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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

  • Jul 13, 2018
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Help Teens at Risk of Suicide

Despite increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues, the tragedy of teen suicide and self-harm are growing problems in the U.S. Among teens and young adults age 10 to 24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death (after accidents), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of teen suicide has been on the rise for more than a decade. New research finds that specific type of psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), may help save lives and prevent self-harm among high-risk teens.

  • Jul 10, 2018
Six Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health and Well-Being

Your overall well-being involves not only physical but also mental health. The World Health Organization says that “mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.” Just as there are things you can do to maintain your physical health, you can take steps to maintain your mental health. Here are a few tips, resources and ideas for maintaining good mental health.

  • Jun 21, 2018
Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD

New research has found that one common treatment for PTSD, prolonged exposure therapy, can be effective in a shorter, more intense format, making it potentially more acceptable and accessible to more people needing treatment.

Upcoming Events
May
2018
01
Ongoing Events – Family Connections
  • National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
  • 10:15 AM - 10:15 AM

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.

May
2018
01
Family to Family Training – Find a Local Training
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
  • 12:00 AM - 10:15 AM

National Alliance on Mental Illness

May
2018
01
Find a NAMI Family Support Group
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
  • 10:15 AM - 10:15 AM

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Jun
2018
14
Mental Health America Annual Conference
  • Washington, DC
  • Thur,  Jun  14 - Sat,  Jun  16
  • 10:15 AM - 10:15 AM

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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May 16, 2018

Emotions Matter Announces Nation's First 'Walk for Borderline Personality Disorder
PR Newswire

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects up to 6% of the U.S. population, contributing to the incidences of suicide and drug overdoses. The nation's first 'Walk for Borderline Personality Disorder' to raise awareness and advocate for change will be May 20, 2018 at Hudson River Park, Pier 40 Picnic House, New York City. While the public's perception of this mental disorder often labels sufferers as "manipulative" or "difficult," the Walk for Borderline Personality Disorder seeks to change that image, shedding light on a serious brain disorder sorely in need of more research and treatment to save lives.

MAY 10, 2018

9 Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms That Signal Mood Swings are Something More.

Prevention

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a largely misunderstood mental illness that affects mostly women and can show up as early as your teenage years. It impacts the way you perceive yourself and others, and can manifest as an ongoing pattern of wildly unstable moods, bursts of intense anger, impulsive behaviors, and inconsistent self-image. Thinking in absolutes (viewing everything as good or bad, right or wrong, black or white) is common, as is an intense fear of abandonment from those you love.

APR 24, 2018

Effectiveness of Inpatient Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

Psychiatry Advisory

Although borderline personality disorder(BPD) has been studied more than any other personality disorder, the role of extended hospitalization for adults with BPD is a point of contention among mental health clinicians.1Meanwhile, there is a strong consensus that psychotherapy with adjunctive pharmacotherapy as needed is the main evidence-based approach for BPD.