An individual’s personality is defined by how he interacts with society, his ability to maintain a healthy relationship with others, his self-esteem, and more. Those who have problems relating to others or to situations may be suffering from a mental illness called Personality Disorder. They may not realize they have this condition because how they think and what they do seems natural to them and it is others who are creating problems in their life. They may be inflexible in their thinking, unbending in what they believe, and this causes difficulties when fitting in with society in general. Their behavior is out of the norm and their daily lives are, (both private and public) are a constant struggle. Children do not reach mental maturity until their late teen years or early adulthood and as a result this illness is not discovered until this time.
Personality disorders are divided into three groups, depending on their similarities. The first group includes those who are “odd or eccentric”. They tend to be “paranoid”, i.e. tend to have groundless suspicions of others, “schizoid”, i.e. not interested in intermingling with others, or “Schizotypal”, i.e. their behavior and thinking is bizarre.
The next group is classified as “dramatic, emotional, or erratic “ and is subdivided into four categories: “Antisocial” disorder in which the individual doesn’t care about the rights of others or the rules of society; “Borderline” disorder in which the individual is unable to maintain an established relationship with others and is extreme in his thinking and behavior; “Histrionic” disorder in which the individual is an attention seeker, particularly in a seductive manner unsuitable for general society; “Narcissistic” disorder in which the individual has no compassion or empathy for others, is impressed with himself, and needs attention from others.
The third group is classified as “anxious or fearful”, and further divided into three groups: “Avoidant” personality disorder in which the person has low self-esteem, and is very sensitive to criticism; “Dependent personality disorder” in which the person is psychologically dependent on others; and “Obsessive-compulsive” personality disorder in which the individual shows a strict obedience to rules, moral codes and order.”
The exact cause of personality disorders is not known, but the illness begins in childhood and can last a lifetime. Certain pressures in childhood seem to intensify the danger of developing personality disorders. Probable causes might include a family history of mental illness, family financial difficulties, abuse or neglect as a child, death of a parent or a stressful divorce during childhood. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, suicidal behavior, cutting, problems in school, and more can be caused by this illness.
The main treatment for personality disorders is psychotherapy, although in some cases medication and hospitalization is applied. For further information please consult the sources listed below. For more information on personality disorders visit the Mayo Clinic website: www.mayoclinic.com/health/personality–disorders/DS00562
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