What do we know about personality disorders

Personality is that way of being, more or less stable, that allows us to relate to ourselves, to others and to the environment. When this way of being, of relating to ourselves, is not adaptive, both at a personal level and with others or with the environment, what we call personality disorder appears.

Diagnosis of personality disorder

In order to be able to make the diagnosis of personality disorder in psychology, it is necessary that a series of conditions exist. The first is that there is a stable form of behavior characterized by ways of perceiving and interpreting reality, affectivity and emotions, as well as interpersonal relationships, in a way that is different from what would be expected culturally. That is, the behavior is neither temporary nor adaptive to an individual life situation, nor can it be explained by belonging to a cultural group different from the majority in the environment.

Personality disorders are more complex when they coincide in the diagnosis with other psychic or medical pathologies. In these cases there is usually a longer period of disability and a lower response to the treatments used.

Depending on the group of personality disorder in which we place ourselves, we will have to direct our differentiation towards psychotic disorders, with failures in the distinction of reality, towards affective disorders, marked by instability and oscillations, or towards anxiety disorders.

Most common types of personality disorders

Cluster A: eccentric

Characterized by a pervasive pattern of cognition (e.g. suspicion), expression (e.g. by a strange language) and abnormal relationships with others (e.g. isolation).

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder
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Cluster B: dramatic and/or emotional

Characterized by a pervasive pattern of violation of social norms (e.g. criminal behavior), impulsive behavior, excessive emotionality and grandiosity. They frequently present externalization of their traits, leading to tantrums, self-injurious behavior and outbursts of rage.

  • Borderline personality disorder.
  • Antisocial personality disorder.
  • Histrionic personality disorder.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Cluster C: anxious or fearful

This cluster is characterized by a pervasive pattern of abnormal fears, including social relationships, separation, and need for control.

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependence personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Treatment of personality disorders

The symptomatic use of psychotropic drugs is often necessary depending on the main symptoms at any given time. All drugs must be prescribed and controlled by psychiatrists.

In a joint and inseparable way, associated psychotherapy should be used in order to facilitate the functional recovery of the sick person. The objective of psychotherapy is to bring the patient closer to a better management of his thinking in a way that allows him to make contact with reality without the distortions that can cause great suffering to him and his environment and thus to participate in society in a more satisfactory way.