Personality disorder in teens: Early detection and intervention

If you’re a parent, teacher, or other adult caring for a teen, you may wonder what symptoms to watch for in your child. Seven personality disorder warning signals in teens will be covered in this article.

What causes personality disorder in teens?

Personality disorders may be difficult to recognize and manage and can negatively affect a teen’s relationships and mental health.

Understanding the root causes of personality disorders is crucial for their prevention, early detection and treatment.

Let’s examine the numerous factors that may affect youngsters developing personality disorders.

1. Genetic factors

The emergence of personality problems in adolescents can be significantly influenced by genetics.

According to studies, impulsivity, emotional instability and violence are just a few examples of personality traits that may be inherited [1].

Additionally, some personality disorders, including borderline and narcissistic personality disorders, are more prevalent in family members.

2. Environmental factors

In adolescents, environmental influences can also play a role in the emergence of personality disorders.

A teenager’s emotional and psychological growth can be impacted by trauma, abuse, neglect or inconsistent parenting, resulting in personality disorders.

3. Childhood trauma and neglect

A teen’s development can be significantly impacted by experiencing trauma or neglect as a kid and these experiences can also play a role in the emergence of personality disorders [2].

For instance, people with borderline personality disorder frequently disclose a history of abuse, neglect or other traumatic experiences throughout their childhood.

Inconsistent parenting
Photograph: prathanchorruangsak/Envato

4. Inconsistent parenting

An adolescent’s emotional and psychological growth can also be impacted by inconsistent parenting.

For instance, parents who are emotionally absent or who enforce rules inconsistently may be responsible for their children’s personality problems.

5. Early onset of behavior problems

The early start of behavioral issues may be linked to several personality disorders, including antisocial personality disorder.

For instance, teenagers who exhibit early and recurrent patterns of rule-breaking conduct may be more likely to develop antisocial personality disorder [3].

6. Adolescent identity development

The complicated process of adolescent identity formation can affect a teen’s emotional and psychological health.

Thus, personality disorders may emerge in teenagers with difficulty coming into their own.

7 warning signs of personality disorders in teens

A set of mental diseases known as personality disorders are distinguished by thinking, mood, and behavior patterns that differ markedly from what is considered normal.

These habits are established in us and can lead to serious issues in our personal, professional and social lives.

Adolescence is a common starting point for personality disorders. Thus, it’s critical to identify these diseases early on to receive support and early care.

Discover the seven warning signs of teen personality disorder to improve your teen’s quality of life.

1. Intense mood swings

Teenagers sometimes experience mood swings, but rapid, severe mood changes may indicate a personality problem.

For instance, severe changes in energy, mood and activity levels are brought on by bipolar illness [4].

It’s crucial to consult with a mental health expert if your kid is going through substantial highs and lows that interfere with their everyday life.

2. Impulsive and risky behavior

Teenagers sometimes take chances and act impulsively, but when their actions turn reckless and hazardous, it may indicate a personality problem.

For example, impulsive conduct, such as drug use, promiscuity, and risky driving, frequently characterizes borderline personality disorder.

People with antisocial personality disorder may act rashly and riskily by breaking the law or abusing drugs.

It’s critical to seek professional assistance if a kid is engaging in hazardous, impulsive activity that puts them in danger.

3. Difficulty maintaining relationships

Although maintaining friendships or romantic relationships can be difficult for teenagers, it may indicate a personality disorder. Teenagers frequently struggle with social relationships.

Due to their misguided beliefs and actions, people with personality disorders frequently struggle to develop and maintain good relationships [5].

4. Intense fear of abandonment

A personality condition in adolescence might cause an extreme fear of abandonment. Even if no evidence supports it, they could fear their friends or loved ones would abandon them.

Relationships may suffer due to the clinging and controlling behaviors that might result from this phobia.

5. Chronic feelings of emptiness

One typical symptom of borderline personality disorder is a sense of emptiness. Your adolescent may say they feel something is missing from their life or only go through the motions without experiencing anything.

Depression and other mental health issues might result from this ongoing emptiness.

6. Explosive anger

Although rage can be explosive, it may indicate a personality disorder if your adolescent has frequent fits of rage. People with borderline personality disorder frequently struggle with controlling their anger and their strong feelings can make them aggressive.

7. Distorted sense of self

Adolescents with a personality disorder could also have a mistaken view of who they are. They can believe they are continually altering to blend in with others or don’t know who they are.

They could also have a negative view of themselves, believing they are unworthy of achievement or love.

Can personality disorder be inherited?

According to research, genetics may contribute to the emergence of personality disorders. A form of mental disease known as personality disorder can impact a person’s emotions, behaviors and thoughts.

They can make it difficult to carry out daily activities and uphold healthy relationships.

Personality traits, including impulsivity, emotional instability, and aggression, are heritable.

Furthermore, research on families has revealed that some personality disorders, like borderline personality disorder, are more prevalent in family members than in the general population.

According to twin studies, identical twins are more likely than fraternal twins to experience the same personality disorder, which raises the possibility that genetics may influence these illnesses [6].

It’s crucial to remember that personality disorders are produced by a confluence of hereditary and environmental variables rather than a single gene.

Furthermore, not everyone with a genetic propensity for personality disorders will experience them.

Getting expert assistance from a mental health therapist is the greatest method to comprehend the root reasons for a personality problem. Improving a person’s quality of life requires early detection and action.

Can personality disorder be treated in teenagers?
Photograph: seventyfourimages/Envato

Can personality disorder be treated in teenagers?

Yes, using counseling, medication and support, personality disorders in teenagers can be treated.

The precise kind of personality disorder and the intensity of symptoms will determine the suggested form of treatment.

Teenage personality issues are frequently treated with therapy. Teenagers can benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) by recognizing and altering harmful thought patterns and behaviors.

A borderline personality disorder is frequently treated with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which emphasizes learning how to control strong emotions and enhance interpersonal interactions [7].

To address difficulties with relationships and communication, family counseling might be useful.

Additionally, some personality disorder symptoms can be treated with medication. To assist in treating the symptoms of depression, anxiety or mood swings, doctors may prescribe antidepressants and mood stabilizers.

Antipsychotic drugs may be administered for those with psychotic symptoms, including delusions or hallucinations.

The treatment of teenage personality problems must also include support. Teenagers can connect with others in similar situations through supportive treatments like group therapy or peer support groups.

For their adolescent to get assistance, family members and other caregivers must also offer emotional support and foster a supportive atmosphere.

It’s critical to remember that personality disorder therapy can be a drawn-out and difficult process that may call for continuing care and supervision.

The best course of action for treating a personality problem is to seek out expert guidance from a mental health professional.

Improving a teenager’s quality of life requires early detection and action.

Support strategies for teenagers with personality disorders

  1. Be a good listener: It’s critical to keep lines of communication open with your adolescent and to establish a welcoming environment where they feel comfortable seeking assistance. Give them emotional support while listening to their worries without passing judgment.
  2. Encourage them to seek treatment: Supporting your adolescent in getting professional assistance from a mental health specialist. Inform them that seeking therapy can help manage their symptoms and that it is OK to ask for assistance.
  3. Educate yourself about their condition: You may better comprehend your adolescent’s experiences and behaviors by being knowledgeable about the exact sort of personality disorder that he or she has. Additionally, it can make you more sympathetic and encouraging.
  4. Advocate for them: Be an advocate for your teenager by advocating for their needs and working with their healthcare provider to ensure they receive appropriate treatment and support.
  5.  Provide structure and routine: Teenagers with personality problems may feel safer and more stable when they have structure and routine. Assist them in developing a schedule that includes regular meals, exercise and sleep.
  6. Set boundaries: With your teen, establish firm limits and hold them accountable for bad behavior. Due to this, they will be able to control their emotions and actions better.

Closing thoughts

Supporting a teen with a personality disorder can be time-consuming and difficult, but it’s important to be persistent, patient and empathetic while seeking help.

Many young adults with personality disorders may learn to control their symptoms and have happy, healthy lives with the correct assistance and therapy.

To support you and your adolescent through this journey, remember that you are not alone and that resources are accessible.


Photograph: halfpoint/Envato
The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.