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It is few disorders which carries such a stigma as personality disorders. Let us state once and for all; this is not a description of a bad person, nor a difficult person.

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This is what Christian Schlüter, psychologist specialist at the National Competence Service for Personality Psychiatry (NAPP), and Eivind Normann-Eide, psychologist specialist at the Section for Personality Psychiatry (OUS), write in a post on

They write further:

Under the headline "The personality disorders you have to watch out for", we could read in Dagbladet on December 28 an article about personality disorders. It is commendable that the focus is on the disorder, and a some of the information are correct in the article. One is that the disorder is widespread, the other is that it will lead to difficulties in life.

However, a few things should be commented on.


Trouble in identity and relationships

Specifically the psychologists say that a personality disorder involves problems within various domains, such as identity (self-image, self-esteem, emotion regulation, impulse control) and relationships (attachment, intimacy, trust, empathy).

There is no need to talk "down" these problems, they are very real, and first and foremost problematic for those who have them.

However, it may seem that the advice Dagbladet's article was mainly about was how to get away from the "psychopath". Very few are.

In other words, they emphasize how wrong it is to equate personality disorders with psychopathy, and they warn that the mentioned article can contribute to stigmatizing a group of people by describing them as difficult.

It is therefore better to talk about personality profile and vulnerability, than types, they say.


- A personality disorder diagnosis is not a life sentence

The psychologists also say that personality disorders can be temporary, that most people grow out of the problems, with or without treatment. For many, it is a relatively good forecast.

In addition, there are promising treatments today, not least this is documented in relation to emotionally unstable personality disorder (borderline). In addition, there are personality disorders in varying degrees, and psychologists say:

For people with not very severe personality disorder, regular psychotherapy, either with a contract specialist or at DPS, will be sufficient.

They admit that personality disorders can be problematic for others in those cases where the person affected does not acknowledge the problems, or refuses to seek treatment or other help.


Need safe and stable relationships more than any

In any case, Schlüter and Normann-Eide want to settle with what was the main message of the mentioned article. They summarize:

People with personality disorders form a very heterogeneous group, and it is completely wrong to say on a general basis that there are people one should stay away from. We would rather say the opposite.

These are people who, to a greater extent than others, need safe and stable relationships. The best thing you can do is show understanding, and encourage them to seek treatment.



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