Understanding Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are deeply ingrained ways of thinking and behaving that are inflexible and generally lead to impaired relationships with others. Mental health professionals formally recognize 10 disorders that fall into 3 clusters (A, B, and C), although there is now known to be much overlap between the disorders, each of which exists on a spectrum.

Recent Posts on Personality Disorders

Should Health Care Providers Joke About Patients?

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 26, 2015 in Culture Shrink
Medical Gallows Humor can help providers cope, but at what cost to the care provider-patient relationship?

4 Shocking Lies About Weight

By Harriet Brown on February 26, 2015 in The Truth About Your Health
4 shocking lies about weight and health you need to know

Malignant Narcissism and the Murder of a Parent

By Carrie Barron M.D. on February 24, 2015 in The Creativity Cure
This blog explores Malignant Narcissism and the damaging impact that it can have on family members and others.

Personality Disorders Explained 2: Origins

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 24, 2015 in Feeling Our Way
Every cognitive map of the social world also defines a role for the person to play; a personality disorder implies a limited number of acceptable roles.

Detecting Darkness: How to Spot Leaders Who Will Derail

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on February 23, 2015 in A Sideways View
We know that leadership derail is both common and costly. We also know that there are many very good psychometric tests, which can help identify those who will derail. But so many selectors are afraid to use them. Why?

Personality Disorders Explained: What They Are

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on February 17, 2015 in Feeling Our Way
A person with a personality disorder can be asymptomatic, but we should still use the label if dysfunction or distress would follow from a reasonably expectable change in the environment.

There Is a New Paradigm for Psychiatry

The hope for a molecular-biochemical explanation for psychiatry is false. It is believed we are on the verge of proving that psychiatry is a brain disease, no different from cancer or diabetes. But there is a paradigm that fully illuminates psychiatry - the ‘Play of consciousness, which is consonant with biology, neuroscience, and evolutution.

10 Ways to Tell How Realistic You are about Love

We all hold beliefs about love and the importance it have for our happiness. This 10-item scale will tell you how realistic or unrealistic you are about what to expect from your closest romantic partners, how responsible you are for other people's happiness, and whether you're driven by the need for approval.

13: A Deadly Number

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on February 13, 2015 in Shadow Boxing
This Friday the 13th is the anniversary of the arrest of a man who'd murdered 13 people, starting on another Friday the 13th.

Attachment Styles Can't Change, Can They?

John Bowlby, the founding father of attachment theory, argued that the attachment style formed in early childhood often continues to shape a person’s behavior far into adulthood, permeating all future liasons. The attachment style of adults, however, need not completely reflect the child’s early interactions with a caregiver. Sometimes it undergoes a radical shift.

Why Residential Rehab Matters in Heroin Addiction

A sweeping 11-year study out of Australia adds fresh understanding to our knowledge of heroin dependence and, in the process, challenges a widely held misconception—that residential rehab doesn’t really do much to help the heroin addict. Instead, the research shows residential rehabilitation may well set the best course to long-term improvement.

Mixed Messages in Your Family? A Quiz You Can Take

By David M. Allen M.D. on February 09, 2015 in A Matter of Personality
A highly prevalent feature in families that produce an offspring with a significant personality disorder is parents who give their children mixed, contradictory messages about how to behave in certain social circumstances. To see how your family stacks up against other families and to find out what issues your family has, I herein provide a self-administered quiz for you.

Understanding PTSD, TBI, Suicide and Student Veteran Success

Research shows that the transition from the intensity of military life to a more independent civilian life can be overwhelming. Recognizing and understanding special symptoms supports the important objective of increasing the success of many veteran students on campus. It is important to share this information about the needs of student veterans.

Psychopathy and Mass Movements

By Joe Navarro M.A. on February 04, 2015 in Spycatcher
The predators that join mass movements and terrorist organizations

Star Struck: Blinded by the Limelight

Before you roll out the red carpet, take steps to investigate whether the famous people you admire are as good as they look. Many are . . . many are not. You cannot tell by looking, because ironically, with celebrity status, the spotlight hides imperfections, rather than reveals them.

Your Guide to Psychotherapy Options

Psychotherapy is not a 'one size fits all.' Different diagnoses and personality styles may fit better with different therapeutic modalities. This blog is designed to help you better understand some of the most commonly used (and empirically validated) techniques.

Talking About Sex Addiction

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on January 28, 2015 in Minority Report
Questions such as "Do you believe in sex addiction?" or "Is porn/masturbation ok?" are simplistic questions to challenging clinical issues. Instead, these questions need to be reframed from another vantage point.

9 Essential Issues Good Therapy Should Address

By Clifford N. Lazarus Ph.D. on January 18, 2015 in Think Well
Despite the fact that all people are unique individuals who will need their therapy tailored to their specific needs, there are some general factors that define good therapy. If you and your therapist are not addressing them, important therapeutic stones may be left unturned thus limiting your therapy's effectiveness.

Putting Feelings Into Words: 3 Ways to Explain What You Feel

By F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W. on January 17, 2015 in Off the Couch
Have you ever had troubles finding the words for what you’re feeling or thinking? Most of us have encountered this difficulty at some time or another. It often happens just when we most need to be able to explain ourselves – when we’re feeling something particularly strongly or in a crisis or just want to communicate a strong feeling.

Laughing Gas as a Treatment for Depression?

Nitrous oxide (aka “laughing gas”) is an anesthetic and analgesic often administered by dentists to minimize discomfort during dental procedures. Investigators recently reported that this drug may be helpful in treating severe depression.

On Being the Main Character of Your Own Life

Many elderly people have lost their improvisational abilities, and reciting lines is the only kind of participation they can still muster.

How To Spot and Stop Narcissists

Pathological narcissists often come across as grandiose, egotistical, manipulative, self-absorbed, and highly conceited. It's not easy when you have such an individual in your personal or professional life. How can you spot and stop a narcissist? Here are seven important keys...

Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Here Are 50 Ways to Tell.

The label narcissist is used loosely these days, typically to indicate someone who is vain and selfish, but the personality disorder and the traits of narcissism run much deeper than this and carry long-term debilitating effects for those involved with narcissists.

Ebenezer Scrooge: The Quintessential Controlling Perfection

By Alan A. Cavaiola Ph.D. on December 24, 2014 in Impossible to Please
Can we still learn something new from this quintessential Christmas story?

The Unified Theory: A Blog Tour

By Gregg Henriques on December 13, 2014 in Theory of Knowledge
A unified view of the field of psychology is possible. Here I offer readers a "blog tour" of why unified theory offers a needed meta-perspective on the field of psychology that is far more compelling than the current practice of viewing it as a disconnected, fragmented set of empirical findings that exists vaguely above biology and below the social sciences.

We Shouldn’t Treat Mental Illness Like Physical Illness

By Michael Karson Ph.D., J.D. on November 25, 2014 in Feeling Our Way
“Of course you didn’t do the dishes, you poor dear; you have depression.”

Harold Henthorn's Secret Life

Harold Henthorn lost both of his wives. Is he in mourning or is he a murderer?

Surviving a Marriage to a Narcissist and Sociopath

By Randi Kreger on November 13, 2014 in Stop Walking on Eggshells
"My story isn't one where I was thrown into walls, had broken bones, teeth shattered, or clothing torn off of me in fits of rage. My abuse was sinister. I met him at age 16; he was 22. I was enamored by his gregarious personality and his sharp green eyes. The relationship was intense from the beginning and just as possessive."

How to Plead Insanity

By Ruth Sarah Lee J.D. on November 12, 2014 in So Sue Me
What do a Texas mother who strangled her two special-needs children, a California man who shot his estranged wife's friend, and a teenager who beat his little brother to death have in common? Each has been found "not guilty by reason of insanity" within the past three months.

Excessive Attention Seeking and Drama Addiction

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on November 04, 2014 in Obesely Speaking
When silent desperation is not silent