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How Is A Personality Disorder Different From Depression And Anxiety?

There are over 200 different mental disorders all varying in severity from minor to serious. In today's blog, we are going to look at the differences between mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety to personality disorders. Personality disorders often have more of an effect on our daily life than mental illnesses like depression and anxiety and they can be harder to manage.

This is not to say that managing depression and anxiety is easy not a struggle. This is just going to highlight what and how a personality disorder can impact someone’s day-to-day life.

People with personality disorders often have trouble perceiving, relating and understanding situations and emotions. There are seven different personality disorders which will be expanded on further down below.

What is a Personality Disorder?

A person with a personality disorder; feels, thinks, behaves and relates to things very differently in comparison to those without one. Having a personality disorder will overcomplicate the way one thinks and handles situations which can often look dramatic to others.

Research into what exactly causes personality disorders is still ongoing some psychologists believe there are hereditary factors and others feel they often stem from trauma. With any mental disorder, you have to find the best way to manage and live with it, the best that one can.

Many personality disorders cause individuals to be unstable as their moods can shift drastically, either high or low in a short period of time. These mood changes can happen due to a reason that may not seem apparent to others or even no reason at all sometimes.


How is a Personality Disorder Different to Depression and Anxiety?

Just like personality disorders, depression and anxiety are also mental disorders that affect our day-to-day lives too that we also have to learn to live with and may struggle from.

The main difference between having depression and/or anxiety to a personality disorder is that those who experience mental disorders such as depression and anxiety often only experience that one emotion. However, those with a personality disorder can experience as many as ten different emotions in less than half an hour.

Depression is also known as a mood disorder, meaning it is a mental disorder that impacts your mood. Therefore, trying to keep your mood positive will help to manage your depression. We do have loads of tips on how to keep your mood positive in one of our previous blogs, Keeping Positive. (Keeping Positive)

Personality disorders have more of an impact on our personality and affect how one may cope with life, manage emotions and connect with others. Therefore making it difficult to handle and understand emotions and situations in a respectable manner. A personality disorder impacts a lot more than only someone's mood.

Types of Personality Disorders

As with mood disorders, there are different types of personality disorders. When it comes to personality disorders there are seven different types. Below we will look at these eight different types.

1. Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) is a disorder that will lead to someone feeling suspicious about another’s activities. Making them worry and question if what someone says is what is actually occurring. People with PPD are often on guard believing others are constantly trying to cause them to harm or betray them.


2. Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder often leads to one feeling as if a relationship, either be it personal or even with family and friends will get in the way of their day-to-day life. Meaning someone with this particular personality disorder will avoid forming relationships, even with family members.


3. Schizotypal Personality Disorder

A schizotypal personality disorder is often presented through one's behaviour. Those who have this disorder often display unusual behaviours and find it extremely difficult to make and maintain close relationships. Individuals who have schizotypal often believe they themselves may have powers and are confused when others do not share their beliefs.


4. Antisocial Personality Disorder

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a disorder that often leads to people acting dangerously, illegal, drastically or just in ways which are unpleasant to others. People who suffer from this personality disorder could have a criminal record and may have done negative things but feel no guilt afterwards.


5. Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder where someone’s mood can shift very drastically for no apparent reason in a matter of seconds. People who experience BPD often see things in what is referred to as black and white thinking. Means things are either good or bad, there is no inbetweening-between. Someone is either a good or bad person leaving them finding it difficult to maintain a stable relationship. Borderline personality disorder also used to be known as Emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUSPD)

6. Histrionic Personality Disorder

Those with a histrionic personality disorder may feel uncomfortable not being the centre of attention at events or even within the workplace and on family occasions. They often have an overwhelming feeling that they need to please everyone and be the centre of attention, feeling they need to entertain others regularly. Therefore, meaning they can be easily emotionally influenced by others.


7. Narcissistic Personality Disorder

When someone has narcissistic personality disorder they often come off as very selfish to others and always seem to put their needs before others. They often believe they are unique and that there are reasons that make them better and are above everyone. Therefore means they matter more and their feeling is more important than others. However, they often have deflected self-esteem.


8. Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD) is when someone will obsess over something impractically and their life can quite easily revolve around that. People who struggle with OCD feel the need to keep everything in order and control in their lives. Often leaving them feeling that awful things could happen if things do not go their way as well as often dwelling for a long time over a minor mistake themselves or others have made.


Loving Someone With a Personality Disorder

Often when we look into a mental disorder or even any disorder, we often look at how it impacts the person who is dealing with it first-hand. We often forget that they do have a big impact on those around us.

As seen above, many personality disorders impact the ways in which one forms and maintain personal relationships. Therefore, meaning that having a romantic relationship with someone who struggles with a personality disorder could be difficult. If you are romantically involved or even involved in a friendship with someone who suffers from a personality disorder you can often feel as if you are walking on eggshells around them. Often feel as if you have to be careful what you do and say around them as their reactions are unpredictable.

How to Support Someone With a Personality Disorder

Loving and supporting someone with a personality disorder can often take a toll on your own mental health. Therefore, the first and most important thing to remember when trying to offer support is to take care of yourself and set your own boundaries with whoever it may be that you are trying to help. We do have a blog on tips about setting boundaries if this is something you are interested in. (How to set boundaries to keep a positive mental health)

Ways in which you can support someone with a personality disorder is by helping them to identify when they are going to experience what is known as splitting or an episode (this will be expanded on in a later blog)

Another way that you can offer your support is by researching their mental disorder. This helps you to have a clearer understanding of how they are feeling and what they are experiencing. Although this will not give you a full insight into what they are feeling, it will give you a better insight as to how they do or do not perceive things as well as triggers for them to help avoid them reaching that splitting point.

Finally, another way to offer your support is by listening. It can become extremely difficult for someone who struggles with a personality disorder to open up and talk about many things, so therefore if they begin to talk the best thing to do is just listen. As well as the fact there are group therapy sessions that you and the person you are trying to support can attend together to allow you to both talks calmly in a positive environment.

If you feel you would like a better insight into the ongoing mental health problems, we do offer an online Mental Health First Aid course.

Provided by an instructor qualified under Mental Health First Aid England, allowing yourself to become a qualified Mental Health First Aider.

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I am a multi-award-winning women's healthcare advocate.


I am extremely passionate about women's healthcare and mental health.

Did you know that - You are more likely to meet someone about to attempt suicide than about to have a heart attack? Everyone should know what to do.


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