About Personality disorders

This page explains in brief, what personality disorders are, what it means and the signs that often is associated with them.

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What are personality disorders?

Our personality is made up of our thoughts, feelings, and actions, which define who we are as individuals. These aspects can change depending on the situation and the people around us. But if you find that you have a lot of difficulty relating to yourself and others, and it’s hard to cope with everyday life, you might be diagnosed with a personality disorder.

You may:

  • need to keep everything in order and under control
  • set unrealistically high standards for yourself and others
  • think yours is the best way of doing things
  • worry about you or others making mistakes
  • feel very anxious if things aren’t ‘perfect’

What are the signs of a personality disorder?

You might receive a diagnosis of personality disorder if all the following are true:

  • The way you think, feel, and act brings significant challenges to your everyday life. For instance, you might find it hard to trust others or often feel deserted, leading to distress for you or others in day-to-day interactions.
  • These difficulties are not caused exclusively by substances or a medical condition. For instance, drug use or medication can lead to changes in behaviour, as can physical consequences of experiences like head trauma.
  • These issues persist over a long period. Such problematic patterns might have begun in your childhood or teenage years and continue into adulthood.
  • You face these issues in various areas of your life. For example, you might struggle to form or maintain friendships, manage your emotions and behaviour, or get along with others. Your emotions might be intense, sometimes feeling scary and overwhelming.

Who can diagnose me with a personality disorder?

A diagnosis of a personality disorder can only be made by a qualified healthcare professional. This typically includes psychiatrists, who are doctors specialised in mental health, capable of assessing both your mental and physical health to understand the full picture.

Clinical psychologists, who specialise in psychological assessment and therapy, can also diagnose personality disorders.

In some cases, specially trained general practitioners (GPs) or other mental health professionals might initiate the diagnostic process, but they often work in collaboration with or refer to a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist for a comprehensive evaluation.

Does it mean there’s something wrong with my personality and who I am?

No. Everyone has traits in their personality that can be tricky for themselves or others.
What sets people with personality disorders apart is how strong these challenges are and that they might need more help.

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Talk with a trained professional about your thoughts and feelings with out free counselling and private counselling service for people over the age of 18.

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