Personality disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions marked by chronic behavior patterns that cause serious problems with relationships and work.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
People with personality disorders have difficulty dealing with everyday stresses and problems, and they often have stormy relationships with others. These conditions vary from mild to severe and tend to be difficult to treat.
The exact cause of personality disorders is unknown. However, numerous genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role.
Symptoms vary widely depending on the specific type of personality disorder.
Signs and tests
Personality disorders are diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation and the history and severity of the symptoms. Currently, mental health professionals categorize these disorders into the following subtypes:
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Schizoid personality disorder
- Schizotypal personality disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Histrionic personality disorder
- Narcissistic personality disorder
- Avoidant personality disorder
- Dependent personality disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder
People with these disorders usually do not seek treatment on their own. No single type of medication or therapy has been shown to be consistently effective in treating personality disorders.
The outlook varies. Some personality disorders diminish during middle age without any treatment, while others persist throughout life despite treatment.
- Problems with interpersonal relationships
- Problems with career
- Other psychiatric disorders
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider or mental health professional if you or someone close to you has symptoms of a personality disorder.
by Janet G. Derge, M.D.
All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.