By our late teens, or early 20s, most of us have developed our own personality. We have our own distinctive ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. These stay pretty much the same for the rest of our life. Usually, our personality allows us to get on reasonably well with other people (122).
However, for some of us, this doesn't happen.
For whatever reason, parts of your personality can develop in ways that make it difficult for you to live with yourself and/or with other people.
* You don't seem to be able to learn from experience.
* You can't change the unhelpful ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that cause the problems.
These traits, although they are part of who you are, just go on making life difficult for you - and often for other people as well. Other people will often have noticed these traits from your childhood and early teens. For example, you may find it difficult to make or keep relationships, get on with people at work, get on with friends and family, keep out of trouble, control your feelings or behaviour, and listening.
If, as a result, you are unhappy or distressed, and/or find that you often upset or harm other people, then you may have a personality disorder (104).
If you have a personality disorder, life is more difficult, so you are more likely to have other mental health problems, as well as depression, or drug and alcohol problems.
What causes personality disorder?
The answer is not clear, but it seems that like other mental disorders, genes, brain problems and upbringing can play a part.
Sometimes, but not always, people with personality disorder have experienced physical or sexual abuse in childhood, violence in the family, parents who drink too much.
If children are taken out of this sort of difficult environment, they are less likely to develop a personality disorder.
Severe aggression, disobedience, and repeated temper tantrums can be a sign in childhood.
Some people with antisocial personality disorder have very slight differences in the structure of their brains, and in the way some chemicals work in their brains. However, there is no brain scan or blood test for a personality disorder (122).
* using a lot of drugs or alcohol
* problems getting on with your family or partner
* money problems
* anxiety, depression or other mental health problems
* important events
* stressful situations
With help, many people can start to lead a normal and fulfilling life, and most can at least cope more effectively with their difficulties. (122)
Psychological help involves talking treatments or therapies.
Longer-term therapy can last for years, and may have to be more than once a week. They all involve different ways of talking with a therapist, but are all different from each other. Some have a clear structure to them, others are more flexible.
Mentalisation combines group and individual therapy and aims to help you better understand yourself and others - being aware of what’s going on in your own head and in the minds of others (122).
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy uses a combination of cognitive and behavioural therapies, with some techniques from Zen Buddhism (122).
Cognitive Therapy is a way to change unhelpful patterns of thinking.
Schema Focused Therapy is a cognitive therapy that explores and changes collections of deep unhelpful beliefs (122).
Transference Focused Therapy is a structured treatment in which the therapist explores and changes unconscious processes (122).
Dynamic Psychotherapy looks at how past experiences affect present behaviour. It is similar to Transference Focused Therapy, but less structured.
Cognitive Analytical Therapy is a way to recognise and change unhelpful patterns in relationships and behaviour (122).
Counselling and Psychotherapy may be provided via Skype and FaceTime in the comfort of your home, office or any place of your choice.