|A personality disorder may be diagnosed when the person’s personality traits ‘. reflect persistent patterns of self-or other-perception and behaviour, are inflexible and maladaptive, cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress, and are markedly abnormal for the person’s culture.’ (Reid & Wise 1995).Most personality disorders are recognisable to others by the time that the sufferer reaches adolescence or early adulthood but the traits may not be recognised by themselves as symptoms. They may only become troublesome after a significant life change which causes them to become more exaggerated. Theories as to why personality disorders occur vary dependant upon the modality of the therapist, but it appears that both genetics and environment have a place in their creation.In many personality disorders, there are degrees of severity of symptoms displayed and a person may show several signs of, e.g. obsessive-compulsive disorder, without it reaching the level of requiring treatment. It is also possible for someone to display features of more than one personality disorder, again, with varying degrees of incapacitation.It can be helpful to make three groups of the various types of personality disorders, as defined for the DSM IV.
When examining each of these disorders on a little more detail, it is important to remember that many people can display some of these traits, without being categorised as someone who has a personality disorder and diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional.
As stated earlier, diagnosis of a personality disorder should be made by a professional therapist. If symptoms are causing the person or their family and friends any problems, therapy and/or medication may be advised. Other areas that should not be overlooked are the introduction of specialist diets and testing for food allergies/intolerances, which can also cause a wide range of psychological problems.
Reid, W.H. & Wise, M.G. (1995) DSM-IV Training Guide (4th ed) New York : Brunner/Mazel Inc (p279).