The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list ten standalone personality disorders and based on similar characteristics, each personality disorder is grouped into one of three categories (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). The World Health Organization describe personality disorders as “deeply ingrained and enduring behavior patterns, manifesting themselves as inflexible responses to a broad range of personal and social situations’; they represent ‘either extreme or significant deviations from the way the average individual in a given culture perceives, thinks, feels, and particularly relates to others’ and are ‘developmental conditions, which appear in childhood or adolescence and continue into adulthood.” Put simply: no, there is no cure for personality disorders. However, it is important to note that the word “cure”, meaning after medical treatment, the person no longer has that condition, is misleading for any personality disorder, as it implies that treatment can reverse a diagnosis, which would be an inaccurate assumption. Nevertheless, treatment can help a young person with a personality disorder learn to manage distressing emotions and behaviors, reduce harmful actions, and meaningfully improve his or her ability to function. Treatment The first step in the treatment process is to obtain an accurate diagnosis from a qualified mental healthcare provider. According to the Mayo Clinic, a personality disorder diagnosis will be determined by a physical exam, a psychiatric evaluation, and diagnostic criteria provided in the DSM-5. The diagnosis of a personality disorder, according to the DSM-5 and explicitly outlined by the Mayo Clinic generally include “long-term marked deviation from cultural expectations that lead to significant distress or impairment” in a minimum of two of the following areas:
- The way you perceive and interpret yourself, other people, and events
- The appropriateness of your emotional responses
- How well you function when dealing with other people and in relationships
- Whether you can control your impulses
It is possible for a person to present with symptoms associated with more than one personality disorder. There are a variety of mental health treatment options, and the path of recovery will not be the same for everyone. An individual struggling with a personality disorder will benefit most from a customized treatment plan. For some, integrating a combination of one or more psychotherapeutic approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT), and more, along with medication into one’s treatment plan may provide optimum chances for a successful outcome. Treatment plans may also include refining one’s daily habits (e.g., practicing mindfulness techniques, exercising regularly, developing healthy sleeping habits, eating nutritiously, etc.) to further improve one’s overall health and wellbeing.
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Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.