A general description of this condition is where a person’s deep-rooted thinking, feeling, behaviour and attitude on how they relate to others differs substantially from most other people

Young woman isolated on step

The word ‘personality’ is hard to pin down in words, and so is a ‘personality disorder’. However a general description of this condition is where a person’s deep-rooted thinking, feeling, behaviour and attitude on how they relate to others differs substantially from most other people. A person’s distorted perception of reality can affect their feelings and emotions in a distressing way and also affect those around them, and this can manifest in unusual behaviour.

There are lots of different types of personality disorder which are further classified into three clusters: ‘odd + eccentric’, 'dramatic, emotional and erratic' and 'anxious and fearful'. Some fairly common personality disorder symptoms include:

  • Isolation – avoiding other people and being disconnected physically and emotionally.
  • Unusual behaviour – unstable and intense relationships with others.
  • Overwhelming feelings of anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem and anger.
  • Self-harming – struggling to manage negative feelings/thoughts.
  • Losing contact with reality at times.

It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but like other mental health difficulties, upbringing, life events, brain problems and genetics play a part. Assessment and diagnosis of personality disorders usually happens as an adult. Before this time, it is considered to be an ‘Emerging Personality Disorder’. Personality disorders are treatable and change over time.

Top tips

  • Speak to your GP: Discuss a treatment plan suitable for your needs.
  • Build up your understanding: Know what your warning signs, triggers and behaviours are – this is a great starting point for managing emotions and helping others to understand.
  • Relaxation: Connecting with yourself and knowing how to be calm and relaxed is important.
  • Talking therapy: Share your thoughts and feelings with a professional.
  • Group therapy: Understand social behaviour of others around you.
  • Talk to someone you trust: Tell them how you feel.
  • Do something creative: Express yourself through art

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