Understanding personality disorders in childrens and teens

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Understanding personality disorders in childrens and teens



Personality is defined as the way how people think, feel, and behave that makes a person different from other people. An individual’s personality is influenced by experiences, environment, and inherited characteristics. Meanwhile, a personality disorder is a way of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviates from the expectations of the culture, causes distress or problems functioning, and it lasts over time. While there is no generally agreed upon definition of personality, most theories focus on motivation and psychological interactions with one’s environment. Trait-based personality theories, such as those defined by Raymond Cattell defined personality as the traits that predict a person’s behavior. On the other hand, more behaviorally based approaches define personality through learning and habits. The understanding of people’s different personality is based on the study of the psychology of personality called, personality psychology.


Personality psychology attempts to explain the tendencies that underlie differences in behavior. Personality disorders, on the other hand, is defined by experiences and behaviors that differ from social norms and expectations. These are the class of mental disorders characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience exhibited across many contexts and deviating from those accepted by the individual’s culture. There are 10 specific types of personality disorders. Most of the common personality disorders is a long-term pattern of behavior and inner experience that differs significantly from what is expected. The pattern of experience and behavior begins by late adolescence or early adulthood and causes distress or problems in functioning.


Personality disorders in children

Most people suffer from a personality disorder. Children and teens who suffer from a personality disorder have problems maintaining healthy relationships and often blame circumstances or people around them for problems they have created. This behavior in children and teens could lead to a feeling of loneliness and isolation. It usually becomes apparent in adolescence or early adulthood. Teen personality disorders are characterized by a variety of behaviors and thoughts that are unhealthy, and often dangerous to their health or somseone else’s. Personality disorders in teens are complex and divided into many types and subtypes, which are based on specific thoughts, behaviors, and coexisting symptoms.


According to a website called, orchardplace.com, personality disorders are grouped into three overarching “clusters” which are based on similar symptoms and characteristics. Learning-mind.com mentioned that many health professionals were reluctant to diagnose people under 18 years old because of the child’s or teen’s overall development, biological changes, and psychological changes as they reach adulthood. Many personality disorders are not diagnosed until later on in a person’s adulthood. Experts also believe that it is possible to see signs of personality disorders in children early in their life.


Children with a personality disorder are identified by different types of clusters. Cluster A personality disorder is characterized by odd, eccentric thinking and/or behavior. It also includes paranoid personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, and schizoid personality disorder, and the most common features of Cluster A are social awkwardness, distorted thinking, and inappropriate emotional responses. Second, Cluster B personality disorder is characterized by emotional, dramatic, and erratic thinking and/or behavior. It also includes borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. The patient may manifest impulse control, overly emotional, or unpredictable thinking or behavior and other problems with emotional regulation.


Meanwhile, Cluster C includes disorders that show anxiety, fearful thinking and/or behavior. It includes the obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and dependent personality disorder.


Borderline personality disorder

Teens who suffer from the borderline personality disorder is a kind of diagnosis that has been difficult to understand, and even more difficult to treat successfully. The symptoms that are associated with the borderline personality disorder is associated with a painful mix of emotional turmoil, unstable relationships and self-destructive behavior, which includes suicide attempts. Childmind.org noted that as the time progress, the experts in behavior found new and more effective treatments that made a progress in treatment in people with borderline personality disorder.


“It used to be that receiving a borderline personality disorder diagnosis felt like a life sentence of misery,” said Dr. Alec Miller, an expert in treating adolescents with the borderline personality disorder. “But research now shows that the chances of functioning better and even dropping the diagnostic label are very high.” Teens with borderline personality disorder have extremely negative, distorted views of themselves, characterized by low feelings of self-worth. Paradigmmalibu.com mentioned that teenager’s beliefs and behaviors stem from feelings of inadequacy, teens who experience the disorder may offend and ostracize others or make mean comments, mood swings, and occupational bursts of anger.


Verywellmind.com mentioned that there is a strong evidence that supports the connection of having childhood experiences to how borderline personality disorder develops in a child. The traumatizing experiences in their lives such as physical and sexual abuse, early separation from caregivers, emotional or physical neglect, and parental insensitivity.



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