Personality describes everything about you.
It explains how you act, your likes and dislikes, how you interact with others, your moods and much more. Personality Disorders are typically defined as the way you think, feel or act that conflicts with what other people or the culture considers “normal” behavior.
There are many types of personality disorders, including paranoid, schizophrenic, avoidant, anti-social, borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic.
These personality disorders, along with others, can have a devastating effect on your life and on the people in your life who love you. For instance, if you have a paranoid personality, then it is difficult for you to trust others, even the people who really do love you and are worthy of your trust. Another example is if you have a narcissistic personality. You may come across as too arrogant or demeaning, making others not want to hang around you. However, any personality disorder can be managed and you can have a very happy and healthy life, surrounded by many friends and family.
Unfortunately, people believe myths and mistruths about the disorders. This only increases stigmas and hinders you from getting the help you need.
Debunking some of the myths associated with personality disorders is of great importance.
Below are a few of the myths and the reasons they are false. Use these to teach others the truth about personality disorders. The more education you can offer to others, the more the stigmas regarding mental health disorders will decrease.
Only Medication Can Help People with Personality Disorders
Medications can help a person with a personality disorder, but only if combined with other treatments and therapies.
Cognitive behavioral therapy with professionals specialized in the specific disorder you have can be very helpful in managing your disorder. In addition, there are many alternative therapies that can benefit you. Mindfulness therapies like meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and massage can help you learn to focus on you, your thoughts, your feelings, and your actions.
There are also herbal treatments available, including kava-kava and valerian root, for those with personality disorders.
In some cases, medications may not even be needed if you regularly participate in a variety of structured treatments.
People with Borderline Personality Disorder Just Want Attention
This myth usually gets spread around because sometimes if you have borderline personality you will try to harm yourself in some way.
You know that you are just trying to regulate your emotions and finding an outlet for your stress. However, others who don’t understand self-harm think you are just trying to get attention.
Otherwise, why wouldn’t you really hurt yourself?
They are clueless. Most people with a true borderline personality diagnosis go to great lengths to hide their self-injuries. They will cut or burn or hurt themselves in areas of the body that cannot be seen by others, an attempt to avoid attention. People with borderline personality disorder have trouble with self-esteem and experience anxiety in many situations, another reason they are not out to seek attention.
Histrionic People Have a High Self Esteem
If you have histrionic personality disorder then you are an attention seeker, but it is not because you have high self-esteem.
In fact, just the opposite is true.
You constantly feel the need to be the center of attention and actually have a fear of being alone or not needed.
You may even feel overly anxious if you are not granted full attention from others.
At times, you are overly dramatic or using extreme behaviors to garner attention, including being sexually seductive or exaggerating your emotions. You may also have an overlap of having a dependent personality which is marked by having low self-esteem and a fear of being alone.
Only Men are Diagnosed with Narcissism
In one study it was found that of all the people diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, 62 percent were men and 38 percent were women.
While men are mostly affected by the disorder, quite a few women suffer also.
Both men and women with narcissistic personality disorder suffer similar symptoms, including low self-esteem, hypersensitivity to criticism or insults, and others that have a negative impact on relationships they try to build.
Avoidant and Anti-Social Personality Disorders Are the Same Thing
If you have avoidant or anti-social personality disorder, then you know they are two completely different problems.
If you have avoidant personality disorder, then you likely have a poor opinion of yourself and a negative or pessimistic attitude.
You fear rejection so you tend to avoid situations where there are a lot of people who you think may judge you. You may also avoid taking risks personally or professionally due to your fear of failure.
If you have anti-social personality disorder, it does not mean you are against social situations.
It means you disregard the rules and laws of social situations. You don’t care if you violate the rights of others if your needs are met. You will manipulate others, lie, steal, cheat and show little remorse for your actions.
Mania Means a Person is Happy
If you experience mania, you can confirm that your feelings are elevated, sometimes extremely elevated.
But you will probably also agree that this euphoric mania does not last forever and it does not translate into happiness. Mania symptoms can range from hyperactivity to going days without sleep. It can lead to irritability, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and risky behaviors.
In addition, manic episodes are almost always followed by depressive episodes, sometimes severe.
There are downsides to mania such as anxiety and lack of concentration.
Mania can also interfere with relationships and make people afraid of you due to your erratic behaviors. While mania starts out with a feeling of increased energy and new found creativity, it can quickly change to negative emotions. If left untreated, mania can cause a lot of damage to your mental health and to the relationships with important people in your life.
Help for any of these disorders is readily available.
There are trained professionals who can figure out the right diagnosis and establish, with your help, a treatment plan that can include a wide range of therapies.
By seeking help, you are helping others realize that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of and that all the myths surrounding mental health disorders are not true.
It is people like you, who get help when needed, that decrease the stigmas placed on mental health disorders and treatments. You are bringing awareness to these disorders and to the help that is available.