Modtagelse på psykiatrisk afsnit

This page provides you with information about personality disorders.

The psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region treat personality disorders in these teams:

What is a personality disorder?

We all have a personality. It consists of a number of character traits. They manifest themselves in the way we experience, think, react and express emotions. Our personality simultaneously expresses the way we see ourselves in relation to others. This is called our self-image.

Our personality is formed during the first 10-12 years of our life. In those years, relationships are of great importance to how a person’s personality is developed.

When you have a personality disorder, your personality is disturbed This means that there is a disturbance in the way in which you experience, feel, think, react and act. There are different types of personality disorders such as anxious-evasive, emotionally unstable and narcissistic personality structure.

People with a personality disorder may respond very differently to their perception of themselves and others. Some are extremely inhibited and prefer to avoid social events. Others are highly controlled by impulses and forcefully express their feelings.

Just as personality is formed during the first 10–12 years of life, personality disorders are also formed during these early years of life. Therefore, the first signs of a personality disorder typically manifest themselves in the early teens.

A personality disorder is treatable. But if you do not get treatment, a personality disorder is something that can affect you throughout your life.

Symptoms of personality disorder

Why do some people develop a personality disorder?

There is no single explanation as to why some people develop a personality disorder.

Research shows that the development of a person’s personality occurs in a complex interaction between factors such as genes, maturation of the brain and early childhood development.

Relationships with the child’s father, mother and other close contacts are of great importance to the child’s ability to develop relationships with others. It is essential to the development of the child’s personality.

Emotionally difficult burdens in childhood pose a risk of the person developing personality disorders. The biggest risk factors are neglect of care and repeated physical, mental or sexual abuse.

Examination for personality disorder

The diagnosis is made on the basis of a psychiatric examination, often consisting of consultations.  These consultations focus on your development, your mental problems and your ability to lead a normal everyday life.

An interview is typically also conducted. The purpose of the interview is to determine the specific personality disorder from which you suffer.

The overall criteria primarily attach importance to the existence of a persistent pattern. Do the problems occur once or twice? If so, they are not caused by a personality disorder.

Instead, it is, for example, examined whether your behaviour:

  1. Has characteristic, persistent patterns of behaviour that deviate from what is expected and accepted in the context in at least two of the following areas:
    1. Recognition and attitude
    2. Emotional life
    3. Impulse control and satisfaction of needs
    4. Interpersonal relationships
  2. Is very rigid, maladjusted, inappropriate
  3. Adversely affects yourself or your surroundings
  4. Has been like this since your childhood or teenage years.

In addition, it must be excluded that the behaviour is caused by a damage to the brain or some other mental illness.

Different degrees of severity

Personality disorders can be mild or more severe. The severity of a personality disorder depends on your ability to function in society. For example, can you take an education, hold on to a job and have close relationships with others?

Types of personality disorders

I didn’t know that I was borderline. I had no idea what that meant. I knew I was a complete failure. This was clear to me.

Treatment of personality disorders

The primary treatment of personality disorders is psychotherapy for at least one year. In addition, you can receive psychoeducation about the disorder and try to alleviate certain symptoms with medication.

Klap på skulderen samtaleterapi

Living with a personality disorder

When I harm myself, I don’t see any other way out. I don’t feel I can be in my own skin, and it happens so quickly. But afterwards I hate myself for it.

Advice if you have a personality disorder

Advice for relatives

Text on this page updated November 2021 (version 1.02).

Most recently revised by: Rikke Bøye, Senior Psychologist at Clinic for Anxiety and Personality Disorders, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry

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