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Personality Disorders

Purely in England there are approximately 5% of the population or 1 in 20 people suffer from a Personality Disorder.


Individual problems are where a person varies considerably from an ordinary individual, in regards to just how they think, perceive, feel or associate with others.  We aren't sure what causes Personality Disorder's.  Sometimes the Root Causes can be linked right back to earlier Abuse or Trauma.  Another cause of Personality Disorders can be linked to poor bonding, attachment or caring, by significant parent or carer.  Bereavement or divorce or other reactions to trauma can also trigger Personality Disorders.


Differences in how a person really feels and distorted beliefs regarding other individuals can result in odd practices, which can be upsetting and may disturb others.

All Personality Disorders consist of:


  • being overwhelmed by negative sensations such as distress, anxiousness, unimportance or bad temper and also feeling empty
  • staying clear of other people and also sensation empty and also psychologically detached
  • trouble managing bad sensations without self-harming (for e.g. drugs, alcohol, or overdosing) or, in rarely, threatening other people
  • problems maintaining close partnerships, with partners, kids, family, friends, therapists and carers
  • occasionally losing sense of reality
  • very odd, dramatic or eccentric behaviour 

Other signs and symptoms:
Individuals often experience other mental health challenges, e.g. Depression, Acute Anxiety or Panic.  People can also suffer with Delusions (unreal strong thoughts and beliefs) and/or Hallucinations (seeing or hearing voices or other things that other people cannot see or hear), as well as substance misuse.

Why problems occur:
Personality Disorders, usually emerge in teenagers and proceed into adult years. They are mild to extreme, and individuals may have periods of "remission" where they are well.


Conditions may be hereditary or observed, or experiences of Anxiety during youth: neglect, abuse.

Different types of Personality Disorder are recognised into groups. They have been grouped into one of 3 Categories A, B or C, as follows:


Cluster A - Suspicious type


These have a tendency to have challenges relating to others and normally reveals patterns of behaviour which seem odd or eccentric. Others may describe them as living in a dream world. An example is Paranoid Personality Disorder, where the individual is extremely distrustful as well as suspicious.


Paranoid Personality Disorder

  • find it hard to confide in people, even your friends and family
  • find it very difficult to trust other people, believing they will use you or take advantage of you
  • have difficulty relaxing
  • read threats and danger (which others don't see) into everyday situations, innocent remarks or casual looks from others


Schizoid Personality Disorder

  • find difficulty forming close relationships with other people
  • choose to live your life without interference from others
  • prefer to be alone with your own thoughts
  • not experience pleasure from many activities
  • have little interest in sex or intimacy
  • have difficulty relating to or are emotionally cold towards others


Schizotypal Personality Disorder

  • experience distorted thoughts or perceptions 
  • find making close relationships extremely difficult
  • think and express yourself in ways that others find 'odd', using unusual words or phrases, making relating to others difficult
  • believe that you can read minds or that you have special powers such as a 'sixth sense'
  • feel anxious and tense with others who do not share these beliefs
  • feel very anxious and paranoid in social situations, finding it hard to relate to others


Cluster B – Emotional and Impulsive type

This person battles to control their feelings as well as swings moods between favourable and unfavourable views of others. This causes patterns of behaviour others think are remarkable, uncertain and disturbing.  An instance is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD), where the individual is psychologically unpredictable, has impulses to self-harm, as well as has extreme and unstable relationships with others.


Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

  • put yourself in dangerous or risky situations, often without thinking about the consequences for yourself or other people
  • behave dangerously and sometimes illegally (you may have a criminal record)
  • behave in ways that are unpleasant for others
  • feel very easily bored and act on impulse – for example, you may find it difficult to hold down a job for long
  • behave aggressively and get into fights easily
  • do things even though they may hurt people – to get what you want, putting your needs and desires above other people's
  • have problems with empathy – for example, you may not feel or show any sense of guilt if you have mistreated others
  • have had a diagnosis of conduct disorder before the age of 15


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (also known as EUPD - Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder)

  • feel very worried about people abandoning you, and either do anything to stop that happening or push them away
  • have very intense emotions that can change quickly (for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon)
  • not have a strong sense of who you are or what you want from life, with your ideas about this changing significantly depending on who you're with
  • find it very hard to make and keep stable relationships or friendships
  • act impulsively and do things that could harm you (such as binge eating, using drugs or driving dangerously)
  • have suicidal thoughts
  • self-harm
  • feel empty and lonely a lot of the time
  • get very angry, and struggle to control your anger
  • struggle to trust other people
  • experience other mental health problems alongside BPD, including anxiety, depression, eating problems and post-traumatic stress disorder


Histrionic Personality Disorder

  • feel very uncomfortable if you are not the centre of attention
  • feel that you have to entertain people
  • strive to always be a 'people pleaser'
  • constantly seek, or feel dependent on, the approval of others
  • make rash decisions
  • flirt or behave/dress provocatively to ensure that you remain the centre of attention
  • get a reputation for being dramatic and overemotional
  • be easily influenced by others


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • believe that there are special reasons that make you different, better or more deserving than others
  • have fragile self-esteem, so that you rely on others to recognise your worth and your needs
  • feel upset if others ignore you and don't give you what you feel you deserve
  • resent other people's successes
  • put your own needs above other people's, and demand that you do too
  • be seen as selfish and dismissive or unaware of other people's need
  • there is often an element of control, of finances, socialising with family and friend
  • also 'gas lighting’, claiming they did not say or do what you know they said or did


Cluster C – Anxious type

This person battles with persistent and overwhelming feelings of fear and anxiety. They reveal behaviour lots of people would certainly regard as antisocial as well as withdrawn.  An instance is Avoidant Personality Disorder, where the person appears timid, socially inhibited, really feels unworthy and is conscious of rejection. The person does not have confidence and self-esteem to form close relationships.


Avoidant Personality Disorder

  • avoid work or social activities that mean you must be with others
  • expect disapproval and criticism and be very sensitive to it
  • worry constantly about being 'found out as a fake' and rejected
  • worry about being ridiculed or shamed by others
  • avoid relationships, friendships and intimacy because you fear rejection
  • feel lonely and isolated, and inferior to others
  • be reluctant to try new activities in case you embarrass yourself


Dependent Personality Disorder

  • feel needy, 'weak' and unable to make decisions or function day-to-day without help or support from others
  • allow or require others to assume responsibility for many areas of your life
  • agree to things you feel are wrong or you dislike to avoid being alone or losing someone's support
  • be very afraid of being left to fend for yourself
  • have low self-confidence
  • see other people as being much more capable than you are


Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (OCPD)

  • need to keep everything in order and under control
  • set unrealistically high standards for yourself and others
  • think yours is the best and only way of doing things
  • worry about you or others making mistakes
  • feel very anxious if things aren't 'perfect'


Overall Outlook

Around 1 in 20 people have a Personality Disorder.  Many people are only mildly affected now and then (e.g. bereavement, divorce, etc).  Only some people need in-depth or Professional Psychotherapy Support, but it is proven that simple Counselling does not work.  The latest method we integrate into our Psychotherapies is DBT (Dialectic Behavioural Therapy), which is an advanced form of CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy).  Often we find advanced Clinical Hypnotherapy to be useful, especially in cases of Anxiety, OCD, Depression, Confidence etc.

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