PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Personality refers to what one is rather than what one has. Irrespective of the specific problems or goals that bring someone into treatment, many people begin to realize that what they are trying to change is tied up with who they are. Our personalities define the way we think, feel, behave and relate to others. Each of us has an individual set of assumptions about ourselves and the world by which we try to understand our experiences, a set of values and characteristic ways of pursuing what we see as valuable, a personal repertoire of emotions that we are familiar and comfortable with, and ways of handling these emotions that are peculiar to us.  The aim of a psychiatrist and/or therapist is to help individuals comprehend their particular patterns and how they can affect change if those patterns are destructive.

Personality disorder is a name used with those people who suffer patterns of behavior that cause repeated pain to themselves and /or to others. The disorder spectrum of personality functioning is often an enduring pattern that is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations. Most often, it is at the urgings of others (friends, family, or co-workers) that people first become alerted to what is experienced by others as concerning behavior. For the individual, the way they are is so much part of their consistent experience that he or she often cannot even remember, or easily imagine being different.

Some examples of personality difficulties include: paranoid, narcissistic, sadistic, masochistic, depressive, anxious, somatizing, schizoid, dependant, passive-aggressive, counterdependant, avoidant, obsessive-compulsive, histrionic, dissociative, anti-social and borderline personality disorder. Treatments are individualized and include psychotherapy and occasional use of medications to address specific symptoms that will allow the individual to tolerate a deeper exploration into their patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that are no longer serving them well.