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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

  • Apr 26, 2019
Teachers’ Mental Health and Well-being Linked to Students’ Mental Health and Well-Being

Teachers have important roles in the lives of the children they teach. That influence extends into the realm of mental health and well-being, according to research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. Researchers found that teachers’ mental health and well-being was associated with the mental health and well-being of their students.

  • Apr 18, 2019
FDA Approves Novel Depression Treatment

Last month, esketamine nasal spray became the first treatment for depression with a new mechanism of action approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride) was approved in the late 1980s. Esketamine (sold as Spravato) has the potential to be extremely useful for people who have not responded to other treatments. Used in combination with an oral anti-depressant, it can take effect much faster than many common antidepressant medications. However, it comes with specific restrictions on its distribution and usage, potentially serious side effects, a high cost, and cautions from experts including the potential for misuse or dependence

  • Apr 18, 2019
Infertility:  The Impact of Stress and Mental Health

Infertility, though often not talked about, is common. An estimated one in eight couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. There are a range of complex connections between mental health and infertility.

Upcoming Events
Feb
2019
01
Family Connections Program
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. Family Connections is a 12-week program for relatives with a loved one with borderline personality disorder. Available in person and via conference call.

Feb
2019
01
Family to Family Training – Find a Local Training
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Feb
2019
01
Find a NAMI Family Support Group
  • Fri,  Feb  01 - Thur,  Feb  28

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Jun
2019
19
NAMI National Convention
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Wed,  Jun  19 - Sat,  Jun  22

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.

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Editor's Choice

DEC 18, 2018

Is It Time to Rethink Borderline Personality Disorder?

Psychology Today

New research shows overlap between borderline and other personality disorders.  A running debate in abnormal psychology and psychiatry is whether there really is a diagnosable entity of borderline personality disorder. From the first proposal of this term to reflect, literally, the “border” between neurosis and psychosis, shifts in diagnostic thinking have focused on the deficits this disorder involves in emotion regulation, sense of self, and ability to negotiate boundaries with others.

DEC 4, 2018

'It's not a life sentence': Experts discuss Pete Davisdson, borderline personality disorder

Today Show

Experts applaud Pete Davidson for his continued candor about life with borderline personality disorder. "Saturday Night Live" star Pete Davidson certainly isn’t afraid of being honest about living with borderline personality disorder (BPD). After a hiatus from social media following his split with Ariana Grande, he returned to Instagram with a message about mental health and bullying.

NOV 30, 2018

5 Borderline Personality Disorder Signs That Shouldn't Be Ignored

Refinery29.com

If borderline personality disorder (BPD) were a relationship status, it would be "it’s complicated." Despite being in the spotlight lately via TV shows like The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and celebrities like SNL’s Pete Davidson, there’s still a lot of unknowns about the mental health condition. That's in part because BPD is characterized through different personality-based trends and patterns, which are very hard to nail down. And those patterns can show up in almost every aspect of a person's life, from how they act in relationships, to how they handle work situations, to even how they handle their own inner thoughts.