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2288 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 19/4/2021)

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personality disorders

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Personality disorders (PD) are deeply ingrained, maladaptive patterns of behaviour which appear from late childhood to early adulthood.

  • the definition of the term “personality” is still a controversial concept.
    • most commonly used definition is;

    “an enduring pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviour in an individual which makes us differ from one another” (1).

  • people with PD demonstrate an enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the outside world and the self that is inflexible and deviates markedly from cultural expectations, and is exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts
  • in addition they have limited range of feelings, attitudes, and behaviours with which to cope with the stresses of everyday life (1)

These disorders are characterised by very longstanding symptoms which have been present more or less unchanged throughout the patient's adult life. This is the principle distinguishing factor between personality disorders compared to a neurotic or psychotic illness which results from a morbid process of some kind and has a more recognisable onset and time course (1).

Cause of PD is thought to be a result of multiple interacting genetic and environmental factors.

  • studies suggest that the heritability of personality traits and personality disorders range from 30% to 60%
  • family and early childhood experiences play an important role, including experiencing abuse (emotional, physical, and sexual), neglect, and bullying (1).


Last reviewed 01/2018