Because personality disorders often require specialized care, your primary doctor may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, for evaluation and treatment. Taking a family member or friend along can help you remember something that you missed or forgot.
What you can do
Prepare for your appointment by making a list of:
- Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for the appointment
- Key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes
- All medications, including over-the-counter medications, vitamins, herbal preparations or other supplements that you're taking, and the doses
- Questions to ask your doctor
Basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What type of personality disorder might I have?
- How do you treat my type of personality disorder?
- Will talk therapy help?
- Are there medications that might help?
- How long will I need to take medication?
- What are the major side effects of the medication you're recommending?
- How long will treatment take?
- What can I do to help myself?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can have?
- What websites do you recommend visiting?
Don't hesitate to ask any other questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
During your appointment, your doctor or mental health professional will likely ask you a number of questions about your mood, thoughts, behavior and urges, such as:
- What symptoms have you noticed or have others said they notice in you?
- When did you or they first notice symptoms?
- How is your daily life affected by your symptoms?
- What other treatment, if any, have you had?
- What have you tried on your own to feel better or control your symptoms?
- What things make you feel worse?
- Have your family members or friends commented on your mood or behavior?
- Have any relatives had a mental illness?
- What do you hope to gain from treatment?
- What medications, vitamins, herbs or supplements do you take?
Sept. 23, 2016
- Personality disorders. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. http://www.psychiatryonline.org. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Overview of personality disorders. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/psychiatric-disorders/personality-disorders/overview-of-personality-disorders. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Get help with personality disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/personality-disorders/what-are-personality-disorders. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Skodol A. Personality disorders. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 26, 2016.
- Tyrer P, et al. Personality disorder 1: Classification, assessment, prevalence, and effect of personality disorder. The Lancet. 2015;385:717.
- Newton-Howes G, et al. Personality disorder 2: Personality disorder across the life course. The Lancet. 2015;385:727.
- Bateman AW, et al. Personality disorder 3: Treatment of personality disorder. The Lancet. 2015;385:735.
- Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Aug. 17, 2016.