A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. Personality disorders usually begin in the teenage years or early adulthood. There are many types of personality disorders and certain types may become less obvious throughout middle age.

Personality disorders are often misunderstood and people living with a personality disorder are stigmatised. A psychiatrist together with your therapist is not there to judge you but to help you lead a normal life. Sometimes you may stigmatise yourself and stray away from getting help due to all the myths.

Personality disorders myths

  • It is not really a disorder.
  • People with personality disorders are just stubborn and resistant to change.
  • People with personality disorders are just trying to get attention when they attempt suicide.
  • People with personality disorders are selfish.

All these are myths and should not stop you from seeking help. Although the precise cause of personality disorders is not known, certain factors seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering personality disorders, including:

  • Family history of personality disorders or other mental illness.
  • Abusive, unstable or chaotic family life during childhood.
  • Being diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder.
  • Variations in brain chemistry and structure.

These disorders can be dangerous if left untreated. Dr Michelle Vlok-Barnard aims to provide her clients with a safe, secure environment to explore their thoughts and feelings.