Our personality is made up of characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that make us unique. It arises from within and remains fairly consistent throughout life. It is made up of inherited characteristics from our families and traits developed as a result of what we have experienced in our early years when growing up. Our personality takes on a set of beliefs by interpreting what has happened to us. Some people are outgoing and confident whilst others are shy and reserved. Two people may be placed in an identical situation yet one may be robust whilst the other becomes anxious.
Personality disorder is a term used to describe a condition in people who seem unable to regulate their thoughts, feelings and behaviours which can cause distress and may lead to impairment in the way the person functions in the world leading them to act in negative, harmful or destructive ways. People with personality disorder have an inability to get on with other people and learn from their experience. They may be very inflexible or may have a narrow range of attitudes, behaviours and coping mechanisms which they find difficult to change easily. They may think they do not have a problem and therefore unable to understand why they need to change.
Personality disorder is a controversial diagnosis. Based on symptoms, psychologists and psychiatrists have grouped people into useful categories to make it easier to study them. Being given a diagnosis does not classify you, it simply describes the problem or disorder you might have.