Understanding and Dealing With Personality Disorders

Drama queen. Diva. Recluse. Fanatically paranoid. Do any of these words describe you or anyone you know? That may point towards what is called a personality disorder.

Understanding personality disorder

Our personality makes us who we are. It outlines a pattern of beliefs, behaviors, feelings and thoughts that showcase our individuality as persons. In normal situations, our personality changes as we grow and mature. We learn how to better relate with people, express our feelings and opinions so that we can more effectively connect with people around us – loved ones, friends and colleagues. Our growth and maturity help us adapt to our situation and cope with life in general.

However, those with personality disorder have a distinct difficulty being flexible and changing and learning. Instead, the thought patterns, belief patterns and behavioral patterns are inflexible and deeply ingrained. They tend to hold tightly onto their beliefs and behaviors, plus their narrow view of society and the world.

As a result, they are less able to relate with the people around them and they find it more difficult to cope with everyday life. Those with personality disorder have difficulty maintaining relationships and may need the help of Utah counseling to become more self-aware and to grow and mature.

Those with personality disorder can be characterized by the following:
–    Impulsive outbursts of temper
–    Repeated and frequent mood swings
–    Difficulty controlling impulses, making him prone to substance or alcohol abuse
–    Seclusion from others or withdrawal from social situations
–    Difficulty bonding with others
–    Excessive suspicion of situations and other people

Utah counselors can point out to a number of personality disorders, which can be grouped into three major categories (odd or eccentric, emotional and impulsive, and suspicious or anxious):

Odd or Eccentric Personality Disorders
–  Paranoid Personality Disorder. Everything and everyone is treated with suspicion and mistrust. People close to them and around them are constantly seen as condescending, unfaithful, manipulative, threatening, deceitful or malicious. Because of their suspicion, they tend to be on their guard, hostile and emotionally withdrawn.
–  Schizoid Personality Disorder. Those with this personality disorder have difficulty forging relationships with those around them. Social relationships (as well as intimacy) tend to be seen as annoyances and are avoided at all costs. According to Provo counselors, schizoid personalities can be characterized as being distant, emotionally cold and withdrawn. They can be considered socially inept and can’t understand or grasp normal social cues.
–  Schizotypal Personality Disorder. These can be classified as “weird” or overly eccentric – in the way they dress, act or speak. They also miss normal social cues and don’t react as expected. Forging close relationships will be difficult as they have difficulty holding a conversation. They may also make use of “special powers” such as the ability to control other people’s actions, read their minds or see the future.

Emotional or Impulsive Personality Disorders
–  Narcissistic Personality Disorder. With these, it’s all “me, myself and I”. Those with narcissistic personality disorder are overly self-absorbed, selfish and have entitlement issues. They may also oscillate between feelings of grandeur (exaggerating one’s ability and attractiveness) and insecurity (feeling that others are not “admiring” enough”). They tend to get resentful and angry when people don’t toe the line with them.
–  Borderline Personality Disorder. They can be characterized by frequent mood swings, impulsive actions, behavioral instability and self-destructive behavior. Emotions can be intense and the world can be seen as “all bad” or “all good”. Persons with this personality disorder may be suicidal.
–  Antisocial Personality Disorder. These can be called the “renegades” – those who flout rules and tend to disregard social expectations. They take on a rebellious, impulsive and aggressive attitude. As such, they are prone towards shoplifting, stealing and substance abuse. They may need the help of a Utah substance abuse counselor. They have difficulty feeling remorse and may be a hazard to others and to themselves.
–  Histrionic Personality Disorder. There are the “Drama Queens”. They feel that all the attention should be directed to them or else they will get too emotional to get that attention. These are characterized by unstable moods, a deep dependence on the approval of others and the need to act or behave provocatively.

Suspicious or Anxious Personality Disorders
–  Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. These are very methodical and organized to the point of being extremely inflexible. They have difficulty adapting to changes in their situation as they always expect and strive towards perfection.
–  Avoidant Personality Disorder. Those with this personality disorder can be deemed social recluses – where they are so afraid of rejection that they try to withdraw from others at all costs. They have strong feelings of inferiority and shy away from social activities because they are worried that they will act in an embarrassing way in public. Even though they desire to forge relationships with others, they tend only to be close within circles they feel close to, particularly their family.
–  Dependent Personality Disorder. Those with this personality disorder are afraid of taking responsibility for their decisions and actions. They allow others to make key decisions for them. They are afraid of being alone and the end of a close relationship can mean disaster and devastation. Similarly, they are unable to function properly without other people’s help.

Therapy for Personality Disorders

Treatment for personality disorders can be provided by therapists in Provo. The treatment can be long and challenging, as the therapy aims to change behavioral and thought patterns that may be deeply rooted in a person. The therapy will usually be aimed towards being more aware about one’s behavior and emotions, as well as finding ways of dealing with and controlling them. Cognitive behavior therapy will teach one to challenge ideas and beliefs that are the root of the personality behavior. With help from therapy and with constant support, a person with personality behavior can emerge and live a full and abundant life.

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