Personality disorder

If you have a personality disorder you may find that the way you think, feel, perceive and behave differs significantly from other people. This can create difficulties in forming and maintaining relationships.

The Royal College Psychiatry estimates that one in twenty people have a personality disorder of some degree.

How do I know if I have a personality disorder?

The transition to university is a time for exploration of self and identity, which can make diagnosis difficult. But if you have a personality disorder you may experience the following:

  • feeling overwhelmed by negative feelings such as distress and anxiety
  • avoiding other people and social contact and having great difficulty maintaining relationships
  • difficulty in managing extreme feelings without resorting to self-harm

For more detailed information, see the Personality disorder page of the NHS Choices website.

What can I do to help myself?

There is no single strategy that suits everyone and in fact many people simply improve with time, but any treatment needs to be tailored to you as an individual. Psychological therapies can certainly help some people and medication may be prescribed to treat associated problems such as depression and anxiety.

It is important to note that personality disorder can only be diagnosed by a psychiatrist, but your doctor can refer you for specialist assessment.

How can we help?

The Open Door Team can offer support and guidance on how to move forward to seek treatment. Complete the Open Door online referral form - see help and support for more information.

Alternatively, make an appointment to see your doctor.

Help and support