An Introduction to Personality Disorders
About one out of 11 American adults suffers from a personality disorder that causes problems in their lifestyle and work. These disorders cause issues with antisocial behavior, neurotic thinking, social withdrawal and more, resulting in a broad reduction in quality of life and productivity. Below is more information about personality disorders.
What Are Personality Disorders?
Personality disorders involve a continual pattern of behavior and thinking that causes significant disruption in a person’s life. In some cases, personality disorders involve serious antisocial behavior against others without forethought or remorse. Other times, personality disorders involve preoccupations with fears of abandonment, magical thoughts or fantasy to the point of reduced functioning in the world. Many people have one or more symptoms associated with personality disorders, but diagnoses are only supposed to be made when a patient suffers from a specified number of symptoms associated with a particular personality disorder.
Symptoms of Personality Disorders
Each personality disorder has characteristics specific to it, but several personality disorders share certain features, such as social withdrawal. However, the way these features are framed is different. For example, individuals with schizoid personality disorder avoid others due to indifference, but those with schizotypal personality disorder stay away from people because of mistrust.
Avoidant Personality Disorders
Avoidant individuals suffer from many of the same issues as people who are shy, but they are more serious. For example, avoidant personality disorder involves extreme sensitivity to rejection that leads to avoidance from social interaction. When social interaction does occur, an avoidant person’s negative self-image sabotages the interaction and reinforces the disorder. This cyclical pattern of thinking and behavior is typical of all personality disorders.
Multiple Personality Disorders
Multiple personality disorder has been popularized in books and movies and may be one of the best-known personality disorders. Individuals who suffer from multiple personality disorder, also known as dissociative personality disorder, have two or more distinct identities and have no awareness of the ones that aren’t currently present. To diagnose this disorder, psychiatrists rule out other issues, such as substance abuse or epilepsy, which could also explain the symptoms.
With such high prevalence of personality disorders, many people are bound to wonder whether they might have a personality disorder. Fortunately, visiting a psychiatrist might not be necessary at first. Instead, patients can take a personality disorders test to identify issues. If there is a cause for concern, a consultation with a psychologist can be scheduled.