Mental health articles

OF mental health care and mentally ill

Course of personality disorders

By definition a personality disorder is stable over time. As such once the features of a personality disorder have become recognized during adolescence or early adulthood it can be expected that the observed pattern of thinking, behaving and feeling will be relatively stable and unchanging.

However, it has been found that particularly anti-social and borderline personality disorders can become less recognizable with age. Typically the traits and behaviours associated with anti-social personality disorder reduce in severity by middle age, with only 20 per cent still diagnosable by 45 years of age.

Similarly patients with borderline personality disorders have been found to exhibit the most severe symptoms in their mid-20s followed by improvement in their late-30s. Indeed, Paris reported that 15 years post-diagnosis most patients no longer meet criteria for borderline personality disorder. However, other personality disorders may become more rigid over the patient’s lifetime, such as obsessivecompulsive and schizotypal.

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