Emerging Issues in the treatment of personality disorders
Personality disorders are serious mental illnesses that can cause partial or complete impairment in a person’s life. There are ten types of personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. They cause a person to have unusual, flawed, and disruptive thoughts that result in abnormal and inappropriate behaviors. A person living with one or multiple personality disorders can be narcissistic and distant, and their behaviors can stir anger and rejection from people, which can cause significant impairment in social and personal relationships.
Like most mental illnesses, personality disorders can be quite challenging to treat. But while they are not curable, there are various treatment options available, including medications and psychotherapy that help suppress and manage the symptoms.
Why are personality disorders difficult to treat?
One major factor that makes personality disorders challenging to treat is because of the abnormal and unpredictable thoughts and behaviors displayed by the patients, which hinders them from thinking, reasoning, and functioning normally. Most of them suffer from denial and will seldom admit they have a problem because they fail to see that their thoughts and behaviors are negatively affecting their daily lives. They tend to blame other people for their problems and not themselves. Such people are often resistant to treatment and will not voluntarily participate in seeking the help they need. This makes the already difficult treatment process even more complicated.
Dealing with a treatment-resistant patient can be overwhelming. The first goal should be to help the individual recognize and admit that they have a serious problem that needs medical attention. Until a person accepts the diagnosis, effective treatment will most likely not be possible. But once the patient accepts that they have a problem, treatment can be initiated, and a long journey of therapy begins. Changing the thoughts and behavior of a person with a personality disorder requires a commitment to a long-term treatment plan that often integrate medication and therapy.
Another factor that hinders the treatment of personality disorders is the stigmatization of people suffering from this condition. Some people still believe that people who are diagnosed with a personality disorder do not actually have any problem but instead decide to be toxic by acting the way they do. Stigmatization of personality disorders extends to some health care providers who believe the condition is permanent and cannot be improved through treatment. This and other factors, such as remission to treatment, hinders effective treatment of personality disorders.