Reasons And Treatment of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are psychiatric conditions with relatively persistent behavior patterns that deviate from the norms of the environment for the way of acting, feeling, thinking and relating to others.

Personality traits refer to the relatively permanent way in which a person observes himself and his surroundings as well as his interactions with other people. Personality disorders are classified as mental illnesses when the person has lasting and long-term behavior patterns that deviate from the environment’s norms for the way they act, feel, think and relate to others.

Relatively often, the affected do not themselves realize that they are behaving in a deviant way. In some cases, sufferers do not suffer from the disorder at all. What is common, however, is that the personality disorders cause personal suffering and limit the functional capacity of those affected and their ability to achieve desired changes in life circumstances.

The boundary between normal and deviant personality traits is always based on agreements with the environment and is also floating in individual cases. One can rather speak of a continuum from the normal to the deviant. Even non-affected people can in stressful situations behave in ways that are characteristic of people with personality disorders. In addition, such behavior can also manifest itself during certain stages of development or life situations.

Within psychiatry, personality disorders have been divided into different classes. These include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, phobic personality disorder, non-autonomous personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. It is common for traits of several different personality disorders to manifest themselves in the same individual.

It is difficult to determine how common personality disorders are, but in international surveys it has been estimated that they occur in 5–15 percent of the population.


Personality disorders develop during childhood and adolescence and can be identified in young adults. Contributing factors are the upbringing circumstances, in other words personality disorders can be explained, for example, by the fact that the person has been subjected to repeated violence or has been treated in a belittled way by his parents.

In addition to the upbringing environment, biological factors and heredity can also influence the emergence of personality disorders. There is no exhaustive explanation as to why personality disorders arise. Nor is it always possible to pinpoint which circumstances during growing up caused it.


Personality disorders are not the same as personality changes that can be a consequence of a physical or mental illness or, for example, substance abuse. People with personality disorders rarely seek care because of the personality disorder. The most common reasons for contact with health care are various crisis situations, depression or anxiety or some other difficult life situation connected to the personality disorder.

The sufferer can change their rigid reaction and behavior patterns with the help of, among other things, intensive psychotherapy, medication or a combination of these. In order for the treatment to produce results, it is important that the sufferer himself wants to bring about a change in his behavior.

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