The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 10% of the general population have some form of personality disorder and NHS.UK states that in England alone, around 1 in 20 people has a personality disorder. Personality Disorders can be defined as a group of conditions predominantly characterised by an individual’s inability to interact with others and often the realisation that their beliefs and attitudes are different from those of most other people.
Common features include:
- being overwhelmed by negative feelings such as distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger
- avoiding other people and feeling empty and emotionally disconnected
- difficulty managing negative feelings without self-harming (for example, abusing drugs and alcohol, or taking overdoses) or, in rare cases, threatening other people
- odd behaviour
- difficulty maintaining stable and close relationships, especially with partners, children and professional carers
- sometimes, periods of losing contact with reality
Personality Disorders are typically categorised under three main ‘clusters:
Talking treatments designed specifically for personality disorders have been shown to be helpful, and include Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), Psychodynamic therapy and Mentalization. Meditation is also sometimes prescribed to alleviate additional symptoms such as irritability, depression or psychotic episodes.
If you or someone close to you is showing symptoms of a Personality Disorder then in the first instance a visit to your GP is advised. A comprehensive list of GP’s in the local area can be found here.