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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

  • Oct 11, 2017
Mental Health: Many Challenges to Getting Needed Help

We’ll take a look at some data from 2016, the latest available, on how many people are affected, how many are getting treatment and why many are not getting treatment.

  • Oct 06, 2017
Racism and Mental Health

Racism contributes to socioeconomic inequality and social unrest. How does it affect mental health?

  • Oct 05, 2017
Former Surgeon General Talks about Stress in America

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, M.D., recently sat down to talk with National Institutes of Health Director, Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., to talk about the public health consequences of stress in America—how stress is affecting us and what we can do about it.

Upcoming Events
Ongoing Events – Family Connections
  • National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Tue,  Oct  10 - Tue,  Oct  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.


National Alliance on Mental Illness

Find a NAMI Family Support Group
  • Fri,  Oct  13 - Tue,  Oct  31

National Alliance on Mental Illness

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


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

AUG 9, 2017

'The thing about narcissists is that they don't know they are narcissists'

Houston Chronicle

In "Emma in the Night," novelist Wendy Walker delves into the psychology of personality disorders. “I think I'm carving a niche in the thriller market around real and identifiable pathological disorders that I think are fascinating.”

AUG 7, 2017

Clients at the Haven Project with Personality Disorder channel emotions through exercise

Daily Gazette

There is now a general acknowledgement that physical wellbeing aids mental health. Fresh air and exercise have traditionally been recommended as a source of well-being and now studies have endorsed this. At the Haven Project, clients with personality disorders are learning the benefits of exercise on their mental wellbeing. They are also fundraising to help support others in need.

JULY 21, 2017

The Emerging Science of Computational Psychiatry

MIT Technology Review

Borderline personality disorder is characterized by an inability to form stable relationships, an unstable sense of self, and unstable emotions. Machine learning, data mining, and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing the study and understanding of mental illness. Fineberg and co review the impact that computational psychiatry is having on the study of borderline personality disorder, a condition that affects almost 2 percent of the population at any time.