You may have heard the mention of Borderline and Histrionic Personality Disorders if you have watched the news or social media recently. But what are these mental health disorders? Both have a long list of symptoms; however, personality disorders are treatable and manageable with professional help.
What are personality disorders?Personality Disorders (PDs) are a way of thinking classified as unhealthy and pervasive. Those patients with personality disorders may be unaware that their thoughts and subsequent behaviors are abnormal. These thoughts and behaviors are so ingrained into the person’s psyche that they are typical to them. However, it affects their relationships and negatively impacts their lives.
Many personality disorders often share the same signs and symptoms. Only a mental health care professional can properly diagnose and treat PDs. This distorted thinking steps outside of the cultural norm and impacts relationships significantly.
The person exhibiting signs of a personality disorder may experience a different reaction toward others emotionally, have trouble controlling their own behavior or relating to other people, and have distorted thinking about themselves.
Several factors can lead to strange thoughts and behavioral patterns: childhood, environment, genetics, and life experiences. Since personality begins to develop during childhood, most people with PDs begin to show signs in the late teen and early adult years. It is estimated that nine percent of Americans have at least one personality disorder.
According to the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), personality disorders are categorized into three clusters based on shared symptoms/traits. Cluster A covers eccentric disorders. Cluster B recognizes dramatic or emotional disorders. Cluster C describes fear-based or anxious conditions. Both Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder fall under Cluster B for their erratic and impulsive behaviors.
Types of personality disorders.
The 10 personality disorders are:
- Borderline Personality Disorder (Cluster B)
- Histrionic Personality Disorder (Cluster B)
- Anti-Social Personality Disorder (Cluster B)
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder (Cluster B)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (Cluster C)
- Avoidant Personality Disorder (Cluster C)
- Dependent Personality Disorder (Cluster C)
- Paranoid Personality Disorder (Cluster A)
- Schizoid Personality Disorder (Cluster A)
- Schizotypal Personality Disorder (Cluster A)
Since signs frequently overlap, a therapist will assess the symptoms and offer personalized treatment. However, without treatment, personality disorders can last for years.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline Personality Disorder results in instability. The person with BPD experiences unstable relationships, moods, and behaviors as well as skewed perceptions of self-image. They yearn for a stable relationship, but their impulsivity and dysregulation of moods prevent them from attaining this goal. More than three million Americans suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder each year.
The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder include:
- Anger and hostility.
- Depression and anxiety.
- Mood swings.
- Impulsivity and risky behaviors.
- Loneliness, antisocial behaviors, and self-isolation.
- Narcissism or grandiosity.
- Self-harm or thoughts of suicide.
Only a licensed professional can diagnose and treat BPD. This list includes clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists specializing in personality disorders. Clients with BPD fear abandonment and will go to great lengths to keep a significant other from leaving them.
Borderline Personality Disorder responds well to psychotherapy treatments such as:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
- Transference-Focused Therapy (TFT)
- Mentalization-Based Therapy
- Individual and Group Therapy
Transference-Focused Therapy is a long-term approach to help the client build stable relationships. The focus is on the relationship between the client and the therapist. Those with BPD often experience an all-or-nothing thought process. TFT works to keep thought processes in line both in the session and outside the office. The goal is to change the emotions and behaviors that keep the client from forming solid and stable relationships.
Mentalization-Based Therapy teaches the client how to get out of their own world. Personality disorders focus on self being at the center of the person’s world. With Mentalization-Based Therapy, the client must think about how another person feels and learn to be empathetic.
Self-care is also imperative for relieving the symptoms of BPD. Try to manage your stress, eat nutritious foods, and maintain a sleep schedule. Exercise helps to reduce stress and build self-esteem.
Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)
A little over one million Americans suffer from Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD). This personality disorder falls under Cluster B for its erratic, impulsive, and dramatic behavior.
The following are symptoms of Histrionic Personality Disorder:
- Seeking to be the center of attention.
- Battles depression when not the center of attention.
- Behaves inappropriately or dramatically for attention.
- Seductive behaviors.
- Will use their body or appearance for attention.
- Basis their worth on the approval of others.
- Overblown and dramatic emotions.
- Clinginess in relationships.
- Adds more emotional attachment to a relationship.
- Influenced by others.
- Lacks self-worth.
- Behaves in a manipulative manner.
Psychotherapy is the treatment choice for HPD. The therapist and client will work together to identify and analyze the triggers and fears resulting in these behaviors. Depending on the severity of the personality disorder, the therapist may suggest a combination of talk therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Treatment for personality disorders.
Although prescription medications are sometimes used to treat personality disorder symptoms, many clients find that various forms of psychotherapy work well to manage and diminish the symptoms.
The following are common treatments for PDs:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT is a treatment often used for mental health conditions where distorted thinking leads the behavior. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps the client identify negative thoughts and positively reframe them. A therapist assists the client in realizing the abnormal thoughts and creating new thought processes and behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy: DBT is often the treatment choice for personality disorders and other self-harm or violent mental disorders. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is an extension of CBT but goes a bit further. In personality disorders, emotions lead the way, and DBT seeks to teach the clients new skills to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Group Therapy: Group therapy allows clients to openly share their struggles with others facing the same condition. This is done in a safe environment with a licensed professional guiding the group. Group therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating general and borderline personality disorders, among other mental health conditions that can sometimes coexist with PDs.
Family Therapy: Although family members love their son, daughter, husband, or wife, etc, with personality disorder, they may be ill-equipped to manage the highs and lows of the condition. Therapists offer family therapy sessions to inform and educate the family on the disorder and how to help their loved one. The family also learns what not to encourage and what to say to assist their loved ones in taking responsibility for their mental health.
People with personality disorders may also turn to Christian therapy to manage their condition while leaning on their faith in God. If you can bring Jesus into the forefront of your life and follow his teachings on leading a fruitful life, your perception (thoughts) of the world will change.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy – meditate on these things. – Philippians 4:8, NKJV
God is the ultimate Physician and Healer and trusting in Him while maintaining treatment strategies can help you grow spiritually while overcoming a mental health disorder.
Do you or a loved one show signs of a personality disorder?
Only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose a personality disorder. Are you concerned about yourself or a loved one after reading the descriptions? Reach out to a therapist today who specializes in personality disorders for a confidential assessment.
Contact us today if you are looking to build your faith in Jesus as the cornerstone of your mental health journey. One of our Christian counselors would love to speak with you. Together, we can overcome all manner of personality disorders and their symptoms.
But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible. – Matthew 19:26, NKJV
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