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Seeking Personality Disorder Treatment Clinics for Your Loved One?

Seeking Personality Disorder Treatment Clinics for Your Loved One?

Mental health providers at a personality disorder treatment center address several different personality disorder diagnoses. There are several that many are familiar with, including paranoid personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. In addition to these standard conditions, several are not as well known. However, millions of people live with them and struggle each day to manage symptoms and accomplish day-to-day tasks..

Data suggests up to ten percent of the United States population has at least one personality disorder. Personality disorders are considered the most common of all mental health diagnoses. Studies suggest personality disorders are diagnosed in up to 60% of patients. Between 65 and 90% of those who seek addiction treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab have at least one personality disorder.

Personality Disorders Explained

Personality disorders are described as mental health conditions characterized by unhealthy feelings, behaviors, and thought patterns. Many who have a personality disorder are rigid and inflexible in their thoughts and behaviors. When someone has a personality disorder, they will generally struggle to foster and maintain healthy relationships with others. They will also have difficulties managing everyday stressors and problems in ways that are “acceptable” to those around them. They often believe their way of acting or thinking, while often contrary to what is socially acceptable, is entirely normal. The thoughts and actions of someone with a personality disorder often lead to them blaming their personal or social struggles on those around them. These blame-placing behaviors often lead to significant academic, emotional, or employment problems.

What are the Types of Personality Disorders?

When mental health professionals assess personality disorders, they examine a range of symptoms and illness characteristics. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classifies these symptoms (and therefore the illness). It is possible to experience multiple personality disorders and symptoms from numerous clusters.

Cluster A: Suspicious

Cluster A disorders are classified by symptoms related to the individual’s thoughts or opinions about others. The behavior of someone with a Cluster A personality disorder might be described as eccentric or odd. It includes three personality disorder diagnoses, including schizotypal disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.

Cluster B: Emotional and Impulsive

Cluster B disorders are classified based on symptoms related to how the individual acts towards or treats others and based on the individual’s view of how they relate to (compare to) others. Individuals with cluster B disorders are generally described as having emotional, unpredictable, or dramatic behavior. This category includes four disorders, including borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. 

Cluster C: Anxious

Cluster C disorders are disorders focused on how people feel in their relationship with others or their environment. Thoughts and behaviors of individuals with cluster C disorders are often considered fearful or anxious. Cluster C includes three diagnoses, including dependent personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. (OCD).

What Causes Personality Disorders?

Despite extensive research, personality disorders remain some of the least understood and recognized mental health disorders. Researchers cannot point to a specific cause of personality disorders; however, data from various studies suggest several factors may contribute to their development. These include abuse or trauma history, genetics, and substance use disorders.

Although there is minimal research into personality disorders, no pieces of evidence prove one is “born” with a personality disorder. However, it is believed that genetics may contribute to an increased risk for personality disorder development. Currently, some research has identified possible genetic links to various personality disorders. One study suggests that a particular malfunctioning gene may increase the risk of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Another analysis is to understand the genetic connections between specific personality traits such as anxiety, fear, aggression, and various personality disorders.

Another potential cause for personality disorders is childhood trauma. Some studies have indicated a link between childhood trauma and personality disorders. The type and number of traumas are believed to play a role in determining the kind of personality disorder. For example, the study indicated children who experienced high rates of childhood sexual trauma frequently developed borderline personality disorder in adulthood.

Other forms of abuse may also contribute to personality disorder development. Research suggests children who experienced high levels of physical and verbal abuse during childhood and adolescence were up to three times more likely to develop a borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder than children who did not share similar experiences.

Seeking Personality Disorder Treatment

In general, people with personality disorders do not (generally) voluntarily seek out treatment. As a result, it is not uncommon for people with a personality disorder to avoid seeking help to manage their symptoms. This is true until the disorder starts to interfere with significantly or otherwise impact their lives. Also, people with personality disorders often feel threatened by others, so seeking treatment is counterintuitive and challenging what they think is “normal.” Unfortunately, this means many mental health treatment providers have minimal experience in diagnosing and treating many types of personality disorders. 

Unfortunately, many studies have only begun to address the signs and symptoms of some personality disorders, and therefore, there are very few treatment guidelines available.

Like many mental health conditions, the first step in treatment is to rule out or determine the presence of a co-existing medical or mental health condition. This means determining if a person may have a mental health condition such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, psychotic state of bipolar disorder, or a medical condition such as Alzheimer’s disease or a brain injury. Depending on the presence of co-occurring symptoms, they may need to be treated as part of the treatment plan. The most common treatment options for personality disorders include psychotherapy and medications.

Psychotherapy

Personality disorder treatment often involves long-term psychotherapy with a practitioner who has experience with treating the range of symptoms that can occur when someone struggles with a personality disorder.  Unfortunately, there is not much known about the effectiveness of psychotherapy techniques related to some types of personality disorders; however, many psychiatrists believe that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may help alleviate the symptoms associated with these conditions.

Regardless of the method chosen, the overall aim of therapy is to achieve the following:

  • To encourage the person to become more trusting of other people in their lives.
  • To help the person stop reducing (and eventually stop) questioning the loyalty of friends, family, and significant others.
  • To help the person learn to stop perceiving benign (or even friendly) comments as threats.
  • To help the person stop reacting to perceived insults with anger and hostility.
  • To encourage the person to become more forgiving of others.
  • To help the person become more willing to and to be more successful at working with others.

Medications

To date, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any specific drug treatments for most personality disorders. However, mental health providers may prescribe some medications to help treat and alleviate some of the troubling and debilitating symptoms that can be individually targeted. Because some personality disorders share similar symptoms with others, there is a possibility that using similar drugs to help reduce the intensity and severity of personality disorder symptoms across the board might be beneficial.

Because some drugs have proven successful in helping address personality disorder symptoms for specific conditions, mental health professionals may prescribe certain medications to reduce aggression and other similar symptoms. These can include medications such as antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants. Whether medications are used (or successful) will depend on your specific diagnosis, the severity of your symptoms, and various other factors that help your treatment team determine if medications should be utilized as a part of your treatment plan.


Outpatient or inpatient treatment?

If you would like to learn more about our programs at The Los Angeles Outpatient Center, including psychodynamic therapy, behavioral therapies, and other mental health treatment services, reach out to our admissions team today. We will work with you to ensure your treatment program includes all necessary elements to help you heal and

Treatment for a personality disorder can occur in various settings, including an outpatient environment like The Los Angeles Outpatient Center. For many patients, outpatient psychotherapy in a professional treatment environment will be sufficient to manage symptoms. Again, because there are several potential diagnoses and a range of symptoms one may experience, the type of treatment model that helps you best manage your symptoms should be unique to your specific needs.

At The Los Angeles Outpatient Center, we will work with you to ensure your treatment program is designed around your symptoms and the specific treatment elements that will help you best manage your symptoms today and after treatment ends. Our highly trained team of mental health professionals will work with you as they learn about your symptoms and work with you to understand your treatment needs.

It is also essential to consider whether seeking help at a dual diagnosis treatment center is necessary. Many people who struggle with personality disorders turn to drugs or alcohol to help reduce the intensity of their symptoms. Drugs and alcohol often help calm aggression, stabilize mood, and enhance feelings of pleasure and joy. Unfortunately, these feelings are usually short-lived, leading those who use drugs and alcohol for self-medication to use more often and more frequently to “feel better.” This cycle of use quickly leads to dependency and addiction.

If you or a loved one struggles with a personality disorder, it is vital to seek treatment to manage your symptoms. The very nature of personality disorders makes acknowledging the need for help challenging. However, without the support and guidance provided at The Los Angeles Outpatient Center, symptoms will only worsen with time, making a recovery more complex and challenging.

By participating in a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program, it is possible to manage and reduce the impact of personality disorder symptoms. As part of treatment, you will also learn how to cope with triggering events or situations to manage emotions and challenges in the future better.  At The Los Angeles Outpatient Center, our skilled treatment staff is waiting to help you begin your recovery journey. Reach out to our admissions team today to learn more about how our programs can help.