Environmental risk factors for developing a personality disorder
Environmental risk factors can include the circumstances a person grows up in and experiences that influence their development. One of the most common environmental risk factors that increase the risk of developing a personality disorder is a history of child abuse or neglect.
Verbal abuse in childhood is associated with an increased likelihood of developing personality disorders such as borderline, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive, or paranoid personality disorder. Children who were sexually or physically abused or neglected have an elevated risk of developing all Cluster B or C personality disorders.
There is also a strong association between growing up in a low socioeconomic status home and development of symptoms of all personality disorders. This group tends to be especially more likely to develop externalizing disorders such as antisocial personality disorder. Growing up in a low socioeconomic household can create various adversities which may contribute to the development of mental health problems.
Another risk factor for developing a personality disorder is parenting. There is evidence that having a parent with personality issues, such as poor bonding and emotional detachment, increases the risk of developing symptoms of personality disorders later in life.
Overall, the causes of personality disorders are complicated and vary by disorder and individual. However, there are specific environmental and genetic factors that can increase the likelihood of developing a personality disorder. In many instances, a person may be more genetically prone to developing a personality disorder and development occurs over time as a means to cope with trauma, stress, or adversity in the person’s life.
Treatments for Personality Disorders
Although treating a personality disorder can be very challenging, there are many different forms of treatment available. The most common forms of intervention are medication and therapy.
Medication is not a useful approach for all personality disorders but can be helpful to treat symptoms of certain ones. Treatment may include medication to help reduce depression or anxiety if it is a presenting concern. Other types of medication may also be used such as antipsychotics or mood stabilizers. Medications are normally used in conjunction with therapy.
Various types of therapy are used to treat personality disorders. Psychotherapy is the most effective long-term treatment currently available. Common methods used include cognitive behavior therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and psychoeducation. Therapists will often take an eclectic approach, using elements of different types of therapies to fit the individual client’s needs.
People with personality disorders may also benefit greatly from group therapy and family therapy. One popular approach is an intensive form of group therapy called therapeutic communities. People attend classes one to five days a week to explore in-depth the experience of having a personality disorder.
With regular attendance, group therapies can be especially helpful for people who have difficulties forming social support, want to build healthier relationships with family, or are seeking to improve social skills.
If you think that you or someone you love is experiencing difficulties due to a personality disorder seek a consultation with a mental health professional who will guide you through diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Each situation is unique and requires a tailored treatment plan