the characteristic way that a person thinks, feels, and behaves; the relatively stable and predictable part of a person's thought and behavior; it includes conscious attitudes, values, and styles as well as unconscious conflicts and defense mechanisms. Personality traits
are simple features of normal and abnormal personalities. Personality types
are categories applicable to both normal and abnormal personalities; usually they belong to a coherent typology, such as introvert/extrovert or oral/anal/phallic.
Early Life and Personality. The newborn comes into the world completely dependent on others for satisfying individual basic human needs. Feelings of security in a relationship with the mother, or an adequate substitute, is the cornerstone of mental health in later years.
As children develop, they need to learn and to meet the day-to-day problems of life, and to master them. In resolving these challenges, one chooses solutions from many possibilities. Psychologists have studied how these choices are made and use technical terms to describe them, such as repression and sublimation. The behavior patterns chosen result in certain character traits which will influence a child's way of meeting the world—whether the child will lead or follow, be conscientious or reckless, imitate his or her parents or prefer to be as different from them as possible, or take a realistic, flexible path between these extremes. The sum total of these traits represents the personality.
The Well-Adjusted Personality. A well-adjusted individual is one who adapts to surroundings. If adaptation is not possible, the individual makes realistic efforts to change the situation, using personal talents and abilities constructively and successfully. The well-adjusted person is realistic and able to face facts whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, and deals with them instead of merely worrying about them or denying them. Well-adjusted mature persons are independent. They form reasoned opinions and then act on them. They seek a reasonable amount of information and advice before making a decision, and once the decision is made, they are willing to face the consequences of it. They do not try to force others to make decisions for them. An ability to love others is typical of the well-adjusted individual. In addition, the mature well adjusted person is also able to enjoy receiving love and affection and can accept a reasonable dependence on others.
a temperament characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods; see also cyclothymic disorder
a group of mental disorders
characterized by enduring, inflexible, and maladaptive personality traits that deviate markedly from cultural expectations, pervade a broad range of situations, and are either a source of subjective distress or a cause of significant impairment in social, occupational, or other functioning. In general, they are difficult both to diagnose and to treat.
Although individuals with a personality disorder can function in day-to-day life, they are hampered both emotionally and psychologically by the maladaptive nature of their disorder, and their chances of forming good relationships and fulfilling their potentialities are poor. In spite of their problems, these patients refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong and insist that it is the rest of the world that is out of step. Very often their behavior is extremely annoying to those around them.
Personality disorders result from unresolved conflicts, often dating back to childhood. To alleviate the anxiety and depression that accompany these conflicts, the ego uses defense mechanisms
. Although defense mechanisms are not pathological in themselves, they become maladaptive in individuals with personality disorders.
The category includes: antisocial personality disorder
, avoidant personality disorder
, borderline personality disorder
, dependent personality disorder
, histrionic personality disorder
, narcissistic personality disorder
, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
, paranoid personality disorder
, schizoid personality disorder
, and schizotypal personality disorder
. Distinguishing one disorder from another can be difficult because the various traits can occur in more than one disorder. For example, patients with borderline personality disorder and those with narcissistic personality disorder both may have a tendency to angry outbursts and may be hindered in forming interpersonal relationships because they often exploit, idealize, or devalue others. The symptoms of a personality disorder may also occur as features of another mental disorder. More than one personality disorder can exist in the same person.
Because patients refuse to admit that there is anything wrong, personality disorders are more difficult to treat than other mental disorders. However, a great deal can be done in many cases, if the therapist can break through a patient's defense mechanisms and help the patient resolve the underlying conflict.
a dissociative disorder
in which an individual adopts two or more personalities alternately. See multiple personality disorder
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.
Patient discussion about cyclothymic personality
Q. Does anyone else out there suffer from 'cyclothymia'? I cycle between depression and low-normal moods. It seems as though the depression is always lurking, ready to take me over. Sometimes I wish I got the mania (or more truthfully, the hypo-mania) so as to give me some real relief from the depression.
A. The depression is kind of like a wolf lurking in the bushes waiting to leap on you and tear you apart isn't it. I don't understand it all. Hopefully you are under a doctor's care and are going to see your doctor regularly and taking your prescribed medicine. If not, its time to go and get help. Your doctor can prescribe from a large range of medications to help and can recommend seeing a psychologist or therapist, if needed. Alot of all this is some kind of complicated chemical imbalance in the brain. Hopefully you have a friend to talk stuff out with. That's really good if you can. Also getting into a routine for some exercise, like walking is good. I am a depressive only. Its dark almost all the time for me. You're right about those good days, they never seem to last long enough before that "wolf" strikes again.
Q. How does diabetes affect a person that has one kidney? Diabetes runs in my family and I am scared that I might get it. I recently found out that I was born with one kidney. I haven’t spoken to a doctor yet but i am curious. Can a person with one kidney and diabetes live a normal life?
A. I work in a Kidney Dialysis unit so I can tell one thing Diabetes is the number one cause of Kidney Failure and you only have one. So, monitor yourself very close and any sign of problems go see a doctor and head it off at the pass if you can.More discussions about cyclothymic personality
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