A personality disorder is a form of mental disorder in which someone has a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school. In many cases, the person with a personality disorder does not realise that he or she has such a disorder because their way of thinking, feeling and acting seems normal to them.

Personality disorders usually begin in the teenage years or early adulthood. There are many types of personality disorders and the intensity of the disorder may fluctuate depending on various circumstances.

Personality disorders can seriously disrupt not only the lives of the person directly affected, but also those who love them, care for them, live with them or work with them. There are a multitude of challenges and it is important to handle these challenges through effective problem-solving and without blame.

Personality disorders have a reputation as difficult-to-treat conditions, but there is increasing evidence that some kinds of personality disorders respond to particular interventions.


A factor that must be present for anyone with a personality disorder to benefit from treatment is a true and sincere motivation to change. In addition to treating a person with a personality disorder, it is often most useful to help someone who cares for, or loves a person with a personality disorder as their lives are often miserable and stressful. Psychotherapy can support partners and family members to continue to care for themselves, to recognise the symptoms of a personality disorder, to find their own resilience and to have compassion for the other person and as well as for themselves.

“I am more than my scars”

Andrew Davidson