What Is A Personality Disorder?
Personality traits are patterns of perceiving, thinking about, relating and interacting with people. These traits contribute to how a person is perceived by others in all types of interaction, whether it is social, at work or in personal relationships. Everybody has personality traits.
A personality disorder is when these personality traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and cause significant impairment to a persons functioning (e.g. in relationships, or at work). Personality disorders cause significant distress to the person and affect their thinking, and emotion (e.g. sadness, elation, anger). This pattern of maladaptive personality traits is stable and long lasting, they apply to a wide range of social and personal situations and cannot be explained by the differences in beliefs and behaviours found in different cultures.
Examples of personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder – to mention just a few.
Personality disorders can often be traced back to childhood or adolescence and are often diagnosed in early adulthood. They tend to become less obvious through middle age, mainly because people are able to function well by having acquired good coping mechanisms.
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