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Personality and Bipolar Personality Disorder

What Is a Personality Disorder?

A personality disorder is a mental disorder that affects your behavior and thinking. Personality disorders can cloud how people and circumstances are perceived. A person with a personality disorder may not see that they have a condition as their behavior and thinking seems normal to them.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are three main categories of personality disorders:

  • Anxious: Can include dependent and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders
  • Dramatic: Can include borderline, antisocial and narcissistic personality disorders
  • Eccentric: Can include schizoid and paranoid personality disorders 

Causes of Personality Disorders

Personality disorders usually emerge in adolescence or early adulthood. There is no clear answer as to why personality disorders form, but there is reason to believe it is linked to both genetics and environment. Personality disorder may also develop as a coping response during a stressful situation or event in life.

Signs and Symptoms of Personality Disorders

Personality disorder signs and symptoms can range from mild to severe. While symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder, common symptoms may include:

  • Inability to pick up on social cues
  • Social anxiety
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Unstable relationships
  • Extreme emotional swings
  • Paranoia or suspicion
  • Feeling out of touch with reality

Personality Disorder Diagnosis

Personality disorders can be diagnosed based on symptoms, as well as a physical exam and examination of medical history. Your provider may refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist for further testing and observation.

Treatment Options for Personality Disorders

While most people with personality disorders can function normally in society, it’s important to get help as soon as you or a loved one needs it. Treatment will vary based on the type of personality disorder, with options such as:

What Is a Bipolar Personality Disorder?

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive disorder, is a type of personality disorder where mood swings can range from extreme highs to extreme lows. The two sides of bipolar disorders are called mania (extreme high) and depressive (extreme low). 

Causes of Bipolar Personality Disorder

Currently there is not one cause for bipolar personality disorder, but genes, changes in the brain and stress can be factors in the development of bipolar disorder.

Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Personality Disorder

Signs of bipolar personality disorder will vary dramatically between manic and depressive states. 

Sign and symptoms for mania may include:

  • Increased energy
  • Impulsiveness
  • Happiness and excitement
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Participation in risky behaviors
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fast speech

Signs and symptoms for depressive periods may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Significant changes in weight

Bipolar Disorder Screening and Diagnosis

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to determine an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosing bipolar personality disorder may include a long-term strategy with your doctor since there are often similar symptoms common with other illnesses, such as thyroid conditions or chemical dependency. Your doctor may perform a physical exam or psychiatric exam.

Treatment Options for Bipolar Disorders

While treatment options are available for bipolar disorder, it is a chronic illness and will require ongoing care to manage. Treatment options may include therapies and support groups, or medication.


Psychosis is a severe mental illness that can distort your perceived vision of reality. Psychosis episodes can be frightening for both the person experiencing them as well as their loved ones. Learn more about psychosis symptoms and treatment options.

Banner Health is focused on providing the best and latest care and treatments for you or your loved one. We’re here to help.