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Personality Disorder: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: May 20, 2024

What is the treatment?

Personality disorder is a condition where your thinking, functioning and behaviour follows an unhealthy pattern and becomes rigid. You might have problems while trying to relate to situations and people. This could cause a lot of problem in leading a normal and healthy life and jeopardises relationships, social activities and your professional life. Children with such problems have a hard time in school.

Personality disorders can be classified into three broad categories – Cluster A Personality disorders, Cluster B Personality Disorders and Cluster C Personality Disorders. These categories contain a number of conditions such as – Paranoid Personality Disorder, Schizotypal Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder and others. The categorization of these disorders has been done by analysing the similarity in their manifestations. The symptoms of these conditions can range from being suspicious, a constant feeling of being vulnerable, not being able to express emotions and feelings, being inconsiderate of others’ feelings, being irresponsible, mood swings and others depending on what sort of disorder is present.

While treating Personality Disorders, it is essential to diagnose the type of disorder first. The treatment is then done by managing the symptoms with necessary medications (antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotic and anti-anxiety), providing psychotherapy and in severe cases even rehabilitation in hospitals that are specialised in psychiatric care.

How is the treatment done?

Treatment of Personality Disorder consists of three main parts – Psychotherapy, Medication and rehabilitation. These are done in the following ways.

Psychotherapy is done by making you aware about your condition. The professional enquires about your moods, thoughts, feelings and behaviours to come to a diagnosis for your condition. You are trained to deal with stress. The sessions for psychotherapy can be given individually, in groups and even with your family. Your social skills are brushed and developed Stress is given to learning ways to manage the symptoms and control behaviour that hinders your normal functioning and relations. It is also important to counsel the family members of an affected person to get the desired result.

Medicines too are an integral part of the treatment. Though there is no medicine that targets directly towards Personality Disorder, the different symptoms can be dealt with them. Antidepressants work to reduce depression, anger, irritability, impulsiveness and hopelessness. Mood stabilizers are medications that help in keeping mood swings in control. Unrealistic perceptions that happen when a person has psychosis can also be controlled and corrected by having antipsychotic medications (neuroleptics). Anxiety, insomnia and agitation are treated using anti-anxiety medications.

Severe forms of personality disorders can become hazardous for the person suffering as well as his loved ones. In such cases it gets essential to admit the patient to a hospital and receive treatment there.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

People develop personality disorders due to two main reasons – genes and surrounding conditions. Such kinds of behavioural disorders are passed down from one generation to another. Those who are subjected to extremely stressful childhood, have bad relations with their family and people around them and have faced unnatural events are at a higher risk of developing such conditions. A person should seek medical help when if he has any of the following problems :

Inability to perceive or interpret oneself, other people and events.

Inappropriate emotional responses

Being Impulsive

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Any person who suffers from a type of personality disorder can undergo the treatment. As the treatment primarily consists of therapy and counselling, it is suitable for all. The only part of the treatment where people might face certain problems is the medications that are given for treating the individual symptoms. Pregnant women have been seen to have a slight risk in taking antidepressants as they can cause birth defects. People who have serotonin syndrome too cannot take such medications as this could cause a string of effects like rapid heart rate, panic attacks, shivering, loss of muscle coordination and others.

People who have tumour in the adrenal gland and those in coma cannot be given antipsychotic drugs.


Are there any side effects?

The side effects in the treatment of personality disorders pertain only to the medication. The medicines used commonly in supportive treatment and their side effects are listed below:

Antidepressants – nausea, weight gain due to an increased appetite, decreased sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, fatigue, constipation, insomnia and blurring of the vision.

Antipsychotic – blurring of the vision, dryness of the mouth, muscle spasms, weight gain, tremors and drowsiness.

Mood Stabilisers – Diarrhoea, nausea, trembling, increased thirst, drowsiness and increased urination.

Anti-Anxiety Medications – Restlessness, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, vomiting and weight gain.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Info Not Available

How long does it take to recover?

These conditions have been seen to develop mostly in the teenage and the early years of adulthood. Some of these disorders decrease with age. The medications prescribed for the different symptoms of personality disorder must be taken for over long period of time and at a regular basis to get the desired result.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

The cost of the treatment of any form of personality disorder can be divided into two parts – therapy and medication. The usual consultation fees per session of a psychologist are anywhere between Rs.500-1500, and it can go up to about Rs.4000. The medication prescribed for the different symptoms come at a cost of about Rs.300-1500 per pack.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The treatment of personality disorders tries to manage the symptoms and does not give a definite cure. This means that the medications help to reduce the overall condition and make your life as close to normal as possible. But the chances of a relapse cannot be negated.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

You can treat the different symptoms of personality disorder without prescription drugs too. Many natural ingredients have been seen to be useful in such conditions. Consuming kava to fight anxiety and sleep disorders, valerian root to promote sleep, St. John’s wort to enhance moods and combat depression are some examples of how natural ingredients help.


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Written ByMs. Taral Parekh Post Graduate Diploma In Counselling Psychology,Masters of Counselling Psychology,CE in Cognitive Behavior TherapyPsychology
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