General Characteristics of Personality Disorders

A. Personality traits consist of enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment, other people and oneself.

B. A personality disorder is diagnosed when personality traits become inflexible, pervasive and maladaptive to the point where they cause significant social or occupational dysfunction, or subjective distress. In general, patients have little or no insight into their disorder.

C. Personality patterns must be stable and date back to adolescence or early adulthood. Therefore, personality disorders are not generally diagnosed in children.

D. Patterns of behavior and perception cannot be caused by stress, another mental disorder, drug or medication effect, or a medical condition.

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