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Personality Disorders

At Milestones Ranch Malibu, we understand how difficult life can for be for someone with a personality disorder, as well the effects on those that love them. Our expert medical staff works closely with our experienced and caring clinicians to provide the best treatment possible for personality disorders. Additionally, we provide support and education for family members. While personality disorders are inherently difficult to treat and progress can be slow, over time we have seen significant improvement with our clients. Treatment plans tend to focus on teaching interpersonal skills that clients can take with them and implement in their daily life.

What is a personality disorder?

Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders characterized by a pattern of inner experience and behavior that is inflexible and pervades all situations. People with personality disorders commonly experience distress, disruptions, conflict and instability in many aspects of life, and frequently believe others are responsible for their problems. Some types of personality disorders are: Borderline personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Dependent personality disorder and Antisocial personality disorder.

The constellation of symptoms for a client with a personality disorder ranges from mild to severe. While many personality-disordered clients function adequately, during times of increased stress or external pressures, symptoms of the personality disorder will worsen and cause serious disturbances with interpersonal relationships, occupational, emotional and psychological functioning.

What are some symptoms of personality disorders?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5) lists eleven personality disorders, separated into three clusters as follows:

     Cluster A (odd or eccentric disorders)

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

Cluster B (dramatic, emotional, or erratic disorders)

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

 Cluster C (anxious or fearful disorders)

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder

Other Personality Disorders

Personality Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition

What are the causes of a personality disorder?

There are many potential causes of personality disorders and the relationship among them is complex. They may be caused by a combination of upbringing, social development, genetic and biological factors, and innate character traits. Research has not yet pinpointed the cause to any one variable. Child abuse (physical, emotional, neglect and/or sexual) and a chaotic early childhood are experiences common to many clients with personality disorders.

Treatment of Personality Disorders:

Many mental health clinicians suggest personality disorder symptoms are among the most intractable to treat – in part, because the very nature of a personality disorder is long-term, pervasive, and inflexible. Personality disorders may however, improve over time, primarily with therapy. Also, sometimes medication can help and the softening of traits that the aging process creates. Treatment often focuses on increasing the client’s coping mechanisms and interpersonal skills. The most commonly used modalities are Cognitive therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, Dialectal Behavior therapy (particularly for Borderline Personality Disorder), and interpersonal-oriented therapy.

We hope the information contained in this article has been helpful to you. Please feel free to contact us at Milestones Ranch Malibu with any questions or comments you may have. Call: (800) 791-6859 for assistance.


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