What is a personality disorder?

Recognising the signs and symptoms of a personality disorder

Lots of things make us individual, but the ways in which we think, feel and respond to other people have things in common, too.

In some people, the personality traits that inform the way most others think, feel and behave, can seem different. Their outlook on life can affect or inhibit relationships.

This can have an impact on their own life and the emotional wellbeing of other people.

What are the symptoms of a Personality Disorder?

A personality disorder can be difficult to diagnose, as people have many traits, good and bad, which is what makes each of us unique, complex and respond differently to qualities we find attractive in others.

Personality disorders can cover a spectrum of character traits, but may defined as a heightened – or lack – of appropriate emotions, awareness and responses, which adversely impacts upon how someone interacts with other people.

A person with a personality disorder may be unaware of how their behaviour affects other people, or unable to learn from it and change. Or they may be self-aware, but still unable to change their outlook, emotional responses or patterns of behaviour. It can be distressing when these traits affect family, romantic, or work relationships and friendships.

Personality disorders can cover a spectrum of character traits, but are broadly grouped into three categories:

  • Unusual or eccentric

  • Dramatic, emotional and unpredictable

  • Anxious and fearful

It’s thought that personality disorders can be an inherited part of your genetic makeup and, or, influenced by emotional trauma in the developing years of childhood.

Help and support with a personality disorder

If you are struggling with the symptoms of a personality disorder, talk to your GP. Treatments may include medication such as antidepressants, mood stabilisers or sedatives, or talking therapies.

There are many kinds of talking therapy for people diagnosed with a personality disorder. A referral may depend upon the most appropriate way to address how a personality disorder is affecting your emotional wellbeing, behaviour or relationships with other people.

If you’re struggling to cope with your emotions or feel alone, you can turn to us at Trident House. At Make a Difference, everyone’s mental health is valued. If it would help to talk with someone about what you’re feeling, we’re here for you.

You don’t need a diagnosis, referral or appointment to access mental wellbeing support and friendship at Make a Difference.