Because personality disorders often require specialized care, your primary doctor may refer you to a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, for evaluation and treatment.
What you can do
Prepare for your appointment by making a list of:
- Any symptoms you've had, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment
- Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
- All medications, vitamins, herbal preparations or other supplements that you're taking and the dosages
- Questions to ask your doctor
Taking a family member or friend along can help you remember something that you missed or forgot.
Basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What type of personality disorder might I have?
- Why can't I get over a personality disorder on my own?
- How do you treat my type of personality disorder?
- Will talk therapy (psychotherapy) help?
- Are there medications that might help?
- How long will I need to take medication?
- What are the major side effects of the medication you're recommending?
- How long will treatment take?
- What can I do to help myself?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
- What websites do you recommend visiting?
Don't hesitate to ask questions anytime you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
During your appointment, your doctor or mental health provider will likely ask you a number of questions about your mood, thoughts, behavior and urges, such as:
Jan. 31, 2014
- What symptoms have you noticed or have others said they notice in you?
- When did you or they first notice symptoms?
- How is your daily life affected by your symptoms?
- What other treatment, if any, have you had?
- What have you tried on your own to feel better or control your symptoms?
- What things make you feel worse?
- Have your family members or friends commented on your mood or behavior?
- Have any relatives had a mental illness?
- What do you hope to gain from treatment?
- What medications or herbs and supplements do you take?
- Personality disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.com. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Hales RE, et al. The American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry. 5th ed. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Publishing; 2008. http://www.psychiatryonline.com/resourceToc.aspx?resourceID=5. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Silk KR. Personality disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 3, 2013.
- Staying well when you have a mental health condition. Mental Health America. http://www.nmha.org/go/mental-health-month/staying-well-when-you-have-a-mental-illness. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Lenzenweger MF. Current status of the scientific study of the personality disorders: An overview of epidemiological, longitudinal, experimental psychopathology, and neurobehavioral perspectives. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association. 2010;58:741.
- Personality Disorders. Mental Health America. http://www.nmha.org/go/information/get-info/personality-disorders. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Skodol A, et al. Approaches to the therapeutic relationship in patients with personality disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 5, 2013.
- Johnson JG, et al. Parenting behaviors associated with development of adaptive and maladaptive offspring personality traits. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2011;56:447.
- Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 27, 2013.
- Hall-Flavin DK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. August 12, 2013.