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.

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.
Disclaimer:
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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