Deep Bench: Understanding personality disorders

WAUSAU, Wis. (WZAW) -- There are different types of mental health disorders, but perhaps one that is more commonly misunderstood is personality disorders.

Dr. Brian Weiland talks about how personality disorders differ from other mental health conditions (WZAW photo)

"Personality disorder is something that is chronic and long-standing," said Dr. Brian Weiland, a psychologist from Behavioral Health Clinic in Wausau.

He joined the Deep Bench for a sit-down conversation on Wednesday.

"So personality being the way you see the world or the way you interact with other people, and so we think about a personality disorder, it's when a person's personality is so rigid or maladaptive that it starts to affect their lives in there work life, social life, with their family."

He said the difference between a personality disorder and other mental health disorders like mood or anxiety, is getting flare-ups.

"They come in waves. Whereas a personality disorder is there. It's woven in our fabric."

Personality disorders often develop in a person's teenage years and can trasnistion into adult years. But Dr. Weiland said since you are still developing yourself during teen years, it's better to get a diagnosis around 18.

He added that personality disorders can also go missed because the symptoms can present like those of other disorders llike depression and bipolar disorder.

"There are 10 different personality disorders. There are three clusters that we organize them by."

Here is how clinicians organize them:

- Odd and eccentric thinking/behavior - paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal

- Emotional and impulsive - antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic

- Anxious - avoidant, dependent and obsessive-compulsive

"Obsessive-complusive personalit disorder is really the one that's a little more common, about 4.5% of the population," Weiland explained.