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Personality Disorders

Treatment for Personality Disorders at Pasadena Villa Outpatient Center – Raleigh

What is a personality disorder?

Personality, a relatively enduring pattern of thinking, feeling and behaving, emerges early and continues to change in meaningful ways over the course of an individual’s lifespan. A healthy personality allows someone to navigate the world successfully, while someone with a personality disorder has trouble accurately perceiving and relating to their environment and others.  According to statistics, an estimated 9 percent of U.S. adults have at least one personality disorder while previous smaller surveys estimate the percentage between 9-15.7 percent. The leading theory of the cause of personality disorder is the biopsychosocial model which considers the interaction of genetics or biology and impact of the social environment such as early trauma and negative parenting.

What are the symptoms of a personality disorder?

A personality disorder is characterized by strongly embedded dysfunctional behaviors and thinking that create emotional pain and relationship problems. The DSM-5 organizes personality disorders into clusters based on similarities in their characteristics.

Cluster A personality disorders include:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder

Cluster A personality disorders are more socially awkward and have more eccentricities in behavior related to their cognitive or perceptual distortions.

Cluster B personality disorders include:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior.

Cluster C personality disorders include:

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder

Cluster C personality disorders are characterized by extremely anxious, fearful thinking and/or behavior.

How are Personality Disorders treated at Pasadena Villa Outpatient Center – Raleigh?

Personality disorders are primarily treated using talk therapy although medications targeted specific symptoms may be beneficial, however; the treatment approach can depend on the type of personality disorder or combination of personality disorders. For example, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is used to treat borderline personality disorder by focusing on distress tolerance, effective interpersonal communication, and emotional regulations. Other modalities like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can challenge maladaptive beliefs learned in childhood and change targeted behaviors. Social Skills Training increases the ability to understand and read other people’s actions and feelings and appropriately respond, which is helpful for cluster A personality disorders.

Treating personality disorders takes months to years depending on its nature and severity. At Pasadena Villa Outpatient Center, our intensively trained DBT therapists help individuals increase their self-awareness of what are the unhealthy aspects of their personality and how it impacts themselves and others. Through the learning of specific skills and strategies, individuals can begin to manage and respond to their feelings in productive ways. Healing from a personality disorder is an ongoing process. Clients leave Pasadena Villa with a set of personal tools, a strong sense of their treatment pathway and connection with their community therapist who will continue the journey with them.