Thousands of people are diagnosed with personality disorders each year.

At Beach House Center for Recovery, we offer intensive therapeutic interventions that address the full spectrum of personality disorders. 

Our compassionate approach to personality disorder empowers patients with the support, tools, and resources they need to confront addictions and their mental health diagnoses successfully. 

Continue reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment for personality disorder. 

What is a Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are defined by the fifth (and current) version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as “significant impairments in [themselves] and interpersonal functioning.” 

While a mood disorder might co-occur with a personality disorder, a personality disorder is characterized by a pattern of unhealthy or destructive behaviors rather than unhealthy or destructive emotions.

Personality disorders are not caused by substance abuse or other medical conditions, but they can occur alongside them. 

A diagnosis of a personality disorder usually involves a thorough assessment by a mental health professional to understand an individual’s history, symptoms, and overall functioning. Treatment often involves therapy, medication, and various forms of support to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

What Causes Personality Disorders?

The exact causes of personality disorders are not entirely understood, as they are complex conditions that arise from a combination of genetic, environmental, and social factors. 

Some potential contributing factors include:

  • Genetic and family history
  • Childhood experiences, such as trauma, neglect, abuse, or inconsistent parenting
  • A history of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Abnormalities or differences in brain structure or function
  • Personality traits, such as Individuals with high levels of neuroticism, low agreeableness, or low conscientiousness

It’s important to note that not everyone exposed to these risk factors will develop a personality disorder.

Personality Disorder Types: Clusters and Symptoms

The DSM-5 categorizes personality disorders into three clusters with ten subtypes.

A person with a personality disorder can exhibit characteristics from only one cluster. However, it is very common to have personality disorder symptoms across all three clusters. 

Below is a brief overview of the ten types of personality disorders, broken down into three clusters.

Cluster A

1. Paranoid personality disorder

People struggling with paranoid personality disorders distrust others, including family and friends. They interpret and distort their experiences to justify their fears and project inappropriate thoughts and feelings onto others. This condition is believed to have genetic components.

2. Schizoid personality disorder

This disorder causes aloof and detached behaviors and a profound lack of interest in socialization. People with schizoid personality disorder consistently fail to recognize the needs of others or demonstrate acceptable emotional responses.

3. Schizotypal disorder

Schizotypal disorders cause an irrational interpretation of everyday experiences. Other symptoms include obsessive behaviors, a distorted perception of reality, eccentric appearance, and social isolation.

Cluster B

4. Antisocial personality disorder

Antisocial personality disorder is marked by a lack of empathy and indifference toward others’ feelings. Patients ignore social rules, behave aggressively, act without forethought, have no sense of guilt, and have an inflexible mindset. Criminal records or long jail histories are common among people with antisocial personality disorders.

5. Borderline personality disorder

This disorder is characterized by fear of abandonment, feelings of emptiness, and a lack of a sense of self. Studies have shown that it is more common among women and often manifests after childhood sexual abuse. People with borderline personality disorder tend to have short-lived and intense relationships because of their emotional instability, violent outbursts, and suicide threats.

6. Histrionic personality disorder

People with a histrionic personality disorder demonstrate dramatic emotional fluctuations, often to boost their self-esteem. A patient’s histrionic – highly dramatic or theatrical – behavior increases when they feel rejected. The behaviors may seem obsessive, inappropriate, and driven by impulse, which puts patients at risk of exploitation. Patients are susceptible to criticism and cannot cope with rejection or failure.

7. Narcissistic personality disorder

This disorder causes an overinflated sense of self-importance. Patients believe they deserve unwavering attention and admiration. Envy for other people surfaces as an expectation that others will be equally envious of the patient. Narcissists lack empathy for other people’s feelings and frequently lie to achieve their objectives.

Cluster C

8. Avoidant personality disorder

Avoidant personality disorder causes patients to fear embarrassment or rejection because they feel awkward or unwanted. Unless they are certain of acceptance, they avoid meeting other people, sacrificing Intimate relationships or professional achievements. Abuse or criticism as a child can lead to avoidance and anxiety later in life. The hyperawareness of their reactions prevents them from fully engaging in social situations.

9. Dependent personality disorder

Patients with this condition depend entirely on others for everyday decisions and care. Due to self-perceived inadequacy, patients fear abandonment; this leads to a sense of shame and idealization of their caregivers. With no insight into their strengths and weaknesses, patients with a dependent personality disorder often appear helpless and childlike.

10. Anankastic (obsessive-compulsive) personality disorder

This personality disorder causes an obsession with perfection, inhibiting normal functioning. People with this condition are excessively preoccupied with details, lists, rules, organization, and order, frequently neglecting rest and relationships in favor of work. A person with an anankastic personality disorder often overcompensates for lack of control over the world by overmanaging simple things. They have a strong desire to control others, dislike change, refuse to take risks, and lack tolerance for complexity.

Personality Disorders and Addiction to Drugs

It can be highly disorienting to live with a personality disorder. The desire to minimize symptoms and hide the related challenges from loved ones can trigger the instinct to self-medicate. That’s where the tie between personality disorders and substance abuse lies. 

Over time, reliance on substances to normalize behaviors or alleviate anxiety can lead to addiction.

Treating co-occurring personality disorders and substance abuse requires understanding how the two conditions interrelate. 

At Beach House, we offer comprehensive treatment modalities for various personality disorders, effectively treating the underlying conditions contributing to substance misuse.

Alcoholism and Personality Disorders

Alcohol use disorder and certain personality disorders frequently occur together, like borderline or antisocial personality disorders.

People with personality disorders might use alcohol to cope with their symptoms and emotional distress. Traits in some personality disorders can lead to risky behaviors, including excessive drinking. Alcohol might also be used to manage intense emotional states seen in certain disorders.

Addressing both alcoholism and the underlying personality issues simultaneously is crucial for effective recovery. Integrated treatment plans are necessary.

Compassionate Personality Disorder Treatment in Florida

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a personality disorder, you are not alone.

Patients with personality disorders might refuse to acknowledge having mental health issues because their beliefs and behaviors feel rational and deeply ingrained. Although reluctance to recognize a mental health disorder makes addiction treatment challenging, Beach House Center for Recovery offers next-level interventions that help a diverse patient population discover freedom from addiction.

At Beach House’s personality disorder treatment facility, our team of addiction specialists and mental health professionals have in-depth experience in dual diagnosis treatment. 

We provide dedicated, empathetic mental health treatment in Florida that helps patients identify and address the destructive traits that contribute to substance misuse.

To learn more about our treatment for personality disorders and substance abuse, please get in touch with our helpful and compassionate admissions counselors today.