A person with a personality disorder is very different from most people in how they think, feel, behave and relate to others

Young woman isolated on step

A person’s distorted perception of reality can affect their feelings and emotions in a distressing way, which can manifest in unusual behaviour.

There are lots of different types of personality disorder, which are classified into three clusters: ‘odd and eccentric’, 'dramatic, emotional and erratic' and 'anxious and fearful'.

Common symptoms of personality disorder:

  • Isolation: Avoiding other people and being disconnected physically and emotionally.
  • Unusual behaviour: Unstable and intense relationships with others.
  • Overwhelming feelings: These include anxiety, stress, depression, low self-esteem and anger.
  • Self-harming: This stems from struggling to manage negative feelings or 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 that is 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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