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Personality Disorders Overview

Personality disorders are mental disorders that can be debilitating to a person‘s life. Personality disorders are generally lifelong conditions that interfere with a person’s way of thinking. A person with a personality disorder may interpret situations differently than a person without a personality disorder. It can also interfere with a person’s ability to have healthy, meaningful relationships with others.

Personality disorders are more common than most people may think. A study in 2007 estimates that 1 out of every 11 people or approximately 9 percent of people in the United States has some type of personality disorder. The causes of personality disorders are not entirely clear, but doctors believe a person’s childhood, genes or specific events contribute to the issue. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the symptoms and the type of disorder. A person can seek help from a family doctor or specialist who may choose to prescribe therapy, prescription drugs or rehab centers.

Symptoms of Personality Disorders

A person may not recognize the symptoms of personality disorders right away. Often times, a loved one or family doctor may need to inform a person that they show signs of a personality disorder. One common symptom is a person having a low self-esteem. Having a low self-esteem can result in a person being incapable of maintaining healthy relationships. Impulsive behavior is another key sign. This behavior may be noticed in a person’s adolescence. It is often shrugged off or chalked up to youthful behavior. Impulsive behavior can be anything from exorbitant shopping sprees, alcohol or substance abuse and reckless driving.

Once symptoms are recognized, a doctor will generally refer the patient to a specialist who can make a diagnosis. Doctors will most likely conduct a series of blood tests and a complete physical before the referral process. A psychiatrist or psychologist will administer a psychological evaluation to determine a patient’s mental health status. The evaluation will include detailed information about when symptoms started and how severe they are. Severity is often judged by how the symptoms affect daily life functions. A doctor will also ask a patient if they have thought about suicide or harming themselves or others. Anybody from any walk of life can suffer from a personality disorder. Patients at high risk may be placed in rehab centers or psychiatric hospitals for their own safety.

Causes of Personality Disorders

The causes of personality disorders are generally attributed to something that happened during a person’s childhood. A person’s home environment is likely to play a role in the development of a number of known personality disorders. Traumatic events like the loss of a parent or sibling, physical, sexual or emotional abuse and neglect may trigger the development of a mental disorder. Genes may play a role as well. Personality disorders are five times more common in people who have immediate family members who have a mental health disorder. Rehab centers can provide specialized therapy to help a patient work through the problems encountered during their childhood.

Prevention of personality disorders can be futile. Parents have the most control over a child’s environment and may be able to eliminate neglect or abuse that is known to cause a number of different personality disorders.

Effects of a Personality Disorder

Personality disorders can dramatically affect a person’s ability to function in a regular daily routine. The personality disorders will most likely cause a person to have a difficult time maintaining friendships or meeting new people. This can lead to a world of isolation that is unhealthy. The person may be unable to hold a regular job or even go to the grocery store without their disorder getting in the way. A short temper is also common to those suffering from a personality disorder. Things like nausea, vomiting and stomachaches during a perceived stressful situation are often seen in children.

A person suffering from one of these personality disorders is more likely to have a difficult time deciphering the emotions and feelings of another person. Their own low self-esteem may cause them to read more into innocent statements or actions by others. A person suffering from a personality disorder may interpret another person’s action of scratching their nose as an indication that they stink. Rehab centers can help a person express their emotions in a healthy manner as well as learn to cope with feelings that interfere with their daily lives.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are three personality disorders that are most common. They include obsessive compulsive disorder(OCD), antisocial disorder and paranoid personality disorder. Each disorder has its own unique set of symptoms that help a professional identify it. Rehab centers are often referred as a treatment option for these disorders.

OCD is an anxiety disorder that involves unwanted recurrent thoughts or repetitive behaviors. A person suffering OCD may need to close a door exactly three times to ensure it is closed or other similar routines. Rehab centers can help a person with OCD overcome their need to repeat such behaviors.

Antisocial disorder is a personality disorder that obstructs a person’s ability to handle social interactions appropriately. The disorder may also interfere with a person’s ability to determine the difference between right and wrong. Rehab centers are a treatment option for somebody diagnosed with this particular disorder.

Paranoid personality disorder causes a person to mistrust nearly every person and situation. The disorder can cause a person to be vigilant about their surroundings, constantly looking for an attack or some evidence to support their paranoid feelings. Rehab centers can help a person with paranoid personality disorder cope with these feelings and learn how to work past them.

Treatment for Personality Disorders

Rehab centers can provide a variety of services aimed at treating those suffering a number of personality disorders. Rehab centers can offer specialized care that is designed to treat each unique disorder. Doctors may recommend rehab centers in combination with prescription drugs to help manage the symptoms associated with the mental disorders.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is just one method rehab centers may use. This therapy method works to counteract a person’s emotions or reactions in a given situation. Rehab centers can help teach a patient how to recognize certain feelings that may be inappropriate or unwarranted. Professionals at these rehab centers teach patients a variety of techniques designed to lessen the unwanted responses.

There are a number of choices a person has when it comes to choosing between rehab centers. Some rehab centers may operate on an inpatient basis. The rehab centers become a patient’s full time home during their treatment period. 24 hour care and observation may be necessary for some. An outpatient option is another option when choosing between rehab centers. This would entail a person coming in for therapy and/or evaluation and then returning to their home. Some rehab centers may offer daycare for those who should not or cannot be left alone while a caregiver is at work.

Patients may be prescribed medication to help minimize the effects of their disorder. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications are often used. Rehab centers may help a person overcome their anxieties or obsessive compulsive tendencies by employing a variety of therapy methods. Therapy can help reduce a person’s reliance on prescription drugs.

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