25. January 2023
Our personality is made up of all our traits and behavior. Changes are possible, but most characteristics remain relatively stable throughout life. And it is this unique personality that sets us apart from every other person in the world. But what exactly is a personality disorder? And how can there be a “disorder” if we are all different anyway?
A personality with disorder value differs from that of other persons by the following characteristics:
The first signs of a personality disorder usually appear in childhood and adolescence. In order to make a diagnosis, it must be ruled out that the symptoms do not occur in the context of drug use, an accident with brain damage or another mental illness.Important: About ten percent of the German population suffers from a personality disorder. Within the various personality disorders, the numbers again differ greatly.In addition, inmost cases those affected also suffer from at least one other mental illness, particularly frequently depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and addictivedisorders.
The above characteristics are the intersection of the wide variety of personality disorders. To get an overview of all existing expressions, there is a division into three major categories:
Since personality can consist of innumerable facets, some disorder patterns cannot be clearly assigned to a diagnosis. In order to be able to make a diagnosis in these cases as well, the term combined personality disorder is used.
As already mentioned, a personality disorder has an impact on almost all areas of life. The following example shows how high the pressure of suffering can be even in everyday interpersonal encounters and events:Ms. S. is at her employer’s Christmas party. As she enters the venue, she hears a group of colleagues laughing loudly. Ms. S. immediately thinks that her colleagues are laughing at her. So are all the other guests, who whisper and giggle with their counterparts. She feels excluded and ashamed and suspects that quite horrible rumors are being spread about her, deliberately intended to damage her reputation at work. Intruth, all her colleagues are talking about completely different things, funny experiences, their vacations and leisure activities. Ms. S. is incensed and shouts for everyone to stop gossiping about her immediately. She cannot be calmed down even by her friendly colleagues and leaves the party in a state of dissolution.
The wide variety of personality disorders already suggests that there is no one cause. Rather, it is a combination of psychosocial and genetic factors. While genetic factors only play a major role in some disorders, such as dissocial personality disorder, psychosocial factors are always a trigger. Psychological problems of the parents, unfavorable upbringing styles, lack of social support, traumatic experiences, violence or abuse can be responsible for a disorder. However, why certain factors lead to an illness in some people and not in others has not yet been conclusively researched.
First of all: Many personality disorders are curable if a suitable therapy is chosen! Since the disorder has usually existed for a long time, therapy often takes several years. The goal is not a complete change of the personality, but a change in concrete behaviors and thought structures that burden the affected person in daily life. The aim is to improve coping with stressful situations and interpersonal conflicts and to correct the unfavorable self-image. In the course of this, the parallel existing disorders are also treated. Depending on the disorder, medication may also be administered.