Why are personality disorders hard to treat?

Personality disorders seem to have been in existence before any sort of other disorders. But why has it been so difficult to pinpoint and treat them for centuries?
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  • Maybe it's because no two cases are ever the same. I'm sure that the manifestation of the disorder varies between patients and probably gets mistaken for all manner of things before the diagnosis of a personality disorder is investigated. Also, there's no blood test for these type of illnesses so there is no "yardstick" for comparison. 
  • Doctors are still trying to figure out the human eye completely, so to even think of the unknown things that the brain holds is mind boggling and devastating. There are so many things that we are yet to understand about the brain, which is the biggest reason as to why personality disorders are hard to deal with and hard to treat.
  • Personality disorders become a pattern of behavior that we learn from responses to "flight or fight" syndromes. We build a comfort zone within this behavior that is hard to let go of; and we, also, consciously or unconsciously, build self identities within these disorders. In order to change a personality disorder one needs to change a whole thinking process.

  • I think it's mainly b/c personality disorders are chemical embalances and can vary from extremley severe such as skitzofrenia [srry about the spelling] to something as simple as bipolar this can be hard to use the right amount of drugs or hormones to balance them out. There's also the question when or not 2 use medicine b/c while some may be bipolar other people may just be a tad moody and not be in need of medicine

  • Because your personality is individual. There is no 2 personalities exactly alike so they can't make a drug for each and every personality. They can only generalize and make drugs for certain parts of the personality that cater to the bigger part of society with issues like bi-polar, multiple, and others.

  • personality disorders are not hard to treat. you just have to be able to understand that every person has different personalities, and perspectives on different types of theories and situations. every person is different with personalities, so you may need to take time treating that person more - but overall, you can just talk to the person and also talk to them about what they like to discover their personality

  • Some disorders are easier to treat than the others like ADD/ADHD (depending on the gravity). There are bipolar people who've managed to overcome their behavioral problems through exposure to the right environment and good company. The most difficult to treat, however, is multiple personality disorder. Psychiatrists have to reconcile one personality with another (or others). It's often very stressful and can also take a toll on the expert. This disorder is rather rare, though, and only happens to people with traumatic experiences. In a nutshell, disorders are difficult to treat because you have to know where the person is coming from, the cause of his or her disorder and the factors that mitigate or dilute the irregular behavior.
  • I think @missbishi really hit the nail on the head. So many personality disorders end up being misdiagnosed - and it can also be tough because personality disorders often can just be blended in with a person's day to day life.

    Look at one personality disorder for instance - Narcissistic Personality Disorder. One of the main traits of someone with this is someone who has a need for admiration and a lack of empathy! There are hundreds of people out there that exhibit those traits to varying degrees -- and I'm certainly not saying all of them have NPD - but you can see the difficulty then with diagnosis, right?! 
  • i think the major reason is that even they themselve donn't know what they would like or dislike,what they are thinking about,what they are planning to do next minute.so ,they always be in a disorder condition in their minds.
    but,to keep them calm may be a good methord to treat them.
    anyhow,if you can understand the trait of their personalities ,you can handle it eaiser.

  • Very, very true that many of the traits in personality disorders exist on a spectrum, which can make each case vastly different even within the same personality disorder. Also, many of the disorders share similar traits, so misdiagnosis is incredibly common. The human brain is certainly a complicated thing.
  • In my opinion, it's hard to get rid of them because it's something you're BORN with. It's not like a drug addiction you gain later in life, it's a part of you. Just like introverts are born like this and can't get rid of it, so are people with personality disorders. Just trying to "heal" them would scar them even more than they already are. 
  • Think of it this way. Up to 4% of the general population could be psychopaths (Anti Social Personality Disorder). That's four in every hundred people. How many people do you know? I'm sure you know more than one hundred people. For every 100 people you know, it's very possible that four of those people might actually be psychopaths... but how would you know? How would you be able to tell that those people have no conscience or remorse? You wouldn't! It would take literally spending decades with those people and monitoring their behaviour every step of the way in order to be able to see the signs and cues which indicate that they may be inflicted as such - the symptoms are very largely invisible.

    I also noticed that ADD/ADHD and Bi-Polar Disorder were mentioned above - these are not personality disorders, they are mental health disorders. Personality disorders are psychiatric illnesses, just like Schizophrenia or PTSD.
  • I also feel that the stigma around them contributes.
    It took the medical profession a lot longer to decide they they CAN be treated. That was time taking away from HOW they can be treated.
    I think that in a few decades we will see a lot of progress on this front.
  • I'm guessing they are hard to treat because they are not the easiest to diagnose.  Plus some people might now be so sure they actually have a personality disorder, and if they do they might be clueless as to  what kind of disorder could be (it's good to have an idea of what could be going on, in case the psychiatrist you see needs some guidance). 
  • I think of several reasons as to why personality disorders are difficult to treat:

    1. Difficulty of diagnosing. Some personality disorders overlap with another. Sometimes, one personality disorder in itself can be difficult to diagnose unless you're with that person 24/7 because some symptoms don't manifest in an hour of meeting.

    2. It involves the brain. It's difficult to treat some disorders when it involves the brain. There's that issue of what do we focus on and there's that possibility of getting addicted to the drug as well.

    3. Some people don't seek treatment and how do we treat them if they don't see themselves as having a disorder at all?
  • I have APD and it's downright impossible for me to get rid of it because that's who I am, sadly. It ties into my introverted nature and terrible experiences with people. Other circumstances of my life definitely don't help.
    It kills me that because of bullying that I went through kindergarten to high school I've become someone socially crippled in a way, while my bullies are doing fine. I hate that so many people think that bullying doesn't affect people's personality and chances at happiness in adult life. 
  • I think it would have to depend on the fact that people are all different and even ones who have the same personality disorder may exhibit different symptoms. People would have to seek help for problems before their personality disorder could even be diagnosed and most people tend to stay away from professionals especially long ago. There are so many complexities with the human brain, we may never know the everything that it is capable of or know all the disorders that are possible to have.
  • I think a big part of what slows the process down is denial. Most of the time people try and chalk it up to other lesser problems for one reason or another, and by doing that they are just sweeping the problem under the rug instead of addressing it straight on which would be a faster method. Also from my experience being in a country that is lagging behind greatly in terms of progress, I'd say religion might also be playing a significant part in development as people are expected to just pray everything away instead of contributing their thoughts and experiences to scientific studies where it can possibly help future generations, but unfortunately psychology here is seen as more voodoo than praying to a man in the sky.
  • I really think Narcissistic personality disorder has to be right up there as one truly difficult disorder to treat.
    Mainly because a narcissist has such a strong sense of FALSE self, that they will never allow themselves to even think they have any problem.
    Narcissist can rarely be helped because they truly believe they dont need any help.
    Even Borderline Personality Disorder (another difficult disorder) can be slowly treated (mainly via DBT methods), but purely because the Borderline person knows something isnt right and is willing to admit there is a problem.
    Admitting there is a problem is the key to solving..and Narcissists cannot accept that they are flawed human beings.
  • Our brains are wired differently and different people have different personalities. No cases of personality disorders are exactly the same maybe because no two people are exactly alike.  And that makes is more difficult to treat because doctors need to use different approach for it every time.  
  • Personality is part of your identity, so telling someone they have a personality disorder is telling them that a fundamental part of who they are is a problem and must be changed.  How many people really want that? Until a person sees their mindset as a problem, they aren't likely to want to change, because most people like who they are, even if they don't like some things about themselves. 

    I think psychology could do a much better job in some ways in addressing the whole topic from a different approach.  Whenever you give someone a diagnosis they aren't seeking, you are threatening them.  So first we need to find better ways to help people who have mental health conditions see help as beneficial, rather than something other people are trying to make them do to change them.
  • Hi, Nice discussion going on. Sorry to say that I have no idea regarding this but by reading these discussion got little bit. Thanks for sharing. Continue discussion. 
  • @Tonyeric hey there! welcome to the forum! glad you're getting something out of the threads.... feel free to comment as you wish!
  • Personality is the identity of a person so its disorders affect our life. It is a group of mental illnesses which is hard to treat. They involve long-term patterns of thoughts and behaviors that are unhealthy and inflexible. The behaviors cause serious problems with relationships and work. People with personality disorders have trouble dealing with everyday stresses and problems. Personality disorders are caused by a mixture of genetic factors, such as a family history of disorders and upbringing. So for a speedy recovery, we need to keep our mind calm and cool. For that, we can do yoga, meditation and also read some healing inspirational poetry like  Roots Poetry. Hope all will benifitted by this. Thanks.
  • @tonyeric hey there. thanks for sharing. i do think writing poetry can be helpful to those who like to write.... yoga and meditation are great tools as well.
  • Thanks for your post, @tonyeric. I'm going to check out the poetry at that site. 
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