Why Personality Disorders?
The upcoming Mental Health Awareness Week has inspired me to write this article. As someone who has spent many years supporting people who face mental health challenges and as someone who delivers mental health training, it has become apparent to me that many people are not aware or have little knowledge of Personality Disorders.
This has resulted in many people facing compassion fatigue, stress and little or no resilience to other challenges they may face. This can result in frustration, which can lead to an escalation in absenteeism due to stress and other mental health issues.
The intention of this article is to introduce separate clusters and types of Personality Disorders – it has not been written as a diagnostic resource but as an aid to support those who need it. After reading both parts of this article, part two of which will be released on Mental Health Week itself, I hope that readers will feel supported in a very person centred way and will be able to seek out the appropriate services for any issues they may have.
So what is a Personality Disorder?
Our personality is always distinct and describes how we show ourselves to the world. Some people are outgoing and confident whilst others are shy and reserved. Personality is a mixture of both inherited characteristics from our ancestors and traits developed as a result of what we have experienced in our lives, particularly as children. Our personality might also explain how we interpret what has happened to us and why, when two people are placed in an identical situation, one may seem resilient whilst the other seems sensitive.
Personality Disorder is a blanket term that describes a condition in which people seem unable to regulate their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. The condition can lead to problems for individuals, their families and society as a whole, often leading sufferers to act in negative, harmful or destructive ways. Mind, a leading charity concerned with mental illness, estimates that more that 10% of the population may suffer from severity of a personality disorder, with this figure rising to around 50% in prison and psychiatric hospital admissions
Common Indicators of a Personality Disorder Include:
- Being overwhelmed by negative feelings, such as distress, anxiety, worthlessness or anger
- Avoiding other people and feeling empty and emotionally disconnected
- Difficulty in managing negative feelings without self-harming or, in rare cases, threatening people
- Difficulty in maintaining stable and close relationships – especially with partners, children and professional carers
- A loss of contact with reality
Stress can make things worse. People with Personality Disorders can also experience other mental health problems, such as depression or a need for substance misuse.
The specific types of problems experienced are related to the specific types of Personality Disorders that an individual may suffer from – article two will explore this in more detail . In the meantime, click here to find out more about the services and training that Adullam Social Enterprises offers in relation to mental health.