Personality Disorders

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder characterized by unhealthy patterns of thinking, functioning, and/or behaving. An individual who is afflicted with a personality disorder may have an especially difficult time relating to other people, and effectively coping with day-to-day situations. That person may be completely unaware that an issue even exists, having become accustomed to that way of thinking. In fact, it is quite common for those with personality disorders to blame others for the challenges they face, and remain incapable of seeing their own part in recurring problems.


There are several types of personality disorder, and not all are equally as apparent. Most will begin during childhood or early adolescence, and several become less apparent throughout adulthood. However, regardless of how severe a particular personality disorder is (or may appear), it is very common for those who are afflicted to turn to chemical substances or other self-destructive behaviors in attempts to alleviate emotional and psychological symptoms. Thus, personality disorders and addiction tend to often go hand-in-hand.


Types of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are classified in clusters based on similarities in symptoms and characteristics.


Cluster A:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder


Cluster B:

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder


Cluster C:

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder


How Can You Tell Whether You Have a Personality Disorder?

Most personality disorders are caused by a combination of genetic predisposition and environment. Environmental factors include upbringing, events that occurred, and interpersonal relationships (with family members and others).


Individuals tend to be more at risk of developing a personality disorder if:

  • They have a family history of personality disorders or related mental illness
  • They were diagnosed with some type of conduct disorder during childhood or early adolescence
  • They were brought up in a chaotic, dysfunctional, or unstable household (perhaps one or both parents suffered from mental illness)
  • Variations in brain structure or chemistry are present


Although there are numerous types of personality disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder (or BPD) tends to be the most common amongst addicts and alcoholics. BPD causes intense emotional instability, which frequently leads to relationship issues, a deeply rooted fear of abandonment, and extremely low feelings of self-esteem and self-worth.


Those who suffer from BPD will typically display a wide range of intense self-destructive behaviors, and many of these behaviors will repeatedly occur over a long period of time. Many individuals who suffer from this particular personality disorder will concurrently suffer from another disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or a co-occurring addictive disorder, such as compulsive gambling, an eating disorder, or a substance abuse disorder. Like other personality disorders, BPD has its own set of diagnostic criteria, and can only be properly identified and diagnosed by a professional.


During evaluation, the professional will evaluate the following areas:

  • Impulse control
  • Appropriateness of emotional responses
  • Effective functioning in interpersonal relationships
  • Interpretation of self, others, and events

The Next Chapter Approach

Next Chapter takes a highly-personalized approach to treatment for all of our clients, beginning with a thorough psychosocial assessment completed by patient’s therapist and a psychiatric evaluation completed by our medical director. Later in the process we often will include a psychological assessment to aid in the diagnosis of the condition or conditions each client is facing. These initial evaluations are followed up by weekly visits with our medical director and patient’s therapist and supported by our clinical team approach in which each client’s unique needs and treatment are addressed by the entire treatment team. The team meets daily to discuss in detail each of our client’s needs.

Together, our clinical team will prescribe a course of action that may evidence-based treatments practices such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Solution Focused Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, EMDR and other Trauma focused modalities. Individualized treatment plans also include therapeutic groups, individual sessions, family work, and 12-Step education groups.