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Can a medical condition cause a change in personality?

Yes. In fact, there is a diagnosis for “personality change due to another medical condition.” This diagnosis is based on a persistent personality disturbance that represents a change from the individual’s previous characteristic personality. There must be evidence from the history, physical examination, or laboratory findings that the disturbance is the direct consequence of another medical condition. The change in personality is not better explained by another mental disorder, and it does not occur exclusively during the course of a delirium. The diagnosis also requires that the disturbance causes significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Can a person have another type of personality disorder?

Yes, a person can receive a diagnosis for a personality disorder that falls into the category of “other specified personality disorder” or “unspecified personality disorder.” Either one of these categories applies when an individual has symptoms characteristic of a personality disorder that cause significant distress or impairment in daily life but the symptoms do not meet the full criteria for any specific personality disorder diagnosis. The “other specified” personality disorder diagnosis may be given when there are mixed personality features from different categories. The “unspecified” diagnosis may be given when there is insufficient information to make a more specific diagnosis.

What are treatments for personality disorders?

Specific treatment for each personality disorder is based on each individual’s age, overall health, and medical history. Personality disorders are often challenging to treat. They may need long-term attention to change the inappropriate behavior and thought patterns. Treatment will often involve psychotherapy (talk therapy) and include family involvement. Medication is often useful in dealing with anxiety, depression, mood swings, rage, hostility, and brief psychotic episodes.

Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how individuals think, feel, and behave, leading to significant impairments in their daily functioning and relationships. These disorders are typically long-lasting, chronic conditions that require comprehensive and long-term treatment.

There are several treatment options available for individuals with personality disorders, ranging from psychotherapy and medication to group and family therapy. Here are some long-term treatment approaches that can help individuals manage their personality disorders over time:

  1. Psychotherapy for personality disorders: Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a common treatment option for personality disorders. It involves working with a mental health professional to explore and address the underlying emotional and psychological issues that contribute to the disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular form of psychotherapy that helps individuals change negative patterns of thinking and behavior that may be contributing to their disorder.
  2. Dialectical behavior therapy for personality disorders: Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) manage their intense emotions, reduce self-harm behaviors, and improve their relationships. DBT combines individual therapy with group skills training, mindfulness, and other therapeutic techniques.
  3. Medication for personality disorders: While there is no medication specifically designed to treat personality disorders, certain medications can help manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other conditions that often co-occur with personality disorders. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are often prescribed to individuals with personality disorders.
  4. Group therapy for personality disorders: Group therapy provides individuals with the opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. It can help individuals with personality disorders develop social skills, improve their relationships, and reduce feelings of isolation.
  5. Family therapy for personality disorders: Family therapy involves working with the family members of individuals with personality disorders to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and build stronger relationships. This can help create a supportive environment for the individual with the disorder.
  6. Integrative treatments for personality disorders: Integrative treatments, such as art therapy, music therapy, and yoga, can help individuals with personality disorders manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.
  7. Lifestyle changes for personality disorder management: Certain lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating habits, and stress-management techniques, can help individuals with personality disorders manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
  8. Supportive therapies for personality disorders: Supportive therapies, such as counseling and case management, can help individuals with personality disorders navigate the healthcare system and access the resources they need to manage their disorder.
  9. Alternative therapies for personality disorders: Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, and massage therapy, can help individuals with personality disorders manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.


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Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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