Personality Disorders

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are complex mental health conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These disorders are characterized by enduring patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience that deviate significantly from societal expectations.

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Personality Disorders and Addiction Treatment in Colorado

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that at least one in every five Americans will experience one form of mental illness or another in a given year. Furthermore, at least one in every 25 American adults is currently living with a serious form of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or personality disorder. Even worse is the fact that many people afflicted with these mental health issues are also prone to developing a substance abuse disorder, which leads to compounded conditions like personality disorders and addiction.

What are the Causes of Personality Disorders?

The complexity of the human mind makes it quite difficult to isolate specific causes for conditions such as personality disorders, although mental health experts in our sober living outpatient programs are looking at some contributing factors that increase the likelihood of developing this particular mental health issue.

Multiple studies have shown a strong connection between physical and mental disorders and the genetic lineage of a person, suggesting that genetics is a strong determiner of a person’s predisposition to develop certain disorders. In the case of personality disorders, scientists have identified a malfunctioning gene is being seen as a factor in the development of a type of personality disorder, namely the obsessive-compulsive type. Researchers have also seen possible genetic links that could point to a person’s predisposition to developing disorders related to aggression, anxiety, and fear, all of which are traits that can play a role in personality disorders.

Numerous medical researchers have found a possible link between certain distinct differences in the brain of people with certain personality disorders. One such research suggests that an alteration in the function of the amygdala, the portion of the brain associated with processing fear-related and threatening stimuli, could be the primary reason why people with a personality disorder become particularly paranoid. In these people, the altered amygdala is no longer able to regulate the fear response as it normally would, resulting in the person becoming significantly fearful of most things.

Trauma of any kind is particularly damaging to the memory, and the way memory associates with perception and reaction to stimuli. The best example of this is seen with people who have experienced significant trauma during the early part of their lives. This is particularly true with people diagnosed with borderline and antisocial personality disorders.

People with these disorders have issues with intimacy and trust, mainly because they may have gone through incidents of abuse or trauma during their childhood. The unprocessed and unresolved trauma resulted in the person developing an extreme aversion to intimacy and a great distrust of people they have relationships with. In severe cases, some even get the urge to hurt or abuse the one they have a relationship with, which is a mirror of what they went through.

Similar to trauma, repeated verbal abuse could lead to the development of several personality issues relevant to how they relate to others. The result of this kind of abuse typically leads to the manifestation of uncharacteristic anger, resentment, or disappointment. Studies done on this revealed that people who experienced verbal abuse as a child were about three times as likely to develop borderline, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, or paranoid personality disorders later on in life.

People who experienced trauma early in life were found to also have a great tendency to develop either an alcohol or substance abuse disorder. Many victims of abuse early on in life are known to end up with problematic issues such as personality disorders and addiction. Jaywalker offers drug addiction treatment in Colorado for individuals suffering from substance abuse.

Cultural factors could also play a part in causing people to develop certain behavioral and personality issues due to certain peculiarities. Some cultures have socially unbalanced practices, such as patriarchy, matriarchy, and privilege that are based on things such as social standing in life, and other things. The problem arises when these beliefs and practices begin to conflict with the nuances of the modern world. Modern liberal thinking has led to many of these cultural practices being exposed as nothing more than being manipulative and exploitative, with the favor mostly centered on those who hold positions of authority in their social structure.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

A co-occurring disorder, otherwise known as a comorbidity, is when an individual has a mental health issue and a substance use disorder that happened either simultaneously or one after the other. In most cases, it is not known which disorder came first, if it was substance abuse or a mental health issue. Most dual-diagnosis treatment approaches begin with trying to determine which disorder led to the development of the other, as this usually gives a point of reference that factors into the determination of what treatment method should be used.

In most cases, the determination alone is already challenging, as certain symptoms of a substance abuse disorder could be quite similar to those of specific mental health issues. One example is the similarities between the highly sedated state of someone who is heavily into alcohol abuse and the melancholic and lethargic state that depressive people experience. Numerous research into co-occurring conditions also suggests that both disorders interact with each another and influence certain elements of both illnesses, such as the prognosis and treatment of each. It is not uncommon for a person who has co-occurring disorders to experience the exacerbation or worsening of both conditions.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorders?

Personality disorder types are grouped into three clusters which are categorized based on similar characteristics and symptoms. People with at least one personality disorder type may also have signs and symptoms of at least one other additional personality disorder. This is why there is a need for the proper categorization of the specific personality disorder types to better differentiate between the signs and symptoms of each cluster.

Cluster A Personality Disorders

This cluster of personality disorders is characterized by odd, eccentric thinking or behavior and typically includes paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder.

Paranoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Pervasive distrust and suspicion of others and their motives
  • The unjustified belief that others are trying to harm or deceive you
  • Unjustified suspicion of the loyalty or trustworthiness of others
  • Hesitancy to confide in others due to unreasonable fear that others will use the information against you
  • Perception of innocent remarks or non-threatening situations as personal insults or attacks
  • The angry or hostile reaction to perceived slights or insults
  • Tendency to hold grudges
  • Unjustified, recurrent suspicion that spouse or sexual partner is unfaithful

Schizoid Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Lack of interest in social or personal relationships
  • Preference to being alone
  • Limited range of emotional expression
  • Inability to take pleasure in most activities
  • Inability to pick up normal social cues
  • The appearance of being cold or indifferent to others
  • Little or no interest in having sex with another person

Schizotypal Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Peculiar dress, thinking, beliefs, speech, or behavior
  • Odd perceptual experiences, such as hearing voices
  • Flat emotions or inappropriate emotional responses
  • Social anxiety and a lack of or discomfort with close relationships
  • Indifferent, inappropriate, or suspicious responses to others
  • “Magical thinking” — believing you can influence people and events with your thoughts
  • The belief that certain casual incidents or events have hidden messages meant only for you

Cluster B Personality Disorders

This cluster is characterized by dramatic, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behavior and typically includes antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.

Antisocial Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Disregard for others’ needs or feelings
  • Persistent lying, stealing, using aliases, deceiving others
  • Recurring problems with the law
  • Repeated violation of the rights of others
  • Aggressive, often violent behavior
  • Disregard for the safety of self or others
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Consistently irresponsible
  • Lack of remorse for behavior

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as having unsafe sex, gambling, or binge eating
  • Unstable or fragile self-image
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Up and down moods, often as a reaction to interpersonal stress
  • Suicidal behavior or threats of self-injury
  • Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Frequent, intense displays of anger
  • Stress-related paranoia that comes and goes

Histrionic Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Constantly seeking attention
  • Excessively emotional, dramatic, or sexually provocative to gain attention
  • Speaks dramatically with strong opinions, but few facts or details to back them up
  • Easily influenced by others
    Shallow, rapidly changing emotions
  • Excessive concern with physical appearance
  • Thinks relationships with others are closer than they are

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • The belief that you’re special and more important than others
  • Fantasies about power, success, and attractiveness
  • Failure to recognize others’ needs and feelings
  • Exaggeration of achievements or talents
  • The expectation of constant praise and admiration
  • Arrogance
  • Unreasonable expectations of favors and advantages, often taking advantage of others
  • Envy of others or belief that others envy you

Cluster C Personality Disorders

This cluster is characterized by anxious, fearful thinking or behavior and may include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Avoidant Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Too sensitive to criticism or rejection
  • Feeling inadequate, inferior, or unattractive
  • Avoidance of work activities that require interpersonal contact
  • Socially inhibited, timid, and isolated, avoiding new activities or meeting strangers
  • Extreme shyness in social situations and personal relationships
  • Fear of disapproval, embarrassment, or ridicule

Dependent Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Excessive dependence on others and feeling the need to be taken care of
  • Submissive or clingy behavior toward others
  • Fear of having to provide self-care or fend for yourself if left alone
  • Lack of self-confidence, requiring excessive advice and reassurance from others to make even small decisions
  • Difficulty starting or doing projects on your own due to a lack of self-confidence
  • Problem disagreeing with others, fearing disapproval
  • Tolerance of poor or abusive treatment, even when other options are available
  • Urgent need to start a new relationship when a close one has ended

Obsessive-compulsive Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Preoccupation with details, orderliness, and rules
  • Extreme perfectionism, resulting in dysfunction and distress when perfection is not achieved, such as feeling unable to finish a project because you don’t meet your strict standards
  • Desire to be in control of people, tasks, and situations, and inability to delegate tasks
  • Neglect of friends and enjoyable activities because of excessive commitment to work or a project
  • Inability to discard broken or worthless objects
  • Rigid and stubborn
  • Inflexible about morality, ethics, or values
  • Tight, miserly control over budgeting and spending money
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, as the latter belongs to the different types of anxiety disorders.

Jaywalker Can Help You with Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Certain conditions are far more complex and difficult to deal with, such as dual diagnosis, as this condition is an amalgam of two conditions that tend to feed off each other, and in the process make the treatment of both quite difficult. We know this because we have helped numerous people with this condition with our distinct type of treatment in our rehab center in Colorado, and we can help you get through it as well. Talk to us now.

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