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Personality Disorders - Texas Christian University

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Personality Disorders
Chapter 9
General Symptoms
Problems must be part of an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates significantly from the expectations of the individual’s culture.Patterns must be evident in two or more of the following domains:Cognition-ways of thinking of self and othersEmotional ResponsesInterpersonal FunctioningImpulse ControlPattern of maladaptive experience and behavior must also be:Inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.Source of clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.Stable and of long duration, with an onset that can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood.
Similar observations in all subsets of the disorder
Behavioral patterns associated with significant social and occupational impairment.Presence of pathological personality traits during adolescence is associated with an increased risk for development of other mental disorders later in life.Negative emotionality-predictsonset of depression or anxiety disorderImpulsive or antisocial personality traitspredictsincreased risk of alcohol abuse.Personality disorder represent the early onset of more serious forms of pathology:Presence of co-morbid personality disorder can interfere with the treatment of other disorders.Ego-syntonic vs. Ego-dystonicEgo-dystonic-person with the disorder is distressed by their symptoms and uncomfortable with their situation.Ego-syntonic-(personality disordered)-do not see themselves as disturbed and their ideas or impulses are acceptable to them, primarily due to a lack of insight.
General Definition
Over-all definition is difficult as the personality disorders by nature are:ControversialDifficult to Reliably IdentifyPoorly understood EtiologyLittle evidence of successful treatmentPersonality (def)-enduring pattern of thinking and behavior that define the person and distinguish him or her from other people, including expressing \emotion as well as hw one thinks about themselves and other people.
Typical Symptoms and Associated Features
Social Motivationcan be described in terms of maladaptive variations with regard to needs for affiliation and power.Affiliation-the desire for close relationships with other peoplePower-the desire for impact, prestige or dominanceCognitive Perspective of Self and OthersDistortions of our perceptions of self and others.Inappropriate evaluation of relationshipsLack of empathy
Temperament and Personality Traits
Temperament refers to a person’s most basic, characteristic styles of relating to the world, especially those styles that are evident during the first year of life.Five Factor Model of PersonalityNeuroticismExtraversionOpenness to ExperienceAgreeablenessConscientiousness
Context and Personality
Development and Persistence of individual differences have two important qualifications:Differences may not be evident in all situations.People with personality disorders do not always exhibit the traits associated with the disorder.Consequences of exhibiting certain traits in a social context.
Organized into three basic clusters on the basis of broadly defined characteristicsCluster A:includes people who often appear odd, eccentric or asocial.. Cluster B:includes people who appear dramatic, emotional or erratic behavior and all are associated with difficulty sustaining interpersonal relationships.Cluster C:includes people who often appear anxious or fearful
Cluster A: subtypes
Paranoid Personality Disorder-characterized by the pervasive tendency to be inappropriately suspicious of other people’s motives and behaviors.Schizoid Personality Disorder-defined by a pervasive pattern of indifference to other people.Schizotypal Personality Disorder-peculiar patterns of behavior rather than emotional restriction and social withdrawal associated with schizoid personality disorder.
Cluster B: Subtypes
Anti-social Personality Disorder-persistent pattern of irresponsible behavior that begins during childhood or adolescence and continues into adulthood.Borderline Personality Disorder-diffuse category whose defining feature is a pervasive pattern of instability of mood and interpersonal relationships.Histrionic-characterized by pervasive pattern of excessive emotionality and attention seeking behavior.Narcissistic Personality Disorder-pervasive pattern of grandiosity
Cluster C: Subtypes
Avoidant Personality Disorder-pervasive pattern of social discomfort.Dependent Personality Disorder-pervasive pattern of submissive and clinging behaviorObsessive Personality Disorder-pervasive pattern of orderliness, perfectionism, and mental and interpersonal control at the expense of flexibility, openness and efficiency.
Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified
Allows for a non-specific diagnosis in addition to the 10 specific subtypes.Category used for people that meet the general diagnostic criteria for a personality disorder without meeting the specific criteria for one of the subtypes.May be the most frequently used diagnosis
Prevalence-over-all life-time prevalence for having at least one Axis II disorder is between 10-14%.Gender DifferencesStability over life time.
Schizotypal Personality Disorder
CriteriaSymptoms of schizotypal Personality disorder represent early manifestations of the predisposition to develop the full-blown disorder (Schizophrenia)Pervasive pattern of social and interpersonal deficits marked by acute discomfort with, and reduced capacity for, close relationships as well as cognitive and perceptual distortions, and eccentricities of behavior beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by five (or more) of the traits listed in table 9-3. For example:- -Odd thinking and speech--Suspiciousness or paranoid ideation--Inappropriate emotional responses such as uncontrolled giggling at a funeral--Lack of close friends--Excessive Social anxiety
Primarily genetic.First degree relatives of schizophrenic patients are considerably more likely than people in the general population to exhibit schizotypal personality disorders.
People with these disorders do not seek treatment because they do not see their own behavior as a source of distress (ego-syntonic)A relatively high proportion of patients drop out of treatment before it is completed.Therapeutic effects of medication are positive, but tend to be modest. Usually treated with anti-psychotic drugs to alleviate cognitive problems and social anxiety.Do not respond well to insight oriented therapy.
Borderline Personality Disorder
CriteriaFaulty Development of the ego structure.Splitting-tendency to see people and events alternately as entirely good or entirely bad.Pervasive pattern of instability in self image, in interpersonal relationships, and mood.Significant overlap with symptoms of histrionic, narcissistic, paranoid, dependent and avoidant personality disorders.Poor impulse controlSubstance abuseCo-morbidity with Depression
Most common theory focuses on the environment, specifically the negative consequences of parental loss or neglect during childhood.Animal literature supports this assertion in observed behavior of monkeys separate from mothers as infants (Harlow)Childhood sexual abuse
Psychodynamic therapy to include transference relationshipEmphasis on therapist acceptance of the patient, both personally and as a client.Medication-broad spectrum of drugs used to treat specific symptoms such as antipsychotics, anti-depressants, lithium and anticonvulsants.No evidence that drug therapy is particularly effective for treatment of any of the borderline features.
Anti-social Personality Disorder
CriteriaImpulsive, self centered, pleasure seeking people who seemed completely lacking in certain primary emotions such as anxiety, shame and guilt.Often intelligent, superficially charming, as well as chronically deceitful, unreliable and incapable of learning from experience.Required presence of conduct disorder prior to age 15
Biological FactorsInteraction of genetic and environmental factors based on adoption studies.Social FactorsPhysical abuse and childhood neglectChildren whose response style is characterized by high levels of negative emotion or excessive activity may be especially irritating to parents and care givers, and may evoke maladaptive reactions from parents who are poorly equipped to deal with this type of behavior.Limited range of social skillsConsequences of antisocial behavior.Psychological FactorsEmotionally impoverished-lack of anxiety and fear.Do not show exaggerated startle response indicative of fear of aversive stimuli-Unable to shift attention to consider the possible negative consequences of their behavior.
Treatment relatively un-effective due to inability to form intimate trusting relationships which are essential to any treatment program.Seldom seek treatment unless forced by legal system.
Dependent Personality Disorder
CriteriaAssume a submissive role in relationships with other peopleRequire an extraordinary level of reassurance and supportCling to others who will take care of them.Preference for affiliation that reflects motivation to remain close to people who will provide security and comfortFear of criticism and rejection leads to a lack of self confidence
Over-protective authoritarian parentsBowlby’s attachment theory-insecurely attached babies who have little confidence that attachement figures will be responsive when they need something.
No literature on treatment outcomeCognitive therapy predicted to be beneficial when teaching problem solving abilities, coupled with practice making decisions.Medication not thought to be helpful for disorder itself, many times prescribed for co-morbid diagnosis such as anxiety and depression.





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Personality Disorders - Texas Christian University