personality disorder

Personality Disorders: Definition, Causes and symptoms

What is Personality Disorders?

Mental illnesses vary, some are extreme and prolonged, while others are recurring but mild. Differences in consistency and severity set the types of mental illness apart from each other. Personality disorders are a kind of mental illness. They are focused on, but not specifically confined to, the behavior of the individual. While most mental illnesses have many symptoms in common, they are different by contrast and degree.

Differences Between Mental Illness and Personality Disorder:

Personality disorders fall under a class of mental illness that is recognizable by patterns in human behavior. These patterns are out of the ordinary. In comparison to what most people would normally do in their culture, a person with a personality disorder feels, thinks, perceives, and relates differently. This different behavior is usually obvious, either because of its extremity in nature or lack of extremities. A person suffering from this kind of condition is capable of working and forming relationships, but with difficulty.

Everyone has their own personality; it is what makes you unique. Personalities are, to some extent shaped by your upbringing. Until the end of the 19th century it was believed that your personality was set as a young person and could not be changed. However, it is now apparent that your personality will evolve over time, there are many ways you can help yourself to improve your personality and have, what is seen as; a good personality. This is generally defined as a personality which is appealing to others and makes you likeable, interesting and enjoyable to be with. Whilst there are steps which can be taken to improve your personality this does not necessarily help those with a personality disorder.

Personality Disorders Causes:

The cause of a personality disorder is still being researched. There is some genetic evidence to suggest that obsessive compulsive disorders are caused by an abnormality in your genes; which would make it very difficult, if not impossible to change. The majority of research points towards environmental factors causing, or increasing the likelihood of developing a disorder, such as:

  • Abuse or neglect as a child;
  • Family history of personality disorders • Unstable family life, or even simply a chaotic family life during your early years;
  • Significant trauma; this is usually an incident when you are young but significant trauma can affect adults as well.

Personality Disorders Symptoms:

Personality disorders have, historically, been classed as a category of mental disorders. However, as governments have added regulations allowing those of unsound mind; namely a threat to themselves or others, to be incarcerated, it has become essential to decide when a personality disorder is also a mental disorder. This is a difficult and complex subject and one that does not, yet, have a definitive answer. Someone with a personality disorder will display long-term patterns of unhealthy, rigid behaviors and thoughts. The condition will cause significant impairment in a person’s life, affecting many aspects including social, personal, and work. Perhaps the most obvious feature of these disorders is the noticeable negative effect they have on peoples’ relationships with others. Someone with a personality disorder is likely to display some, or all of the following symptoms:

  • Mood swings
  • Extreme dependency on other people
  • Difficulty controlling their response to any situation
  • Angry outbursts
  • Suspicious of others
  • Difficulty maintaining a relationship due to constant conflict
  • Struggle to make friends
  • A need to be satisfied instantly
  • Social isolation
  • A love of themselves, above anything else.

Many people display some or all of these traits and do not have a personality disorder; this is because they are typically not diagnosed until you are in your 20sor 30s. Until this point you may have the symptoms but it will not be significantly impairing your everyday life. People who have personality disorders are not able to function in their lives as others can; this is because the behavioral patterns will be extreme and they will be unable to change them. There are treatment options but these disorders are very hard or sometimes even impossible to cure. More often than not, individuals refuse to believe that they have a disorder; which causes them to resist treatment.