Symptoms and Causes of Personality Disorders
Discover the types, causes, and symptoms of personality disorder and where to seek treatment in this comprehensive article.
Personality is how people think, feel, and behave, distinguishing them from others. An individual's personality tends to remain consistent throughout time. Experiences, environment (e.g., surroundings, life events), and genetic qualities all have an impact on personality.
Personality disorders can greatly alter and change a person’s personality in ways that do not align with standard, recognizable behaviors.
What Is a Personality Disorder?
It is a style of thinking, feeling, and acting that deviates from cultural standards, causes discomfort, interferes with functioning, and persists over time. Personality disorders are classified into ten separate disorders and can be chronic if not treated. They can have an impact on at least two of these areas:
Multiple Personality Disorder
Now called dissociative identity disorder (DID), multiple personality disorder is characterized by having two or more distinct identities. Both personalities cannot control the mind and body at once. Each identity has its own history, characteristics, preferences, and dislikes. DID can cause hallucinations and memory gaps.
Dissociative disorders are rare, occurring in 1% to 5% of the population worldwide, and severe cases occurring in 1% to 1.5% of the population.1
Types of Personality Disorders
There are ten types of personality disorders grouped into three categories, known as clusters, based on overall characteristics and symptoms. Many who suffer from one disorder also show symptoms of at least one other type. A condition does not have to display all of the mentioned signs and symptoms before determining a diagnosis.
Various types of personality disorders will be detailed below.
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Cluster A Personality Disorders
These disorders are characterized by eccentric and unconventional behaviors or conduct. The three cluster A personality disorders include:
Cluster B Personality Disorders
Cluster B describes highly emotional, dramatic, or unpredictable thought processes. Below includes the different types of cluster B personality disorders:
Cluster C Personality Disorders
People with cluster C personality disorders exhibit intense fear or anxiety. They include:
Personality Disorders Causes and Risk Factors
The causes and risk factors associated with personality disorders will be discussed further below.
Research suggests that specific genes are responsible for personality disorders. Particularly, genes linked to aggression, anger, and fear are deemed to play a vital role in the development of these disorders.
Variations and differences in brain structure and chemistry have been identified as causes of personality disorder. They have been proven to affect personality and hormone imbalances.
One study has found a significant connection between traumatic experiences and personality disorders. Researchers discovered that BPD was present in patients who reported the highest rate of trauma, especially childhood sexual abuse, the youngest age of traumatic exposure, and the highest rate of posttraumtic stress disorder (PTSD). In addition, more severe personality disorders were linked to higher rates of physical assault and multiple types of trauma.3
Research suggests that abuse, specifically verbal abuse, experienced during childhood significantly impacts the chance of developing a personality disorder. One study found that children who were verbally abused are three times more likely to develop BPD, narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, or paranoid personality disorder as adults.4
Environmental, Cultural, and Social Factors
Environmental, social, and cultural variables can affect the development of personality disorders.
Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorder
Each personality disorder category has unique indicators and symptoms. Nonetheless, personality disorders generally involve the following:
Because of their problematic beliefs, thought processes, and actions, people with personality disorders find it difficult to build deep and peaceful relationships with others. Emotional disconnect, lack of empathy or regard for others, and extreme demand for attention and care are all characteristics that impact their ability to form healthy relationships.
Individuals with personality disorders usually lack a clear image of themselves and struggle with their identity. They may commonly change or alter their personality or identity depending on the people around them or their environment. Their self-esteem levels are usually exaggerated, either high or low.
Common symptoms of various personality disorders will be further explained below.
Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder may include:
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms
Symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder may include:
Symptoms of Multiple Personality Disorder
Symptoms of multiple personality disorder can include:
Other Personality Disorder Symptoms
Some other signs of personality disorder may include:
Treatment for Personality Disorder
It is critical to recognize that personality disorders are mental health conditions. Seeking care as soon as symptoms occur, like any mental health disorder, can help reduce the problems and symptoms the patient faces. Personality disorder treatment regimens designed by mental health specialists can assist you in managing your thoughts and actions. Below are some of the most common and effective personality disorder treatment options.
Psychotherapy involves therapeutic strategies adopted to help identify and alter upsetting thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Also known as talk therapy, it is proven to aid in the management of personality disorders.
The key objectives of psychotherapy are:
Currently, there are presently no medications licensed to treat any personality condition. Nonetheless, medications used for other mental health disorders are commonly prescribed to help alleviate various symptoms of personality disorders, such as:
Inpatient/Residential Treatment Programs
Many inpatient centers offer treatment programs for personality disorders. Residential programs involve the patients living at the facility for the duration of their treatment, offering twenty-four-seven care and support. This treatment option provides a safe and positive environment to help people in the best way possible.
Finding Help at Ripple Ranch Recovery
Ripple Ranch Recovery is a high-quality mental care and treatment center offering evidence-based and holistic services for various personality disorders. We are here to help and support you every step of the way. Contact us at Ripple Ranch Recovery today to learn more about our programs and begin your treatment journey.