A person’s personality consists of his feelings, thinking, and actions. Lifestyle is influenced by the environment, life experience, and genetically inherited characteristics. A person’s personality usually remains unchanged throughout life, but there are exceptions.
These are cases when a person suffers from a personality disorder, having a rigid and unhealthy model of thinking, functioning, and behavior. A person with a personality disorder has difficulty understanding the people around them and their relationship with them, as well as the situations in which they are. This means that his reactions can be dramatic, anxious, inhibited, or eccentric, that is, abnormal compared to what is expected from others. If the disorder is serious, it can cause serious problems and restrictions in relationships, social activities, work, or study.
Personality disorders begin in adolescence or early adulthood, but the diagnosis is made in the presence of a persistent pattern of internal experiences or behavior that significantly deviates from cultural norms. This pattern manifests itself either through behavior, or emotionally, or is aimed at controlling impulses or relationships with other people.
However, the consequences of these disorders can be prevented with the help of drug therapy or other treatment. There are also many types of personality disorders, some of which may become less obvious.
Studies show that personality disorders can occur due to a combination of inherited genes and due to early influences of the environment in which a person develops. Thus, painful childhood experiences such as abuse or neglect can lead to personality disorders.
There are 10 specific personality disorders, and psychiatrists use different diagnostic criteria for each disorder. Although some disorders have certain criteria that should manifest themselves from the very beginning of adulthood, to make a diagnosis, it is necessary to assess the features of human functioning throughout life.
Paranoid personality disorder.
It is difficult for people suffering from this disorder to admit something to other people, even to their friends. This is because it is very difficult for them to trust others, fearing that people will use them or information against them. This fear makes those who face paranoid disorder always defend themselves and keep a close eye on others for signs of betrayal or hostility.
These unfounded beliefs, as well as their habits of blaming and not believing, prevent them from building close or even viable relationships. People suffering from this disease usually suspect that their partners are cheating on them, so they can become very jealous and try to control the other person to avoid betrayal. At the same time, they have a very negative attitude to criticism, finding hidden meaning even in innocent statements.
Everyday situations in which others do not see danger can become a threat to their safety, preventing them from relaxing. Because they believe that they are always right and do not realize their mistakes. Those who suffer from this disorder often engage in controversial discussions and tend to develop prejudices against cultural, ethnic, or other groups.
Schizoid personality disorder.
People suffering from this disorder are not at all interested in establishing close relationships with others, including family. They feel that relationships interfere with their freedom and, as a rule, create problems. Therefore, they prefer to be alone with their thoughts and have little interest in sex and relationships.
These people do not enjoy life, so they may seem cold, devoid of emotions or humor. They may react inappropriately, losing the power of speech, even when they are praised or criticized. At the same time, it may seem that they lack motivation or purpose.
Unlike those who suffer from schizotypal personality disorder or schizophrenia, people from this category are in contact with reality and do not suffer from hallucinations or paranoia.
Schizotypal personality disorder.
It is difficult for people with a schizotypal personality disorder to build close relationships. They think and express themselves in a way that others find “strange” by using unusual words, phrases, or gestures. Also, the appearance can be bizarre or eccentric.
Sometimes they believe that they can read the thoughts of others or that they have special abilities, such as example, the “sixth sense”. People suffering from this disease are very anxious and paranoid in social situations. They have a limited set of emotions, preferring to always be alone. At the same time, when they are among people, they become suspicious, interpreting banal words as addressed directly to them.
Although people with this disorder may experience bouts of paranoia and hallucinations, they are not as long-lasting, frequent, and intense as people with schizophrenia.
Borderline personality disorder.
People suffering from this disorder often worry that others will abandon them and do everything to prevent it. They have very strong emotions that last from several hours to several days and can change quickly. These people do not have a firm opinion about who they are and what their values are, their opinion changes depending on the people around them.
This disorder causes people to act impulsively and overdo things that can harm them, such as unprotected sex, alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, or dangerous driving. They can often sabotage themselves, break off healthy relationships, or quit a good job.
These people may have episodes of several hours during which they lose touch with reality, then they are prone to suicidal thoughts or self-harming behavior, most of the time feeling empty inside and lonely.
People suffering from the borderline disorder can easily become sarcastic and harsh, it is difficult for them to control their anger, so it is difficult to maintain relationships with others. At the same time, they can go from one state to another in a few hours, feeling very happy, ashamed, annoyed, or anxious.
Hysterical personality disorder.
People suffering from this disorder feel very uncomfortable if they are not in the spotlight. Their well-being is ensured by the feeling that they are the “soul of the company” and demonstrate provocative behavior to stay in the field of view of others.
These people feel the need to entertain people, so they often behave dramatically, emotionally, as if they are presenting a show, but their emotions seem fake. They depend on the approval of others and depend a little on their opinion, so their mood changes quickly.
People with this disorder can be very sensitive to criticism or disapproval and can make hasty decisions without thinking about others. At the same time, due to their low tolerance for disappointment, they can start many projects without completing them.
Narcissistic personality disorder.
This disorder causes the person struggling with it to believe that there are reasons why he is more special, better, or just different from others. Because in fact, self-confidence is low and a person feels the need to overestimate himself at a certain level. Thus, those who face this disorder can constantly praise their intelligence, beauty, success, as well as humor, talents, the ability to sacrifice, and so on.
These people always need others to confirm their beliefs, feeling anxious if they are ignored or feel that they are not getting what they deserve. They put their own needs above the needs of others, using other people to satisfy their desires.
Antisocial personality disorder.
People suffering from this disorder often find themselves in dangerous situations, often without thinking about the consequences. They behave dangerously, and sometimes illegally, and at the same time do not feel guilty if they harm themselves or others.
Because they are bored, these people can act impulsively, steal or show aggression, and it is difficult for them to maintain relationships or work. They can manipulate, lie and hurt people to get what they want, putting their interests above others.
The mentality of these people, which may be a consequence of the violence suffered, is that only the strongest survive and that they must do everything necessary to lead a successful life.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.
The obsessive-compulsive disorder leads to a constant feeling that everything should be fine. People of this type put things symmetrically and keep everything under control. The strongest fears are associated with bacteria and germs, harming someone, making a mistake, or ridiculing the public.
People with this disorder set high, unrealistic standards for themselves and others. However, they constantly need support.
These people may have compulsive behavior, including repeatedly washing their hands, and body; repeatedly checking things such as locks, iron, and stove; collecting or accumulating things that have no personal or financial value; eating in a certain order; counting or repeating words during various activities; refusing to shake hands or touching objects that are often touched by other people; performing various actions a certain number of times.
People with OCD may also have tics – short repetitive movements such as blinking, shaking their head, shrugging their shoulders, and throat or nose sounds. People with this disorder are often aware of their problem, but they cannot stop it. Even recurrent diseases can be one of the provoking factors of obsessive-compulsive disorder when people are afraid of germs and bacteria.
Avoidant personality disorder.
People suffering from this disorder are most afraid of rejection and therefore avoid work or social activities that require cooperation with other people. They are always waiting for disapproval, and criticism and are very sensitive to them.
Other fears are the fear of being ridiculed or deceived by others, so they avoid relationships, friendship, and intimacy. This disorder makes people feel lonely, isolated, inferior compared to others, and reluctant to try new activities.
Dependent personality disorder.
People who face this disorder allow others to make decisions about their own lives, they agree with what they think is wrong, just so as not to be left alone. Therefore, they are considered passive and submissive.
In addition, people with this disorder do not trust themselves more than others. Because of this, they can quickly abandon their projects and decision-making. At the same time, to always have approval and not feel lonely, these people quickly look for new friends as soon as old friendships end.
Treatment of personality disorders
Most people suffering from these disorders are more likely to seek help if they are supported by family or friends. At the same time, many of them are looking for help on their own, which is also the first step.
As for children, parents and friends may become wary when they notice withdrawal from public life, poor school performance, and atypical behavior. Psychotherapy can help a lot at this stage by avoiding situations in which the child feels isolated and is subjected to verbal or physical violence because he is different from others.
Psychotherapy also helps adults, sometimes medication can help. However, there are also disorders, such as hysterical, in which the patient feels that he does not need treatment.
However, a person can integrate fairly well into society if he does not show serious symptoms, and some of the above disorders are more easily tolerated than others. However, psychotherapy is very important, its purpose is to help a person discover the causes associated with his behavior, and in the future learn to treat himself and others more positively.
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