Personality disorders affect how a person thinks and behaves, making it hard for them to live a normal life. They are very deep-rooted, so hard to treat, but people can be helped to manage their difficulties. Personality disorder is a controversial diagnosis. There are no accurate figures, but an estimated 10% of the general population have some kind of personality disorder.
Our personality is the way we think and feel and behave. Some people think and feel and behave in ways that make it very difficult for them to get on with other people and cope with ordinary life. They may have difficulty controlling their feelings and behaviour and may get very angry and distressed and hurt themselves or other people. These people are often diagnosed with a personality disorder.
People diagnosed with personality disorder may also be very inflexible – they may have a narrow range of attitudes, behaviours and coping mechanisms which they can’t change easily, if at all. They may not understand why they need to change, as they do not feel they have a problem.
People with personality disorders may find it difficult:
- To make or keep relationships
-To get on with people at work
- To get on with friends and family
-To keep out of trouble
-To control their feelings or behaviour.
Personality disorders in children or adolescents are sometimes called conduct disorders. However most conduct disorders in children do not necessarily lead to personality disorders in adulthood.
The causes of personality disorders are not fully known. Possible causes include trauma in early childhood such as abuse, violence, inadequate parenting and neglect. Neurological and genetic factors may also play a part.
Very little research has been undertaken into treatments for personality disorder. What we do know is that most forms of personality disorder can be managed, but no single treatment or management strategy will be effective in all cases.