What Causes Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are a category of mental health diagnosises that can impact a person’s quality of life. Someone who suffers from a personality disorder has a rigid mindset that does not adapt well (or at all) to different situations. Many people who have a personality disorder do not seek treatment.



What causes a personality disorder?




Science still does not know the root cause of personality disorders. It is likely due to a mixture of genetics and environmental factors in a person’s life. That being said, we do know a number of factors that can influence a personality disorder.






Like with many health conditions, personality disorders are partially caused by genetics. Those who have family with a personality disorder are far more likely to develop a personality disorder. This is especially true for those who have multiple family members with personality disorders.






Those who are bullied are more likely to develop a personality disorder. A history of physical bullying compounds that by introducing more trauma to a child’s life. Of course, not everyone who has been bullied develops a personality disorder, but it increases the chances, especially when combined with other items on this list.






Anytime a person experiences trauma they are more likely to develop any number of mental health disorders. That includes personality disorders. Any type of trauma can contribute to developing personality disorders but the more serious the trauma the more it will contribute.






Abuse of all kinds can contribute to development of a personality disorder. That includes verbal and emotional abuse when growing up.  As a child, your personality is developing and adjusting to it’s environment.  If you grow up in an abusive environment, your personality will adjust and many times compensate for abuse that is endured.  This will affect the child’s worldview and in turn, affect personality.



Heightened Senses



Those who have heightened senses are more likely to develop personality disorders as a result of the responses they develop to their senses. However, only a small portion of those with heightened senses will develop a personality disorder without the contribution of other factors.



Strong Connections With Others



Dependent personality disorder is a condition in which a person feels like they need another person in order to live. A child who develops a strong bond with someone growing up may start to be dependent on them. This could be a family member, a friend, or an authority figure (i.e. teacher).



Why Is Important To Know The Cause Of A Personality Disorder?



While we may not be able to map out all of the factors that contribute to a personality disorder, it is important to know as many as possible. Armed with the knowledge of the causes for a patient’s personality disorder, a professional can start to develop a more effective treatment plan. This is because they can target the specific roots not just work on the personality disorder.



Treatments For Personality Disorders



Less than half of those who have a personality disorder are diagnosed and receiving treatment. The exact treatment for a person with a personality disorder is highly customized. As we mentioned above, it helps to address the personality disorder at its roots if that information is available.



Medication and therapy are the two most common treatments for personality disorders. When it comes to medication a doctor will work with a patient to determine what medication is needed by each specific patient. They will also have to work with you to find the correct dosage.



Therapy is an important treatment step for anyone with a mental health disorder. A number of therapies have been received well by those with personality disorders. One of the most commonly used is cognitive behavioral therapy in which a specialist will help a patient realize what thoughts they are having and teach them to confront those thoughts in a healthy manner.



Other types of therapy include:

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Family Focused Therapy
  • Schema Focused Therapy
  • Mentalization-based Therapy



Personality disorders range from very mild to crippling. The affects a disorder has on a person depend on the specific disorder in question and the person suffering from said disorder. Finding a personality disorder early on will provide you with the best opportunities for treatment. Speaking with your doctor and a therapist, counselor, or social worker is a good first step. From there they will work with you to develop an effective treatment plan to help maintain a normal life.