Your personality defines the way you think, feel, function and react to situations. It varies from person to person, but some have personalities that are distinctly different from normal, as defined by culture and society. Personality issues are usually formed as a result of rigid abnormal patterns of thinking, behaviour and activities that develop during adolescence or early adulthood. They are influenced by your genetic makeup and life experiences combined.
Personality disorders can affect your relationships and work. You may have trouble understanding people and situations, and your lack of perception may prevent you from realising that you have a disorder. A personality disorder can make you antisocial, aggressive, disregard other’s safety or feelings, avoid people and turn to vices. It is necessary to seek help for personality disorders that are affecting your life, as they may worsen over time, distressing both you and the people around you.
When you present to the clinic, your doctor will question you and possibly a family member or friend to determine if you have a personality disorder. A physical examination and basic lab tests are performed to rule out any underlying health condition. There are different types of personality disorders so a detailed psychological evaluation is conducted to identify the type and severity of your disorder.
Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication or hospitalisation. Psychotherapy is usually the main line of treatment and involves talking openly with a therapist individually or in a group of other patients, family or friends. It teaches you about your condition, and how to identify and manage your symptoms. Your doctor may order certain medication to manage related symptoms of mood, anxiety or depression. In severe cases, if you are incapable of looking after yourself, or are a danger to self or others, hospitalisation may be necessary until your symptoms stabilise. Your active participation in the treatment and recommendations provided are necessary to help you overcome your personality issues.