There are some mental health conditions that affect your everyday life and relationships. They are about how you think, feel, and act. You might have a tough time with change, or you may be impulsive or suspicious. You might even do or say things other people find odd or upsetting, making it harder to connect.
Families commonly endure episodes of explosive anger and rage, extreme depression (e.g., person rarely gets out of bed), self-mutilation and suicide attempts by family members with personality disorders. These individuals are often referred to treatment by loved ones who recognise a troubling pattern, or who have reached their personal limit in trying to cope with them. Here are some of the personality disorders for better understanding what they are.
Antisocial personality disorder: You may try to make others angry, trick them, or treat them badly to get what you want. You may not care what is right or wrong. You usually do not feel bad when you hurt others. People with this condition often have a hard time keeping a job or taking care of their families.
Borderline personality disorder: You may have strong feelings of anger, sadness, or anxiety that suddenly change. You may frantically try to connect with someone if you think they want to separate from you. You swing between extremes: A friend may be “perfect” one day and awful the next. This makes for intense, rocky relationships.
Histrionic personality disorder: Your desire to be noticed is stronger than every other feeling. You probably have good social skills, but you use them to make yourself the centre of attention. You do not seem interested in other people. You may be too concerned about how you look to attract people even when it is not appropriate.
Narcissistic personality disorder: You want to make yourself look good, even if you must hurt or ignore others to do it. You may brag a lot or pretend to be someone you are not, or stop people who want to have their say, especially if you think you are more important. You may get angry when you do not get treated the way you want. Inside, you are insecure, oversensitive, and may lash out if criticised.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: A desire to control people, tasks, or situations is at the core of this disorder. Your attention to rules, details and order can be extreme. This is not the same as obsessive-compulsive disorder, where a pattern of unreasonable thoughts can lead you to do something over and over, like wash your hands too much to avoid germs.
Dependent personality disorder: You may be too clingy because you hate to be apart from those you are closest to. The thought they could leave forever causes serious fear. You do not have a lot of confidence and are not eager to try new things. Even everyday decisions can be hard as you feel you need approval from others first.
Do you have one?
People with personality disorders often do not believe they have it. You may find out only after you get help for something else, like anxiety or depression, or if someone suggests you start therapy and you go. People with these conditions often never get the help they need.
Doctors ask questions to learn if parts of your personality are so strict that they harm your relationships at home and at work. They also check how well you control your impulses and see if your view of yourself matches reality. You might have some symptoms without having one of these conditions. Only a professional can tell if you have a personality disorder.
These conditions can be intense, constant, affect lots of parts of your life, and be hard to manage. But you can get help. The most common method is talk therapy. You talk with a mental health professional who helps you see — and change — patterns of thinking and behaviour that cause you problems. Over time, this can help you deal with stress and with other people in a healthier way.