The American Psychiatric Association (APA) defines a personality disorder as “a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.” People with personality disorders have chronic dysfunctional behaviors that cause problems in personal relationships and impair functioning in society. In order to make a diagnosis of a personality disorder, the APA says a person must have significant and long-lasting difficulties in at least two of these four areas:
- Way of thinking about oneself and others
- Way of responding emotionally
- Way of relating to other people
- Way of controlling one’s behavior
Although everyone may exhibit some of the personality traits associated with the various disorders at times, a diagnosis of a personality disorder isn’t made unless the behaviors are long-lasting and cause significant impairment in functioning.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), recognizes 10 types of personality disorders and divides them into three clusters: Cluster A, Cluster B and Cluster C.
Cluster A – Odd and eccentric behavior; distorted thinking, social withdrawal
Disorders included: Paranoid, Schizoid and Schizotypal Personality Disorders
Cluster B – Dramatic, emotional, and erratic; difficulty regulating emotions and have poor impulse control
Disorders included: Borderline, Narcissistic, Histrionic and Antisocial Personality Disorder
Cluster C – Anxious and fearful
Disorders include: Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders
Treatment for personality disorders varies based on the disorder and the symptoms. Each case is unique, but a combination of psychotherapy and medication are often used. Depending on the severity of symptoms, some people may benefit most from a long-term residential treatment program.
Silver Hill Hospital specializes in treating personality disorders with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). In fact, it is one of the only residential DBT treatment programs in the country. It is a highly structured, intensive program for patients who do not need close inpatient supervision but are not able to manage successfully in an outpatient setting. Learn more about the program
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