovery today.