Types of Personality Disorder Treatment

If you suffer from or know somebody affected by a personality disorder, you’ll understand how traumatic it can be. Like any condition, there are varying degrees, with some people only slightly impacted. As a result of their condition, others will suffer severe distress.

Let’s take a look at some common personality disorders and also some forms of treatment that are available.

What are Personality Disorders?

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Certain mental and behavioral patterns characterize all forms of personality disorder. They’re also the most commonly diagnosed psychiatric conditions. These disorders are inflexible and tend to affect people across large sections of their life. This means many of the behaviors and thoughts associated with these disorders are persistent rather than triggered by particular events.

However, sufferers often lack the ability to recognize these issues; therefore, they do not always seek treatment. This, in turn, leads to developing coping strategies that can induce or further amplify stress, anxiety, or depression.

Personality disorders are usually broken into 10 types:

  • Paranoid
  • Schizoid
  • Schizotypal
  • Antisocial
  • Borderline
  • Histrionic
  • Narcissistic
  • Avoidant
  • Dependant
  • Obsessive-compulsive

There are several different treatment methods that a psychiatric professional may recommend, depending on the type of disorder. Let’s take a look at the most popular treatments used today.

Psychodynamic treatment

Psychodynamic treatment is a useful form of personality disorder treatment because it seeks to find the root cause of the issue. The focus is usually on the past and unconscious, specifically how past experiences manifest into current behavior. Patients should gain a greater understanding of the underlying cause, especially if past experiences have been particularly traumatic.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

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Cognitive-behavioral therapy aims to help a patient understand their thought processes and how it affects their behavior from day today. Patients analyze their initial reactions to situations and attempt to change their thought patterns. For example, many people catastrophize situations. CBT teaches a patient to logically examine this reaction and the reasons for it.

Schema therapy

Schema therapy aims to look into the themes and beliefs that shape a patient’s way of thinking today. Often these themes are established very early in life and built upon as we get older. As these themes and beliefs are deeply held within all of us, simply challenging and rationalizing them (such as with CBT) is not always effective. Schema therapy involves a more targeted assessment and treatment of these beliefs.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) is a modified form of CBT, which focuses less on challenging thoughts and more on coping mechanisms for stressful situations. There is a focus on learning how to regulate one’s emotions more easily and also how to express your needs more clearly.

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR deals with particularly disturbing events in a patient’s past. Using eye movement patterns, physicians attempt to help patients process distressing past events more effectively. In short, this therapy aims to associate better feelings with painful memories to make them seem less distressing.

All of these treatments are very effective, but often it depends on the cause of personality disorder. Discussing your condition with a psychiatrist is the right first step to take, and together you will determine the best types of personality disorder treatment for you.

When to seek treatment for personality disorders
Personality disorders can be difficult because they often affect the patient’s ability to realize there is a problem. In this sense, you may not be fully aware that you have an issue, and this often prevents people from seeking help.

Generally, as with most psychological conditions, the best time to seek help is when you notice changes. The symptoms vary between different conditions, of course, however many can present in a similar way. In personality disorders, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Paranoid feelings of increased distrust of others
  • Hostile reactions to perceived insults
  • Lack of interest in social relationships
  • Decreased pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Drastic changes in appearance, behavior, or beliefs
  • Flat emotional responses, or a general lack of emotion
  • Antisocial behavior, such as lying, cheating, or problems with authority
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Disregard for the safety of others
  • Participating in risk-taking behavior
  • Low mood
  • UP and down moods
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Attention seeking behavior
  • Avoidance of uncomfortable situations
  • Increased levels of stress or anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive behavior

As you can see, there are many different symptoms, and this list is certainly not exhaustive. In fact, each type of personality disorder has its own unique set of actions, thoughts, or behaviors that may indicate a problem. One of the most reliable sources of information is friends and family who are close to you. If they’re noticing changes in your general behavior, they may recommend you seek help. Since many personality disorders restrict you from noticing the symptoms, it’s very beneficial to take the advice of others.

What help should I get?

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Firstly, you should speak to your GP about any concerns you have. You can certainly go directly to a psychiatrist or psychologist; however, for many people, the family doctor is the first step. If you are concerned about the cost of psychiatric treatment, your GP can commence a Mental Health Plan and refer you to an appropriate service. These plans not only help the GP to monitor your progress but it allows you access to limited free psychiatric services.

Once a referral is made, it’s important to attend your first appointment and be completely open and honest. This is difficult for many people, but it’s a key part of firstly making a correct diagnosis and then formulating a treatment plan.

It’s important to remember that with all mental health conditions, particularly personality disorders, that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Treatment may work well for others, but not for you. It’s often a case of trying various treatment methods to determine which works best. Furthermore, you may also benefit from multiple forms of treatment at once.

To find out more about personality disorders treatment methods, please visit this site for comprehensive details on each specific treatment.

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