People with personality disorders often have trouble realizing that they have a problem because they aren’t aware of other ways of thinking. They may try therapy for different reasons, usually because of issues with relationships and work.
Treatment usually includes talk therapy and sometimes medicine. At SoCal Mental Health, our Orange County mental health treatment provides comprehensive treatment for various personality disorders and uses evidence-based modalities and profiles from up-to-date evaluation tools to tailor the most effective treatment plans.
Personality disorders represent a group of psychiatric conditions that involve long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are detrimental to one’s well-being. Friendships, family relations, and careers can all be affected by behavior that is hard to control and resistant to change. The stresses of everyday life can cause the expression of symptoms that are difficult to predict or suppress.
While the cause of personality disorders is not known, evidence suggests genetics may play a part in their development. The LGBTQ+ community can be at greater risk of developing personality disorders, specifically borderline personality disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder
People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) may experience intense mood swings and feel uncertain about who they are and what their place is in the world. Consequently, their interests and values can shift quickly.
People with BPD also tend to view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad. How they feel about someone may change from one minute to the next. Friends one day may become strangers the next.
The constant change in feelings can lead to unstable relationships. They can also experience an overwhelming fear of abandonment and may engage in risky and impulsive behaviors. Skills-based treatment approaches such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) are effective in coping with BPD.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a psychological disorder characterized by fantasies of power or importance, a disproportionate sense of self-worth, and a need for admiration or special treatment from others. People with NPD have trouble empathizing with others and tend to focus all of their attention on themselves and what they want. They may set unrealistic goals and exaggerate their accomplishments and abilities.
Impulsivity and an unwillingness to take full responsibility for one’s actions can complicate their relationships with others, which are often one-sided and lack a deep connection. Those with NPD may be envious of others or exploit them for personal gain. Beneath the negative behavior is a feeling of insecurity and, with proper treatment, many clients are able to make significant positive changes in their life and build healthier relationships.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Paranoid Personality Disorder (PPD) is defined by intense mistrust and suspicion of others that can warp thoughts and actions in everyday life. A person with PPD is hypervigilant, always on-guard for any indication that someone is trying to hurt or deceive them. They may question the trustworthiness of the people around them, no matter how irrational their fears may be.
Some sufferers report feeling they’re being targeted or persecuted for something they never did. They may feel rejected, respond with angry outbursts, or try to find someone to blame. Fear and distrust make creating and maintaining relationships difficult.
The symptoms can affect the person’s ability to function at home or work. Due to the nature of the disorder and the lack of trust, many people with PPD do not seek treatment. However, those that receive treatment and therapy are able to learn how to develop coping skills, reduce anxiety, and improve trust.
Schizoid Personality Disorder
Schizoid Personality Disorder is a rare condition identified by a pattern of social detachment. People with the condition tend to avoid contact with others. Seeming aloof or blunted, they tend to avoid social interaction.
A person with schizoid personality disorder often prefers being a loner and they may build lives for themselves that minimize their contact with other people. Despite the similar-sounding name, people living with schizoid personality disorders do not have the same delusions and hallucinations seen in schizophrenia. They generally think and speak clearly but simply prefer solidarity.
Consequently, people with this disorder can find successful careers in positions that allow them to work independently, such as librarians or laboratory technicians. With professional help, people with schizoid personality disorder can plan and lead productive peaceful lives.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
People with Schizotypal Personality Disorder have difficulty with social situations, such as identifying social cues and interpreting events. A high level of social anxiety marks this disorder. People with the condition may infer harmful intent behind otherwise benign statements or interactions.
The emotions they display may come off as flat or inappropriate in the context of a situation. They may have few relationships outside of their immediate family. Schizotypal personalities can hold eccentric beliefs or exhibit unusual patterns of speech. Treatment by psychiatric professionals is usually geared toward relieving the intense symptoms of social anxiety.
Histrionic Personality Disorder
Also commonly known as Dramatic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) centers around attention-seeking behavior and exaggerated emotionality. Those with the condition tend to be outwardly volatile, excitable, and dramatic.
Not having the focus on them can be uncomfortable and they may employ strategies of seduction or provocation to remain the center of attention. Psychotherapy that is encouraging, reassuring, and supportive aimed at diminishing emotional distress has the best outcomes.
Treatment for Personality Disorders
Personality disorders do not typically go away without help, but recovery can be found with proper treatment. Treatment for personality disorders depends on the particular type of personality disorder and symptoms that are currently present. An individualized treatment plan can be developed with collaboration of the client and clinical team to best fit client needs.
Psychotherapy (“talk therapy”) is used when treating personality disorders as well as a wide range of mental health disorders. A type of psychotherapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), was specifically developed for people with borderline personality disorder, but now is used to treat personality disorders and other mental health disorders. Psychotherapy can be conducted in an individual, group, couple, or family setting with a therapist.
Medication-Assisted Treatment can be used in addition to psychotherapy to help treat personality disorder symptoms. Medication is prescribed as needed based on diagnosis and symptoms. Mental health professionals and the medical director will help determine if medication is a necessary part of the customized treatment plan.
Holistic Therapy can be used as a complementary method along with traditional treatments and therapies. These modalities focus on improving overall wellbeing as well as personality disorders. Which holistic methods are used in the treatment plan is dependent on the collaborative effort between the client and clinical team.
Types of Holistic Therapies offered:
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
- Yoga Therapy
- Art Therapy
How We Can Help
Personality disorders exist along a spectrum, and each person living with one has their own unique story. At SoCal Mental Health, our goal is to remove judgment and prejudice altogether by focusing on the truly important things–you and your healing process. You can regain your independence and lead a healthy, happy life by getting the treatment and care you deserve.