Personality disorders can take many forms. They usually begin in younger years, but are frequently not diagnosed until adulthood. Warning signs include, e.g. self-harm, constant conspiracy theories or compulsions. If you yourself or those around you are stressed by a behaviour, a doctor should be consulted.
The following symptoms don’t provide proof of a personality disorder. Each case must be assessed individually by specialists.
Emotionally unstable personality disorder
- Frequent impulsive action without any regard for the consequences
- Self-harm (“cutting”)
- Belligerent, aggressive behaviour
- Rapidly changing emotions, moodiness
- Pronounced need for attention
- Great fear of being abandoned
- Suicidal thoughts
Antisocial personality disorder
- Lack of empathy
- No sense of guilt and responsibility
- Very easily frustrated
Narcissistic personality disorder
- Over-estimation of own capabilities
- In love with oneself
- Highly egotistical
- Extremely sensitive to criticism
- Lack of empathy
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
- Compulsive acts
- Strong need to count (e.g. always counts to 7 before using the pedestrian crossing)
- Compulsive washing
- Obsessive thoughts
- e.g. dirt (constantly thinks about dirt, contamination, etc.)
- The obsessions are seen as ridiculous and unpleasant
Paranoid personality disorder
- Constant mistrust
- Pronounced jealousy
- Conspiracy theories
- Social withdrawal
Causes and treatment
- Brain diseases such as Alzheimer's dementia, epilepsy, brain tumour, etc.
- Family history (e.g. the mother already has a personality disorder)
- Childhood trauma
Personality disorders frequently start to develop in childhood or young adulthood. However, the diagnosis can only be made in adulthood, as strong personality changes are normal for children and young people.
Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital
- Search for an underlying disease
- e.g. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the skull
- Psychological tests
- Treatment of an underlying disease (e.g. medication for epilepsy)
- Psychotropic drugs
When to see a doctor?
- Behaviour that negatively affects everyday life, e.g.
- Severe anxiety