Dissociative Disorders vs. Personality Disorders
Difference Between Dissociative Disorders And Personality Disorders
Dissociative disorders involve a sudden, temporary change in one’s own sense of identity, or a “flight from oneself,” in which a person denies his or her personality or dissociates from that personality.
Amnesia is the most common form of dissociation. A person “forgets” or represses memories. He or she may not be able to recall such information as his or her name and address, names of family members or friends, or occupation. Amnesia often follows a severe emotional crisis, such as the loss of a loved one.
The repression and denial processes may occur in a dreamlike trance, called a fugue state, during which—in extreme cases—the victim might travel to another part of the country and assume a different identity. The person may not even be aware of forgetting anything.
Those who suffer from depersonalization disorder feel as if they were watching their body and their actions from a remote place. They believe they have no control over their actions.
Dissociative identity disorder (formerly called multiple-personality disorder) occurs when a person has two or more distinct personalities, usually as a result of some extreme abuse suffered as a child. The child develops other personalities to deal with, and to shelter the core personality from, the pain of life.
Personality disorders are difficult to diagnose. All of us at one time or another manifest the symptoms of one of these disorders. Psychiatrists and psychologists must therefore determine for themselves where to draw the line between normal and abnormal behavior.
The symptoms of personality disorders are pervasive throughout a person’s life, often showing up in childhood or adolescence, whereas the symptoms of other categories of mental disorders occur during a limited time frame in a person’s life. A person suffering from a personality disorder often feels some level of distress and is vulnerable to the everyday vicissitudes of life. He or she relies on the coping strategies and interpersonal style typical of his or her specific disorder, even when such behavior is inappropriate or ineffective. There seems to be a constancy and inflexibility in that person’s nature. This inflexibility of coping strategies and interpersonal style often perpetuates and aggravates existing difficulties, making resolution unlikely.
Some common personality disorders include the following:
The dependent personality is revealed by a passive way of relating to others, helplessness, clinging behavior, compliance, lack of initiative, and a reliance on others for affection and security.
The histrionic personality is characterized by capricious and demonstrative behaviors, by an active solicitation and manipulation of others to gain attention, and by an insatiable and indiscriminate search for approval.
The narcissistic personality exists when a person has an air of egocentric self-assurance and a pretentious superiority, a habit of exploiting others for one’s own advantage, and a thoughtless disregard for the feelings of others.
The antisocial personality is marked by a distrust of others, vengeful behavior for past perceived injustices, an irritability and aggressiveness, along with socially irresponsible behavior, such as lying, cheating, stealing, and fighting.
The compulsive personality has a rigid conformity to authority and regulation, and an inability to express emotions. Such people are perfectionists and overly organized.
The passive-aggressive personality shows a pervasive, if passive, resistance to meeting others’ expectations, voices ambivalence toward most issues, and shifts between conformity and stubborn nonconformity and guilt and contrition.
The schizoid personality is marked by social passivity, minimal emotional needs, listlessness and apathy, and a marked deficiency in the capacity for and interest in warm human relationships.