Irish Daily Mail - - Good Health -

THERE is no quick cure for a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der but lots of treat­ments can make life eas­ier, and some peo­ple im­prove so much they no longer have a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der.

It’s im­por­tant to get a for­mal di­ag­no­sis by a psy­chi­a­trist or psy­chol­o­gist. Most men­tal health trusts have spe­cial­ist teams who as­sess, di­ag­nose and treat those af­fected.

The main treat­ment is psy­chother­apy, with dif­fer­ent types use­ful for dif­fer­ent symp­toms: some peo­ple may need sev­eral types over sev­eral years. Where the main symp­toms are dif­fi­cul­ties in man­ag­ing emo­tions, for ex­am­ple, Di­alec­ti­cal Be­havioural Ther­apy, which has el­e­ments of cog­ni­tive be­havioural ther­apy, can help get peo­ple to iden­tify and change un­help­ful thoughts and be­hav­iours.

Some treat­ments are in groups; oth­ers are in­di­vid­ual. Some psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tals also of­fer ther­a­peu­tic com­mu­ni­ties, where peo­ple with per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders choose to live for a pe­riod of time. Per­son­al­ity dis­or­ders can’t be cured by med­i­ca­tion, how­ever, many psy­chi­a­trists pre­scribe tablets to help with spe­cific symp­toms.

An­tide­pres­sants can help with mood or emo­tional dif­fi­cul­ties and feel­ings of im­pul­sive­ness or anx­i­ety. An­tipsy­chotics are also some­times used in low doses to take the edge off ag­i­ta­tion.

Some peo­ple don’t need reg­u­lar treat­ment, just ad­vice and sup­port at times when they are strug­gling. In gen­eral, ad­mis­sion to

a psy­chi­atric hospi­tal is avoided if pos­si­ble be­cause re­search has found that it tends not to ben­e­fit peo­ple with per­son­al­ity dis­or­der and can be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive, as it stops them de­vel­op­ing cop­ing strate­gies. Hos­pi­tals have ‘Cri­sis Teams’ to sup­port pa­tients in the com­mu­nity if they are hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time.

If your part­ner, col­league or friend has a per­son­al­ity dis­or­der, it’s im­por­tant that you look af­ter your­self, too. Set clear rules and ex­pec­ta­tions around their be­hav­iour and walk away, dis­tance your­self or give ‘time out’ when the bound­ary has been over­stepped — but em­pha­sise that it is a tem­po­rary mea­sure and doesn’t mean you don’t love or care about them.

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