Personality disorders are diverse, maladaptive and deeply rooted alterations and modes of behavior, which are generally recognizable from adolescence or even earlier, and express a characteristic lifestyle and way of relating to oneself and others, persisting into adulthood.
As a consequence of these behaviors, the person suffers or makes others suffer, causing negative consequences for him/her and his/her environment.
How to identify a personality disorder?
In order for the Psychiatry specialist to make a diagnosis of personality disorder, the following conditions must be evidenced:
- The way of being, the way of living and the behaviors are markedly disharmonious, separating significantly from the accepted and expected norms of one’s own culture.
- They generally affect various aspects of the personality, such as cognition in the sense of the way of perceiving and interpreting people, things or events; affectivity and the adequate emotional response; impulse control, interpersonal relationships, satisfaction of desires, etc.
- The abnormal behavior is long-lasting, of long evolution and is not limited to punctual episodes.
- This form of behavior is generalized, clearly rigid and maladaptive, and therefore interferes in a wide range of individual and social situations, as it is not limited to a single stimulus or a single situation.
- These manifestations are stable and long-lasting, as they always appear during childhood or adolescence and persist into maturity.
- It also involves considerable personal or social distress, or both, although all of these may appear only in advanced stages of its evolution.
- It is accompanied, although not always, by a significant deterioration of professional or social performance.
What are the causes?
Personality is the combination of emotions, thoughts and behaviors that make us unique. It is also the way you see, understand and relate to the outside world, as well as the way you see yourself. Personality is formed in childhood, during which the interaction of the following plays a role:
- Genes: it is possible for certain personality traits to be passed from parent to child through inherited genes, these traits are called temperament.
- The environment: this includes the surroundings in which you grew up, the events that took place, and relationships with family members and others.
Personality disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of these genetic and environmental influences. It is possible that genes can make you vulnerable to developing a personality disorder, just as a life situation can trigger it as well.
Are there risk factors?
Although the precise cause of personality disorders is not known, there are certain factors that appear to increase the risk of developing or triggering these disorders, including:
– Family history of personality disorders or other mental illnesses.
– Abusive, chaotic or unstable family life during childhood.
– Diagnosis of conduct disorder in childhood.
– Variations in brain chemistry and structure.
What are the most common personality disorders?
It is difficult to find a single personality disorder that adequately describes the individual’s altered personality functioning, since many people manifest traits not limited to a single personality disorder, constituting the “Mixed Personality Disorders”.
The P.D.’s are traditionally gathered in three groups:
- GROUP A: odd, strange, eccentric, etc.
- GROUP B: dramatic, theatrical, emotional, erratic, etc.
- GROUP B: anxious, fearful, etc.