There are several personality disorders that can have a direct and harmful effect on those who suffer with them—a few examples include dependent personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. These mental illnesses are characterized by strange thinking, feeling, and behavioral patterns, which cause individuals marked distress and/or functional issues. For instance, those with narcissistic personality disorder are excessively conceited, feel a sense of entitlement, and belittle people around them. And those with histrionic personality disorder demand to be the center of attention, act sexually inappropriate, and display unpredictable emotions.

However, sometimes an individual displays a wide range of symptoms across several personality disorders—in this case, a diagnosis of unspecified personality disorder is oftentimes determined. Furthermore, the underlying causes of this disorder—whether physical or psychological—are often similar to those of other personality disorders as well.

Diagnosing Unspecified Personality Disorder DSM-5 301.9 (F60.9)

As previously touched on, the symptoms of unspecified personality disorder can vary from person-to-person, but they typically mimic those of other personality disorders. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the most important and essential factor is a long-term pattern of behavior and internal feelings that differ greatly from what is normal or expected. Other symptoms may include:

  • Obsessive self-interest
  • Fear of being alone
  • Abnormal promiscuity
  • Marked suspicion of others
  • A pattern of detachment
  • Distorted thinking
  • Extreme sensitivity
  • A lack of emotionality
  • Disregard for rules and obligations

What Causes Unspecified Personality Disorder? Is It Preventable?

There’s not a single cause for any given personality disorder, instead there is a range of physical and psychological reasons that may be to blame—these are determined on a case-by-case basis. On a physical note, unspecified personality disorder (or any other personality disorder) may stem from genes or a chemical imbalance in the brain. A difficult childhood, as characterized by physical or emotional abuse, as well as stress or a particularly traumatic event may also be the underlying cause for the development of this disorder. The exact symptoms of one’s disorder will often lead to a discovery and better understanding of the cause in a given individual.

Treatment for Unspecified Personality Disorder

There are multiple treatment methods available to those who suffer with unspecified personality disorder, which will range in effectiveness depending upon what symptoms an individual is experiencing and what underlying cause has been determined. However, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, in which case the following treatment options are worth exploring, as they have proven to effectively treat a wide variety of personality disorders:

  • Psychotherapy: In psychotherapy, individuals with personality disorders talk to the mental health physician about their moods, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They learn to identify unhealthy patterns and better handle stressful situations that may cause or stem from their condition. This form of therapy can be given in individual sessions, group sessions, or even sessions that involve friends and family—the best approach for you will be determined by your mental health professional based on your symptoms and state of being.
  • Medication: While there aren’t currently any medications specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating personality disorders, there are several kinds of medication that can help with various personality disorder symptoms. These include:
    • Antidepressants, which can alleviate depression, anger, impulsivity, irritability, and other harmful feelings of the like related to personality disorders
    • Anti-anxiety medication, which can help with anxiety, insomnia, and agitation. However, it can also increase or prompt impulsive behavior, so anti-anxiety medication is at times avoided depending on symptoms
    • Antipsychotic medication, otherwise known as neuroleptics, may help specific symptoms such as losing touch with reality or living in a fantasy world
    • Mood stabilizers, which, as the name suggests, work to stabilize one’s mood especially if they’re experiencing irritability, aggression, and/or impulsivity

Experimenting with different treatment is not always easy—however, once you do find an effective treatment that works for you and your illness, the result is well worth it. So don’t put off treatment for another moment. Begin your journey now and start reaping the many benefits that come with tackling your disorder sooner than later.