Although there are no absolute criteria as to what constitutes a personality disorder, there are a number of common characteristics that seem to apply more frequently to some people than others. This has led to many different classifications within the larger umbrella known as Personality Disorders. Clinicians and researchers are still searching for the most effective ways to diagnose and classify personality disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders currently divides personality disorders into at least three different “clusters.” These include:
– Antipsychotic – There are medications that may help with the symptoms of impulsivity. These include clozapine, risperdal, olanzapine, quetiapine, and pimozide. Individuals who suffer from these symptoms will often respond to these medications.
– Bipolar – There are mood stabilizers available that may help manage some of the bipolar symptoms such as mania. These medications, however, cannot prevent the episodes of mania or depression that are some of the other Personality Disorders. An individual who suffers from bipolar may also require a lot of care and assistance in order to remain stable. Psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, family therapy, and even medications may be required in order to treat this condition. Because bipolar affects a person’s thought processes, behavior, and emotional responses, consulting your primary doctor is extremely important.
– Eating Disorders – Many times individuals who suffer from one of these Personality Disorders do not realize that they have a problem until a physical symptom arises. These can include anorexia, bulimia, binge eating, and overeating. Anorexia can lead to serious medical complications if it is not treated and those who suffer from bulimia experience serious self-esteem issues. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you talk to your primary care physician to get help.
– Autistic – Those who suffer from autistic personality disorders are usually extremely sensitive to the behaviors of others. Those with this condition will often have difficulty making friends and interacting with others on a regular basis. They will also be extremely lonely, as the symptoms associated with autism usually mean that they are unable to function without the companionship of another individual. If you notice any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your primary care physician to start a treatment plan. Your physician can begin medication or begin an education program that will help improve the symptoms of your personality disorder.
When diagnosed with any of the above Personality Disorders, a patient often has trouble understanding that their symptoms are related to a particular set of personality traits. The diagnoses may also seem more realistic for the patient than they actually are. While some people with Personality Disorders do actually suffer from a true mental health issue, there are also many cases where those suffering from Personality Disorders are not displaying any other type of symptom that would be classified as a personality disorder. This can make the diagnosis of Personality Disorders very subjective and sometimes doctors will miss other signs that are associated with Personality Disorders, thus causing those suffering from Personality Disorders to believe that they are not being evaluated properly. Because the criteria for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is generally set forth a few different ways, it is important that you check your doctor’s qualifications before you allow them to give you the diagnoses.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a basic guideline used by psychiatrists and psychologists every year to diagnose a specific set of symptoms. The list includes over two hundred different criteria that are used to diagnose different Personality Disorders. While you may think that you or a loved one may suffer from a personality disorder, it is important that you learn which specific criteria that your doctor is using in order to make a correct diagnosis. In order to be completely accurate, you should look for the following in your doctor’s evaluation: impulsivity, anti-social behavior, maladaptive self-defeating behavior, chronic deception or self-destructive behavior, and dependent personality disorder. If any one of these specific criteria are present in your loved one, it could mean that they suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder instead of a more serious Personality Disorder.
It is important that you seek medical attention if you think that you or a family member may be suffering from one of the symptoms listed above. The symptoms of Personality Disorders can often mimic those of other mental health disorders, and a primary doctor may miss the real problem. When choosing a mental health professional to help treat your loved one, make sure that they receive extensive training and that they do not simply rely on hearsay or general information that they receive from other professionals. You should feel comfortable speaking to them personally if you feel that they are not being completely honest with you about Personality Disorders or Borderline Personality Disorder. If you suspect that a loved one may suffer from one of these disorders, make sure that you take every precaution to learn as much as you can about the symptoms of their disorder, and if you are able to get a hold of a qualified mental health professional, ensure that they receive extensive training on the treatment of Personality Disorders and Borderline Personality Disorders.