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Treating Personality Disorders In Children

written by: Sanchia Fernandes • edited by: Jacqueline Chinappi • updated: 11/16/2010

Personality disorders are characterized by certain abnormal behaviors that are mostly chronic in nature. Since there have been many medical advances in treating personality disorders in children, parents should take advantage of these treatment options to help their kids cope with such disorders.

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    Types of Personality Disorders in Children

    Although there are numerous personality disorders that affect children of different age groups, there are specific treatment options that address each of these disorders. The exact cause of various personality disorders still remains unknown. However, children who have a genetic predisposition to psychiatric disorders and those who haven’t been raised in a nurturing environment are more likely to suffer from such conditions. Some of these disorders include obsessive compulsive personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizotypal personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder. Other psychiatric disorders that fall under personality disorders include anti-social behavior disorder and dependent personality disorder. We will now discuss the treatment options of some of the most common personality disorders that are seen in children.

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    Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder

    Children suffering from obsessive compulsive personality disorder have to undergo cognitive behavior therapy or CBT. This treatment focuses on changing the child’s behavior in order to alter negative thoughts and emotions. The psychiatrist will work at getting rid of the child’s fears by helping him confront those fears. Once the patient learns to deal with those fears or stressful situations, the symptoms of obsessive compulsive personality disorder will subside. Some children also require medicines that will help them cope with the anxiety they’re facing. It’s important for members of the family to support the child who’s suffering from this disorder so that the treatment is successful.

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    Borderline Personality Disorder in Children

    Children suffering from this disorder require psychotherapy. This type of therapy helps the child develop a bond of trust and emotional security with the psychotherapist. Once the child learns to develop this relation of trust with the therapist he will be better able to create new relations, and maintain former relationships with his family and friends. Children suffering from borderline personality disorder exhibit impulsive and self destructive behaviors, and they often feel emotionally detached. To overcome these behavioral disorders dialectical behavior therapy is generally initiated. In addition to this, CBT benefits children suffering from borderline personality disorder. But if the disorder is very severe in nature, the child may require hospitalization and the administration of certain prescription drugs. Medications such as anti-depressant drugs, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and stress reducing drugs are the preferred choice.

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    Schizotypal Personality Disorder and Schizophrenia in Children

    Children suffering from schizophrenia along with schizotypal personality disorder need to be monitored carefully. They require a combination of treatment procedures and they’re best handled by child psychiatrists. The child will have to attend individual therapy sessions with the therapist. He will also have to attend family therapy sessions. Most children suffering from schizophrenia are prescribed medications that have to be given on time, exactly according to the doctor’s instructions. It will take a while before the child responds positively to these treatment procedures. Follow up doctor’s visits are imperative for full recovery.

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    Paranoid Personality Disorder in Children

    The main treatment option for children suffering from paranoid personality disorder is psychotherapy. The therapist will work at improving the child’s interpersonal skills and self-perceptions. Children should also be given medications that reduce anxiety and stress. It’s important that the child follows through with the therapy sessions so that the symptoms of the disorder subside.

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    Anti-Social and Dependent Personality Disorder

    Although there are no treatment options that assure full recovery from the symptoms of anti-social personality disorder, schema therapy helps to alter this disorder to a certain extent. Like most other personality disorders listed above, children suffering from dependent personality disorder require a combination of cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal and group therapy, marital therapy and medication. The main aim of these therapies is to help the child live in a more independent manner.

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    Dealing with Children Suffering from Personality Disorders

    If you have a child who’s suffering from any type of personality disorders you must consult a psychotherapist as soon as possible.Treating personality disorders in children should be done after a diagnosis. If the treatment is delayed, the symptoms of the disorder will become even stronger. If you seek the assistance of a psychotherapist as soon as you notice any abnormal behaviors, your child will recover faster. Make sure you follow the instructions of the psychotherapist and make time for follow up sessions. You should also help your child overcome his fears by helping him thrive in a nurturing environment.

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    References:

    MedlinePlus

    PsychCentral