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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

  • Jun 26, 2017
Sharing Stories of Hope and Recovery

When people share their stories of coping with mental illness or substance use disorder, it can provide inspiration and hope and be a welcome reminder that you are not alone in your challenges.

  • Jun 22, 2017
Building Resilient Communities: Embracing Trauma-Informed Care

While many people are very resilient, people can experience difficulties in response to trauma, including nightmares, flashbacks, problems focusing, depression or anxiety. Trauma exposure can also result in physical health challenges such as sleep difficulties, headaches, stomachaches and fatigue. Children, teenagers, and young adults can be more vulnerable to the effects of trauma.

  • Jun 21, 2017
Relax, Take a Deep Breath

Most of us have probably heard, or made the suggestion to someone, to “relax, take a deep breath” as a way to help calm down and reduce stress or anxiety. Breathing techniques have long been used as part of traditional stress reduction practices and their use is supported by much research. Practices involving consciously controlling and focusing on your breathing can be powerful tools for relaxation, stress reduction and mental health.

Upcoming Events
Jun
2017
01
Ongoing Events – Family Connections
  • National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Thur,  Jun  01 - Fri,  Jun  30

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.

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

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Editor's Choice

MAY 4, 2017

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment: Can We Make It More Accessible?

Huffington Post

In just the past few decades, a number of highly specialized psychotherapies entered the clinical scene as effective evidence-based therapies for borderline personality disorder (BPD). The proliferation of these intensive therapies—dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), mentalization-based treatment (MBT), schema focused therapy (SFT), transference focused psychotherapy (TFP), and systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving (STEPPS)—collectively helped turn the tide of prevailing notions that BPD was an untreatable condition.

APRIL 10, 2017

Borderline Personality Disorder: How Effective are Psychotherapies?

Monthly Prescribing Reference

Dialectical behavior therapy and psychodynamic treatment approaches in borderline personality disorders (BPDs) are effective in improving patient symptoms and co-morbidities, however the effects may be small. Those are the findings of a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry.

APRIL 14, 2017

Stop Pretending Narcissism Isn't a Disease

Paste Magazine

For some reason within the past year, narcissist, (like gaslighting) has become a buzzword—and one that is used inaccurately. There’s a difference between being narcissistic and having narcissistic personality disorder (Your teenage niece’s Snapchat obsession is probably not narcissistic personality disorder). Nothing is wrong with taking a little pride in yourself. Lacking the ability to empathize with or consider other people, however, disparages and destroys relationships of every genre.