Anxiety, depression, burn-out, so many pathological manifestations that can accompany personality disorders. These disorders can be detected through tests as explained by psychiatry Professor Michel Lejoyeux. But when they are identified, their management can be difficult because it requires treating causes and effects at the same time.
- Personality disorders can generate pathological manifestations such as anxiety or depression.
- It is important that patients who suffer from these disorders understand that they themselves are the cause of their difficulties.
- The first step in the management of personality disorders is to reduce the suffering of patients.
Personality disorders which may only result in moderate signs can diminish over time, but can also cause very disabling psychological problems and disruptions to social life. This is what makes caring for people who suffer from them – it is estimated that these disorders affect 10% of the population – particularly difficult.
Whether it concerns the disorders themselves or their most serious consequences such as anxiety or depression, it is most often through psychotherapy, whether individual or in a group, that they can be taken care of and bring real well-being to patients. But the psychotherapy process sometimes takes time before producing its effects.
Relieve the most distressing symptoms
This is why when these disorders, which generally result in social maladjustment which itself causes anxiety, depression, eating disorders or addictions, generate significant suffering, the doctor’s first action consists of prescribing medications that relieve the symptoms. the most painful. But if they manage to help control the consequences of the disorders, these treatments cannot cure the cause.
The first objective when dealing with a patient suffering from personality disorders is to reduce suffering. So much for the role of medications. It then remains to address the root of the problem: help the patient understand that his difficulties do not come from others, his environment or simple circumstances but from himself, reduce the maladjustment of his behavior, or even modify personality traits. which causes his difficulties.
Medications and psychotherapy to reduce suffering
To reduce immediate suffering, the therapist can, alongside drug treatments, offer psychosocial support allowing the patient to develop strategies to better cope with painful relationships or situations that cause this suffering. The priority is in fact to limit both the doses of medication and the duration of this treatment.
It is undoubtedly the need to make the patient understand that his problems come from his personality that is the most difficult task: many people suffering from personality disorders do not see that it is their own behavior which is inappropriate. with the harmful consequences that ensue. “By establishing a doctor-patient relationship based on cooperation and mutual respect, the doctor can help the person to become more aware of themselves and to realize that changing their outlook and behavior will require time and effort“, specifies Mark Zimmerman, psychiatrist at the American Hospital of Rhode Island.
Outbursts of anger or self-destructive behavior can lead to hospitalization
And if this approach takes time, more radical measures can be considered. “When behaviors such as recklessness, excess temper, social isolation endanger the patient, their relationships or their environment, treatment can lead to hospitalization or placement in a specialized establishment. It happens that a doctor is obliged to lecture the patient about the excesses of his behavior, including during consultations and if the person is too reckless, if he has outbursts of anger or self-destructive behavior, he can be treated in hospital and day hospitalization is the most often best suited option“, explains Mark Zimmerman.