Before joining TCG, I used to work in a behavioral hospital setting. It used to break my heart to see individuals feel so hopeless and helpless over their illness. They just couldn’t understand why the medications they were taking weren’t working despite trying so many different medications and despite reaching the maximum dosage. At times, individuals would turn to electric convulsive therapy (ECT) treatments. Half of the time, the procedure would yield favorable results, but sadly sometimes they would not. It was during these times that I often wondered whether there is an underlying personality disorder.
A person’s personality is influenced by 2 main factors: 1.) environment including interactions with caregivers, and 2.) genes such as brain chemistry and structure. A person can develop a personality disorder when they go through very stressful conditions growing up. Specifically, sexual, verbal, or physical abuse, neglect and abandonment, and instability during childhood. Additional risk factors for personality disorders are as follows: a family history of personality disorders or other mental illness and being diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder. If any of the above applies to you plus you have tried multiple medications and reached maximum dosage to no avail, you may have a personality disorder.
There are many types of personality disorders, but there is one main criteria that individuals with personality disorders share---A pattern of thinking and behaving that is inflexible and unhealthy that it causes difficulties in personal, social, and work relationships. Many times, individuals do not recognize that it is their own maladaptive patterns of thinking and behaving that causes problems in their lives. This is where a therapist can be of assistance. As therapists, it is our job to point out to our clients their thought processes. We then let our client decide if this is a thought pattern they’d like to keep, adjust, or change while considering the natural consequences of their behaviors. As therapists, one of the foremost ways we help individuals is in helping them make conscious decisions and take control of their lives. We are here to push, encourage, and support a happier and healthier you.