According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a little over 10% of the population suffers either from a personality disorder or borderline personality disorder. A personality disorder can greatly affect the way a person interacts with the people and the world around them. On their website, the National Institute of Mental Health defines personality disorders generally and borderline personality disorder specifically in the following ways.
They define a personality disorder as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture,” per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). These patterns tend to be “fixed and consistent across situations and lead to distress or impairment.”
At Granite Recovery Centers, we offer help for mental health issues, including personality disorders. Mental health disorders can impact your emotional, physical, psychological, and behavioral well-being, which means it can affect every aspect of your life. We want to help you understand whether or not you have a personality disorder and how we can help you get your life back if you do.
This is a quiz that can help you evaluate your own mental health. No quiz is a substitute for an official, clinical diagnosis of a true personality disorder, but this quiz can help you see what symptoms you might have. We would suggest that you consult with a physician if you are troubled by the results of this quiz. A physician can help you determine if a disorder exists and what steps you may need to take.
Answer either “yes” or “no” to the following questions and statements:
- Have you experienced a pattern of detachment from social relationships?
- For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt a deep, heavy sense of loneliness.
- Do you have an inescapable distrust and suspiciousness of other people?
- I often feel that people are criticizing, judging, or attacking me.
- Do you lack a desire to be in close relationships or part of a family?
- Do you have feelings of social anxiety, even in familiar situations?
- When I feel hurt, I react quickly and strongly and often say things I later regret.
- I feel like I don’t really know who I am. (e.g., I don’t know what I stand for; I feel like I’m always changing to adjust and adapt to the people around me.)
- Do you have frequent feelings of irritability and aggressiveness?
- Are you uncomfortable in situations in which you are not the center of attention?
- Are you reluctant to take personal risks or engage in new activities?
- Do you frequently choose solitary activities?
- My life always seems to be in a state of turbulence and turmoil.
- Do you often feel indifferent to praise or criticisms from others?
Write down your answers to the questions above and if you notice a tendency to honestly answer “yes” to most of these questions, talk to a professional about the results. Remember, this is a self-assessment and not a replacement for an official, clinical diagnosis. It is very difficult to be honest with yourself in a quiz like this one, and a mental health professional will help you figure out what steps, if any, are needed.
Why Get Help
There are a lot of reasons to get help if you fear that you, or someone that you care about, have a personality disorder. The onset of most personality disorders occurs in adolescence or early adulthood, but there are many cases of outliers to this as well. That means that even if you are an older adult or have a child that you’re worried about, it is a lot better to start early than to wait.
According to the website mentalhealth.gov, people with personality disorders experience patterns of behaviors, feelings, and thinking that can affect their life negatively in numerous ways. They can interfere with the person’s life, cause problems at work and school, and create issues in all types of relationships.
People who live with a personality disorder have higher chances of suicidal thoughts and more suicide attempts than those who do not. Living with a personality disorder is a danger to yourself, and it can be a danger to others as well.
Untreated, a personality disorder can take over a person’s life and even leave them lonely and depressed enough to consider suicide or to destroy their lives in other ways. Getting the right help early is the most important thing a person can do to fight against the negative issues that arise due to personality disorders.
Common Personality Disorders
Most personality disorders are accompanied by anxiety, behavioral change, and other severe changes in a person’s personality. There are three personality disorders that are clearly more common and thus require more of our attention.
The most common personality disorder is called obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, or OCPD. OCPD has similar traits to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but while people who suffer from OCD have unwanted thoughts, those who suffer from OCPD believe their thoughts to be correct. OCD generally begins in childhood while OCPD starts in adolescence or adulthood. Some potential signs of OCPD include:
- Perfectionism that hinders a person’s ability to complete tasks
- Over-devotion to work
- Not being able to throw things away
- Lack of flexibility
- Lack of generosity
- Not wanting to allow other people to do things
- Not willing to show affection
- Preoccupation with details, rules, and lists
The second most common personality disorder is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is defined as “a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy,” per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A person with NPD often:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or perfect love
- Believes that they are “special” and can only be understood by other special people
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a sense of entitlement
- Is exploitative and takes advantage of others to achieve their own ends
- Lacks empathy and is unwilling to identify with the needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them
- Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes
The third most common personality disorder is borderline personality disorder, which is defined as “a serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. These experiences often result in impulsive actions and unstable relationships. A person with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that may last from only a few hours to days.” The cause of borderline personality disorder is unknown, though genetic and social factors are thought to play a role. According to mentalhealth.gov, the major risk factors for borderline personality disorder are abandonment in childhood, a disrupted family life, poor communication in the family, and abuse.
Understanding and identifying the most common types of personality disorders can help you understand what you are looking for in your attempt to help your friend or loved one. The key is to look for noticeable changes in a person’s personality or actions and then to understand if they are making changes in their lives or if a personality disorder is doing it for them.
Co-morbidity of Personality Disorders and Addiction
According to an article published by the National Institute of Mental Health website, the overall prevalence of personality disorders in the U.S. population is between 10% and 14.8%. In patients treated for addiction, those numbers rise to between 34.8% and 73%. Those numbers are very statistically significant, and if the higher numbers are correct, the correlation is unmistakable.
The prevalence of personality disorders in those people who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol points to a larger problem. Personality disorders are difficult to pinpoint, and they can be difficult to diagnose. Many people who struggle with them explain them away or ignore them until it is too late. There is still a stigma for many about talking to a licensed health professional even when a person’s life is crumbling around them.
As was mentioned before, personality disorders can affect your emotional, physical, psychological, and behavioral well-being, which means it can affect every aspect of your life. When a personality disorder is not recognized and clinically treated by a professional, it can lead to any number of negative behaviors, as well as broken relationships and even suicidal thoughts. When a person is not treated by a professional, their next step could be what is referred to as “self-medicating.”
Self-medicating is the act of coping with something in your own life, usually stress or anxiety, by using mood-altering drugs or alcohol. This act of self-medicating is the easiest way for some people to deal with a personality disorder that they do not understand and have not asked for help to solve. The problem is, like any other pharmaceutical solution, there comes the point when you need more of a medicine for it to have the desired effects. Before long, the self-medicating turns into an addiction.
Even if the lowest percentage (34.8%) of people who suffer from a personality disorder also suffer from addiction, the correlation is too big, and the percentage of people who are addicted to drugs to “save” them from a personality disorder is too high. Something has to be done both to bring attention to this and to help those who are struggling silently with a personality disorder until it turns into an addiction.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we understand that, “For some people who struggle with substance use, addiction occurs concurrently with one or more mental health conditions.” That is one of the reasons that we are a dual-diagnosis treatment center. As a dual-diagnosis treatment center, we can treat both the physical addiction to a drug and the underlying mental health issue that brought the addiction on.
In years past, mental health disorders were treated exclusively in a psychiatric environment, and substance use disorders were treated in a drug rehab environment. The problem with that type of treatment is that the two things have been shown to be intertwined and that it would be difficult to truly recover from one without recovering from the other. Today, many residential drug rehab facilities offer treatment for both mental and substance use disorders so that each person has a chance at holistic recovery rather than just fixing one area of their life.
Granite Recovery Centers
Granite Recovery Centers is a dual-diagnosis treatment center. We treat you as a unique individual with unique issues in need of a unique treatment plan. We understand that cookie-cutter attempts to treat mental health and substance use disorders do not work, so we design your treatment around your needs. Our options include residential rehab, detox programs, outpatient rehab, and even gender-specific rehab programs. Our goal is not to just help you get clean but to help you get your life back so that you can be “recovered” for life. Granite Recovery Centers provides medical detoxification for people who do not need immediate medical intervention, are not a danger to themselves, and are capable of self-evacuation in the event of an emergency.