NARCISSISTIC, AVOIDANT, DEPENDENT PERSONALITY DISORDERS
There are many different types of personality disorders. The overarching commonalities of all of them is that a teenager with a personality disorder will often have an unhealthy way of thinking, behaving and or relating to outside stimuli (other people or situations) and or themselves.
There are different signs and symptoms related to each type of personality disorder. There are, however, several symptoms that commonly arise in a teenager with a personality disorder, regardless of the type. These symptoms can include: poor impulse control, extreme mood swings, unpredictable behavior, and or relationship difficulties. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a young person to be unaware of his or her personality disorder, which can negatively affect his or her social life, family relationships, schoolwork, and or physical self.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Many teenagers may appear to exhibit narcissistic behaviors from time to time, but there is a big difference between that and a young person with narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by an inflated sense of self, established patterns of grandiosity, and an inability to empathize with others. Young people with narcissistic personality disorder will often think only of him or herself, feel that he or she is better or more special than others, be constantly attention seeking, set unrealistic goals, and exaggerate his or her achievements. A teen with narcissistic personality disorder will appear to have a healthy self-esteem, but under the façade lays deep insecurity. Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder will help a young person learn to build up his or her damaged self-esteem and learn to relate to others in a productive way.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
Avoidant personality disorder is when an adolescent has a tremendous fear of rejection, which results in social withdrawal and an inability to interact with others. Teenagers with avoidant personality disorder often suffer from low self-esteem and are extremely sensitive to criticism. It is not uncommon for a young person to be extremely shy and or socially awkward. There are specific criteria outlined in the DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for the diagnosis of avoidant personality disorder in teens. In order to be diagnosed, by a qualified mental health professional, with avoidant personality disorder, a teen must exhibit at least four of the following symptoms:
• Poor sense of self, feelings of being socially incompetent
• Unable to get involved with others unless he or she is sure of being liked
• Avoidance of extracurricular and or social activities due to fear of being teased
• Overly reserved in new social situations due to feelings of inadequacy
• Reluctant to try new activities for fear of being embarrassed
• Unable to foster new relationships due to fear of being rejected
The treatment for avoidant personality disorder will vary and depend on each teenager’s personal needs. At Pacific Teen Treatment, we will create an individualized treatment plan that will help a young person learn to cope with his or her symptoms.
Dependent Personality Disorder
Dependent personality disorder (DPD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed personality disorders in America. A teenager with DPD will be emotionally dependent on other people to function in his or her life. For example, an adolescent with dependent personality disorder will be incapable of making everyday decisions, like what to eat for breakfast, or picking out one’s clothes for the day. The treatment for DPD will help a young person learn to become more independent, resulting in healthy relationships.
Further Information and Treatment for Personality Disorders
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. In order 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 is in need of 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. Seeking 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.
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