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Get Help With Personality Disorders

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment (surroundings, life situations) and inherited characteristics. A personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and lasts over time.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Mar 23, 2017
Peer Support: Making a Difference for People with Mental Illness

Peer support refers to people with the same types of problems helping each other. The concept of peer support has been used for many years among people with addictions, for example in Alcoholic Anonymous where people with “lived experience” help others to recover. The use of peer support with people with mental illness is more recent, particularly peer support in a professional capacity as part of the mental health care team.

  • Feb 22, 2017
Self-Care in Stressful Times

Since rapid changes and uncertainty can be stressful for anyone regardless of political persuasion, it’s important to remain aware of our stress levels and proactively manage them.

  • Feb 16, 2017
Would Access to Your Doctor’s Notes be Good for Mental Health Care?

You may be familiar with online access to your medical records and possibly to your doctor’s notes. More than 12 million Americans now have online access to their health care provider’s clinical notes. This access is referred to as OpenNotes.

Upcoming Events
Mar
2017
09

Borderline Personality Disorder Patient and Family Education Initiative, McLean Hospital

Mar
2017
10
Ongoing Events – Family Connections
  • National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Fri,  Mar  10 - Fri,  Mar  31

A 12-week program for relatives of a person with borderline personality disorder. In-person courses at various locations around the country; online course available.

Mar
2017
14
Webinar: How to Speak Borderline: A Live Demonstration
  • Tue,  Mar  14
  • 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Borderline Personality Disorder Patient and Family Education Initiative, McLean Hospital

I’m concerned that my friend may have a personality disorder. I don’t think she’ll consider having an evaluation or getting help. What can I do?

People with personality disorders often have a hard time taking responsibility for their feelings and behaviors. They sometimes even blame others for their problems. However, each of them is suffering and is aware that their life is not going well. Approaching a friend about her painful feelings or the frustrations and disappointments in her life, and offering to listen, might be a way to help her consider treatment. If you have had a successful experience in therapy, share that with your friend, even if it wasn’t necessarily for “personality problems” (an off-putting term for many people). Most people with personality disorders enter treatment with another problem, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, a job loss, a romantic break-up, etc. The challenge is to get your friend “in the door,” so to speak, not to commit to long-term treatment at the beginning. Read More

My bother has been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. I want to be supportive and help him, but it has been extremely difficult to deal with his anger, aggressiveness and paranoia. How can I help him without feeling abused and hurt myself?

People with borderline personality disorder have significant problems in relationships. On the one hand, they can be very needy and clingy in relationships. On the other hand, they push people away because they are insecure themselves and distrust others. They would rather be the one who leaves than the one who is abandoned. To be able to tolerate the borderline person’s anger and aggression, family members must appreciate that the person is reacting out of a sense of weakness and suffering. That is not to say that family members should accept anger and abuse directed at them – limits must be set. Family members must be able to walk away, if necessary, from a situation for their own good, and without guilt. To help a person with borderline personality disorder people need to respect themselves enough to protect themselves. If you let yourself be abused, you will react with anger, push your brother away and confirm his suspicion that you do not love him (enough). Read More

About the Expert:

Andrew Skokol, M.D.
Research Professor, University of Arizona

Maria's Story

35-yo-Male.jpg

Maria, a single woman without a job, sought therapy at age 33 for treatment of depressed mood, chronic thoughts of killing herself and having no social contact for many months. She had spent the last six months alone in her apartment, lying in bed, eating junk food, watching TV and doing more online shopping than she could afford. Read More

Have a Story of Your Own to Share?

Editor's Choice

FEB 3, 2017

Is My Personality Broken?

Huffington Post UK

With the diagnoses of borderline personality disorder I’ve had the worry of if I should tell anyone, would I be cast out and judged or could I do what my personality does so well and be impulsive with it. So here I am borderline personality disorder and all. I plan to get to know and understand this new part of me and break the stigma as well as I can. Now mental illness is such a big part of my life I feel helpless to really blog about much else, seeming as it impacts every aspect of my life.

FEB 1, 2017

Borderline Personality Disorder: Fact vs Fiction

Huffington Post

So you think you know about borderline personality disorder? Think again. Many of us have seen “Fatal Attraction” where the lead female character is described as having borderline personality disorder (BPD), but the diagnosis is not that Hollywood portrayal. In fact, despite great efforts through a number of organizations, including McLean Hospital, Project 375, and the Linehan Institute, there are still many misconceptions about BPD. And unfortunately, along with misconceptions, comes stigma.

JAN 29, 2017

Childhood Roots of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Psychology Today

It’s estimated that up to 6% of the US population has narcissistic personality disorder (narcissism for short), which is more common in men and has its roots in childhood. Extremely resistant to treatment, this severe mental illness leads affected individuals to create chaos as they harm other people.