“Personality disorder” is a blanket term that refers to a range of mental disorders that are characterised by persistent difficulties in behaving, thinking and feeling in a way that is consistent with accepted norms. People with personality disorders typically experience huge stress around them, and are sometimes unable to work or form normal friendly or romantic relationships.

Up to 60% of psychiatric patients have been diagnosed as having a personality disorder. Examples of personality disorders including borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.

These disorders can occur with varying severity. In some people they may be relatively mild, while in others they are so severe that living a normal life is an enormous challenge. Some people with personality disorders get involved in self-harm or self-damaging behaviours.

Personality disorders can be associated with other problems, such as substance abuse – perhaps in an attempt to “self-medicate”, and problems of stress and depression, as the sufferer struggles to understand why life is so hard for them, and why others just don’t understand what they are going through.

It is often hard, even impossible, to understand why some people develop personality disorder, and there may be multiple contributing factors, including – but not limited to – trauma, abuse, and genetic predisposition.

Treating personality disorders

Personality disorders might not be “cured”, but they can be treated, and psychotherapy can make a huge difference in terms of how effectively and well a personality disorder can be managed. Treatments can include psychodynamic therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy to help the individual involved to understand the root of their difficulties, identity triggers to unhelpful behaviours, and learn better coping mechanisms. These therapies can also help them to build more positive behaviours in the context of their relationships with others.

Psychotherapy can also be offered in conjunction with medication that helps to manage the more distressing and difficult symptoms. In the process of therapy, patients can learn how to proactively adapt their behaviours and reactions so as to register more effective responses to the people around them, enhancing their chances of becoming more able to lead happy, productive, positive lives.

If you would like to talk to someone about personality disorders, please get in touch with us at the Private Therapy Clinic by telephone at: 020 81507563 or by email to: info@privatetherapyclinic.com

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