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But unless it’s causing serious problems, then it’s often said they have ‘traits’ of a personality disorder, but not the full‑blown version — where the symptoms are a constant feature that hampers their life.
So in this way, personality disorder is really on a continuum.
To go back to the cooking analogy, it’s as though some of the key ingredients are missing entirely or aren’t in the right proportions, so the pastry doesn’t turn out right.
This makes life very difficult for the person and those around them.
As a result, they can sometimes be misdiagnosed as depression or bipolar disorder because they appear to share some symptoms.
There is also general confusion around the terms used to describe personality disorders, and what — if any — treatments work.
Psychiatrists such as myself see many people with personality disorders and know the pain and distress they can cause.
Lots of people have aspects of a personality disorder.
People with a personality disorder often find that they struggle to make and maintain close relationships, get on with people at work, control their feelings and emotions and understand other people.
Exactly what causes a personality disorder has created a lot of debate, but it’s thought to be down to a combination of factors. Perhaps it’s no surprise to learn that people with a personality disorder are more likely to have had a difficult childhood.
Some of the symptoms of personality disorders, in isolation, can seem to be advantageous.