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Personality Disorders Mental Health Treatment Center Orange County California

What are Personality Disorders?

Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions characterized by enduring patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience that deviate significantly from the expectations of the individual’s culture. These patterns, which are inflexible and pervasive, lead to impairment in social, occupational, and personal functioning. Personality disorders typically emerge in adolescence or early adulthood and persist over time.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) recognizes several types of personality disorders, which are grouped into three clusters


  • The prevalence of personality disorders can vary based on the specific type of disorder and diagnostic criteria.
  • According to estimates from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), about 9.1% of the U.S. population meets the criteria for at least one personality disorder.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is among the more commonly diagnosed personality disorders.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):

    • Estimated prevalence: Around 1.6% of the general population.
    • More commonly diagnosed in women than men.
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD):

    • Estimated prevalence: Approximately 1% of the general population.
    • More commonly diagnosed in men than women.
  • Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD):

    • Estimated prevalence: Around 2.4% of the general population.
    • Equally prevalent in men and women.
  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):

    • Estimated prevalence: Less than 1% of the general population.
    • More commonly diagnosed in men than women.

What is a Person With a Personality Disorder Like?

People with personality disorders find it harder to connect with society and people. They have a different view of the world and its expectations.

These differences make it harder for them to cultivate and maintain friendships. People who suffer from personality disorders might not know or think they are different from others.

Most personality disorders start from a very young age.

Clinically Reviewed by: Charee Marquez, LMFT

Types of Personality Disorders:

Personality disorders encompass a wide spectrum of distinct characteristics and behaviors, categorized into three clusters—A, B, and C. Each cluster encapsulates specific traits that contribute to unique challenges in interpersonal relationships and daily functioning. Exploring these clusters and delving into the traits associated with different personality disorders offers a comprehensive understanding of the complexities individuals with these conditions navigate.

Cluster A: Suspicious or Paranoid Personality Disorders

  1. Schizoid Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Difficulty forming social connections.
      • Struggles with communication and tends to be distant.
      • Challenges in establishing close relationships.
    • Impact:
      • Social isolation and difficulty connecting emotionally.
  2. Paranoid Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Pervasive distrust and suspicion.
      • Suspicions about others’ actions and motives.
    • Impact:
      • Difficulty trusting and forming meaningful connections.
  3. Schizotypal Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Belief that thoughts can influence others’ actions.
      • Difficulty forming meaningful relationships.
    • Impact:
      • Unconventional beliefs and challenges in social interactions.

Cluster B: Emotionally Unstable, Dramatic, and Impulsive Personality Disorders

  1. Borderline Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Struggles with feelings of abandonment.
      • Rapid mood swings and impulsive behaviors.
    • Impact:
      • Challenges in maintaining stable relationships.
  2. Histrionic Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Seeks attention and exhibits overly dramatic behavior.
      • Craves approval and influenced by others’ opinions.
    • Impact:
      • Tendency to prioritize attention-seeking over genuine connections.
  3. Antisocial Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Manipulative and lacks empathy.
      • Engages in impulsive actions without remorse.
    • Impact:
      • Difficulty forming meaningful connections; potential legal issues.
  4. Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Superiority complex and lack of empathy.
      • Excessive pride in achievements.
    • Impact:
      • Strained relationships due to self-centered behavior.

Cluster C: Anxiety and Fearful Personality Disorders

  1. Dependent Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Excessive dependence on others.
      • Difficulty with decision-making and fear of rejection.
    • Impact:
      • Tolerance of emotional and physical abuse for dependency.
  2. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

    • Traits:
      • Perfectionism and preoccupation with order.
      • Ritualistic behaviors to maintain control.
    • Impact:
      • Struggles with flexibility and may neglect health and relationships.
  3. Avoidant Personality Disorder:

    • Traits:
      • Fear of criticism or rejection.
      • Difficulty interacting with others due to feelings of inadequacy.
    • Impact:
      • Impaired social interactions and low self-esteem.

Personality Traits vs. Disorders:

  • Personality Traits:

    • Consistent patterns of thinking, such as extroversion.
    • Positively contribute to one’s life without deviating from societal norms.
  • Personality Disorders:

    • Extreme traits causing significant deviations from normal behavior.
    • Negative impact on daily life and relationships.

Causes and Symptoms of Personality Disorders:

  • Causes:

    • Complex interplay of genetics, environment, and neurostructural changes.
    • Prenatal complications, childhood trauma, and substance abuse as potential risk factors.
  • Symptoms:

    • Varied based on the specific personality disorder.
    • Behavioral, emotional, and interpersonal challenges.

Likelihood and Diagnosis of Personality Disorders:

  • Likelihood Factors:

    • Race, family history, childhood experiences, and substance abuse contribute to vulnerability.
  • Diagnosis Process:

    • Follows DSM-5 guidelines.
    • Questionnaires, examinations, and assessments of behavioral and emotional stability.

Treatment Options:

The treatment of personality disorders typically involves a multidimensional approach, tailored to the specific traits and challenges associated with each disorder. It’s important to note that treatment plans may vary based on individual needs, and a comprehensive assessment by mental health professionals guides the intervention. Here’s an overview of common therapeutic strategies used in treating personality disorders:

1. Psychotherapy:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

    • Focuses on identifying and challenging maladaptive thought patterns and behaviors.
    • Helps individuals develop coping strategies and problem-solving skills.
    • Effective for disorders with cognitive distortions and impulsive behaviors.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT):

    • Emphasizes building skills in areas such as emotional regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and mindfulness.
    • Particularly beneficial for individuals with borderline personality disorder.
  • Psychodynamic Therapy:

    • Explores unconscious patterns and unresolved conflicts contributing to personality difficulties.
    • Aims to enhance self-awareness and insight.
  • Schema-Focused Therapy:

    • Targets underlying negative core beliefs and early maladaptive schemas.
    • Focuses on changing dysfunctional schemas and developing healthier coping strategies.

2. Medication:

  • Antidepressants:

    • Used to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety often associated with personality disorders.
    • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other classes may be prescribed.
  • Mood Stabilizers:

    • Address mood swings, impulsivity, and emotional dysregulation.
    • Commonly used for disorders with mood instability.
  • Antipsychotic Medications:

    • May be considered for specific symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, or severe mood disturbances.
    • Particularly relevant for disorders with psychotic features.

3. Supportive Therapies:

  • Group Therapy:

    • Provides a supportive environment for individuals to share experiences and coping strategies.
    • Encourages social interaction and skill-building.
  • Family Therapy:

    • Involves family members in the therapeutic process to improve communication and address relational dynamics.
    • Beneficial for disorders impacting family relationships.

4. Mindfulness-Based Practices:

  • Mindfulness Meditation:

    • Teaches individuals to stay present in the moment and reduce impulsive reactions.
    • Helpful for disorders involving emotional dysregulation.
  • Yoga and Relaxation Techniques:

    • Promote stress reduction and emotional balance.
    • Enhance overall well-being.

5. Holistic Approaches:

  • Nutritional Counseling:

    • Addresses the impact of diet on mental health.
    • May be beneficial for disorders associated with impulsivity and mood fluctuations.
  • Exercise and Physical Activity:

    • Supports overall mental and emotional well-being.
    • Complements other therapeutic interventions.

6. Long-Term Management and Follow-Up:

  • Continued Psychoeducation:

    • Ongoing learning about the disorder and effective coping strategies.
    • Helps individuals make informed decisions about their treatment.
  • Regular Monitoring:

    • Periodic assessments to evaluate progress and adjust treatment plans as needed.
    • Encourages a proactive approach to managing symptoms
    • Psychiatric Hospitals:

      • Provides intensive, 24/7 care in a secure environment.
      • Suited for individuals in acute crisis or experiencing severe symptoms.
    • Residential Treatment Centers:

      • Longer-term, structured programs offering a supportive living environment.
      • Focuses on comprehensive therapeutic interventions.
    • Inpatient Dual Diagnosis Programs:

      • Specialized units addressing co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
      • Offers integrated care for complex cases.
    • Crisis Stabilization Units:

      • Short-term facilities stabilizing individuals in acute distress.
      • Focuses on immediate symptom management.
    • Specialized Inpatient Units:

      • Some hospitals have units specifically designed for personality disorders.
      • Offers targeted treatment approaches based on the disorder.
    • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP):

      • Comprehensive, structured programs with frequent sessions.
      • Allows individuals to live at home while receiving intensive treatment.
    • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP):

      • Day programs offering several hours of treatment each day.
      • Provides a higher level of care than standard outpatient services.

It’s crucial for individuals with personality disorders to actively engage in their treatment, adhere to therapeutic recommendations, and collaborate with mental health professionals to achieve sustained improvements. The combination of psychotherapy, medication, and supportive interventions aims to enhance the individual’s overall functioning, improve interpersonal relationships, and foster a better quality of life.

Does Insurance Cover Personality Disorder Treatment?

Typically, yes. Insurance coverage for treatment of personality disorders can vary based on the individual’s insurance plan, the specific services needed, and the policies of the insurance provider. Personality disorders involve enduring patterns of behavior, cognition, and inner experience that deviate significantly from the expectations of the individual’s culture.

Here are some considerations regarding insurance coverage for personality disorder treatment:

  1. Type of Insurance Plan:

    • Different types of insurance plans, such as private insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare, may have varying levels of coverage for personality disorder treatment.
  2. In-Network vs. Out-of-Network Providers:

    • Insurance plans typically have a network of preferred providers. In-network providers are often covered at a higher rate than out-of-network providers.
  3. Verification of Benefits:

    • It’s crucial to contact the insurance provider to verify specific coverage details for personality disorder treatment. This includes checking copayments, deductibles, and any out-of-pocket expenses.
  4. Medical Necessity:

    • Insurance coverage is often tied to the medical necessity of the treatment. A healthcare professional may need to provide documentation demonstrating the necessity of specific treatments or therapies for personality disorders.
  5. Preauthorization:

    • Some insurance plans may require preauthorization or approval before certain treatments or therapies are covered for personality disorders. Understanding and following the preauthorization process, if required, is essential.
  6. Coverage Limits:

    • Insurance plans may have limits on the number of therapy sessions, the duration of coverage, or the types of treatments covered for personality disorders.
  7. Parity Laws:

    • Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) in the United States may apply to ensure that coverage for mental health conditions, including personality disorders, is comparable to medical and surgical coverage.
  8. Individual Plan Details:

    • Each insurance plan is unique, and coverage details can vary widely. Understanding the specific terms and conditions of the individual’s insurance plan is crucial.

It’s recommended for individuals seeking treatment for personality disorders to collaborate with mental health professionals and the insurance company to navigate the coverage process. Treatment facilities and healthcare providers often have staff members who can assist in verifying benefits and understanding the insurance coverage available.

Seeking Treatment? We Can Help!

At California Prime Recovery, as an in-network provider we work with most insurance plans, such as:

If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health challenges or substance abuse, reach out to California Prime Recovery today. Our team of compassionate professionals is here to support your journey towards lasting well-being. Give us a call at 866-208-2390

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