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All you need to know about personality disorders in children and adolescents

The ones who suffer from personality disorder may have trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. © Shutterstock

A personality disorder is a term for behaviour patterns that make it difficult for individuals to get along with others, regardless of their environment or circumstances. Dr Manjiri Deshpande, Child Psychiatrist Docterz, Mumbai, briefs you about it.

Written by Editorial Team |Published : February 24, 2019 8:20 AM IST

The ones who suffer from personality disorder may have trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. "This behaviour triggers off significant problems and may lead to difficulties in relationships, social activities, work and school. Personality disorders can tend to become apparent in adolescence or one's early adulthood. Children and teens who suffer from it may often blame people around them or circumstances for problems they have created. This behaviour can cause a feeling of loneliness and isolation. Assessment and diagnosis of personality disorders generally happen as an adult. Before this period, it is considered to be an Emerging Personality Disorder . Parenting a child with an emerging personality disorder can often be a huge challenge. Parents often need counseling themselves," says Dr Manjiri Deshpande, Child Psychiatrist Docterz, Mumbai. She also highlights the types of personality disorders, causes and effects.

Types of personality disorders

Personality disorders are grouped into three overarching clusters which are based on similar symptoms and characteristics.

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Cluster A personality disorders

Cluster A personality disorders are known to be characterized by odd, eccentric thinking and/or behaviour. "It involves paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder. People with paranoid personality disorder tend to be tense and are usually loners. People with schizoid disorder may lack emotional expression. People with schizotypal disorder show odd mannerisms and appearances, they are passively detached from others," explains Dr Deshpande.

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B includes disorders which are characterized by emotional, dramatic and erratic thinking and/or behaviour. "Histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder. People with histrionic personality disorder are always seeking attention and show exaggerated emotions. Ones with the narcissistic disorder have inflated self-esteem and low empathy for others. People with borderline traits have unstable moods, engage in impulsive behaviour, are usually angry and have a lot of interpersonal turmoil. People with antisocial personality are constantly violating the rights of others, manipulative, dishonest and do not have guilt," underscores Dr Deshpande.

Cluster C personality disorders

Cluster C includes anxious, fearful thinking and/or behaviour. Cluster C ones have an obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and dependent personality disorder.

"Traits of avoidant personality disorder are pervasive and excessive hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, social inhibition, and feelings of inadequacy. People with dependent personality have a pervasive and excessive need to be taken care of that leads to clinging behaviour. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder has a preoccupation with orderliness and perfectionism, " says Dr Deshpande.

What causes personality disorders?

"It is not clear what causes personality disorders, but upbringing, life events, unstable or chaotic family life during childhood, family history of personality disorders or genetics play a part," explains Dr Deshpande.

This is how you can deal with it:

"Personality disorders can significantly disturb the lives of both the affected person and those who are associated with the person. Personality disorders are treatable and change over time. Early intervention to prevent disruptive behaviour problems may help reduce the risk for some disorders like antisocial personality disorder is the most promising approach to a disorder that seems so intractable by adolescence," says Dr Deshpande.

There is a substantial role for psychotherapy for the treatment of people with borderline personality disorder. "Social skills training can help people with some kinds of personality disorders. The family members often need help in understanding how to tcakle with a person with a personality disorder. They must be given information about the disorder and how one can handle it as well. Medication may be also be prescribed to tackle problems linked with a personality disorder like anxiety or depression," concludes Dr Deshpande.

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