A-Z Teen Health Glossary


Teen Personality Disorder Treatment

Teen personality disorders are characterized by a variety of behaviors and thoughts that are unhealthy, and often dangerous to their health or someone else’s. Teen personality disorders are complex and divided into many types and subtypes, based on specific thoughts, behaviors, and coexisting symptoms. These teen’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are often very different from social expectations and because of that, often cause friction with others. Because teens aren’t necessarily aware that their thoughts and behaviors are very different from normal, they may not be aware that their thoughts are unnatural, or they not recognize that they have a teen personality disorder.

What Does Teen Personality Disorder Look Like?

  • There are several different types of personality disorders, each of which include specific symptoms.
  • Personalities are, by nature, highly variable. Despite the oxymoron, it’s normal to be different – most people possess some unique quality or quirk, and there are many factors that contribute to developing a teen’s personality into something individual.
  • There is a difference between being eccentric and struggling with a mental health issue. Personality disorders are not just little quirks or inconsistencies, or troubling behavior. Teens are often troubling and inconsistent, as they are still growing up and exploring their thoughts and boundaries. But if their behavior is clearly unhealthy, chronic, and the cause of many issues – especially among peers and at home – then they may be struggling with more than just early adulthood.

Signs of Teen Personality Disorder

Extreme and frequent mood swings

Difficulty in relationships

Unpredictable behavior and inability to control impulses

A need for immediate gratification

Substance abuse issues

Unnatural tendencies or thoughts

Extreme introversion

The Different Types of Types of Teen Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder - Teen borderline personality disorders are characterized by trouble forming and maintaining healthy, lasting relationships, because of compulsive and unpredictable behavior. These behaviors are often linked to the teen fearing abandonment

Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Teens with narcissistic personality disorder view themselves as superior to others and yet, at the same time, need the praise and affection of others, to affirm their opinions of their high standing.  In this sense, what can appear like a big ego is actually a delicate state, stemming from a lack of self-esteem.  These people, in concentrating so much on themselves, tend to seem unconcerned with the thoughts and feelings of others.

Antisocial Personality Disorder - Teens with antisocial personality disorder are incapable of processing concepts of privacy in others, intruding on and violating the rights of other people. They will often act impulsively and against social norms, without a care for other people.

Histrionic Personality Disorder - Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by excessive attention-seeking behavior, as well as very emotional reactions. Teens with histrionic personality disorder will feel uncomfortable not being the center of attention and will often do things to call attention to themselves.

Dependent Personality Disorder - Teens with dependent personality disorder have difficulty operating independently, and often depend upon someone else for help making decisions and taking care of themselves.  In connection with their strong need and reliance upon others, they often have an extreme fear of abandonment and being alone.

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Avoidant Personality Disorder - Teens with avoidant personality disorder are unnaturally introverted, going out of their way to avoid social interaction out of fear and strong feelings of inadequacy. They are extremely sensitive to criticism and often believe people are constantly criticizing them in secret. They believe any social interaction is likely to lead to rejection and embarrassment.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder - Teens with obsessive-compulsive personality disorder struggle with a diagnosis that is different from OCD. OCD is a form of anxiety expressed through compulsive behavior, meant to appease some form of obsessive thought, such as a fear revolving around lights or germs. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is characterized by extreme perfectionism, and an inability to deviate from a schedule, as well as an inability to ignore minute details that stand out as problematic. They will apply this perfectionism to their behavior and relationships, often to the detriment of their interactions with other people.

Paranoid Personality Disorder - Teens with paranoid personality disorder have a constant and overwhelming fear and mistrust of others, believing that people have ulterior motives.  These people feel a strong need to protect themselves from others and this distrust results in the distance they often maintain from others and in relationships.

Schizoid Personality Disorder - Teens with schizoid personality disorder struggle with social relationships and emotional expression. They prefer to act alone, spend time alone, and are detached from others to the point of ignoring criticism. This detachment extends even to very personal or close relationships.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder - Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by very strange or eccentric behavior, including highly distorted thinking and perception, discomfort in relationships with others, and problems putting two and two together, instead making leaps and coming to strange conclusions about things.

Teen Personality Disorder Treatment | Paradigm Malibu

What Are the Causes of Teen Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are usually diagnosed based on long-term patterns of thinking and behavior, rather than spontaneously strange of eccentric behavior. A teen can have more than one personality disorder. To be diagnosed, they typically have to exhibit consistent patterns in thinking and behavior for more than one year. There are many different possible causes for personality disorders, including:
  • Brain disease
  • Coexisting mental health issues
  • Severe emotional trauma
  • Family history of personality disorders


of suicides are people with Borderline Personality Disorder


of self injurers with a personality disorder start before age 12


adolescents have a personality disorder

How Can I Help My Teen With Personality Disorder?

Parents and friends are crucial to helping teens cope with their personality disorder and continue managing their thoughts and behavior long after treatment is over. Often, psychotherapy involves teaching parents – and, optionally, friends – to watch out for specific sentences and speech structures and know how to react in a way that invokes what their loved one already knows about their condition.

Treating a personality disorder is not easy and managing both behaviors and thoughts to react “normally” can be difficult for teens. They rely on those around them to help them correct their behavior and adjust to what it’s like to think and act normally.

What Types of Teen Depression Treatment Are Available?


Primary treatment for personality disorders involve psychotherapy, or talk therapy. For therapy to be effective, it’s important to approach a teen’s condition as part of a greater whole. Individual circumstances affect how a personality disorder manifests. Different types of therapy are used to help a teen work through their issues, realize how they affect others, and manage their urges to avoid conflict. Therapists first encourage teens to become aware of their thoughts and behaviors, creating an awareness from which changes can be made. Then, they help the teens to understand the effects that their behaviors have, both in their own lives, and in the lives of others.


Medication does not cure a personality disorder. However, in cases where teens also experience severe anxiety symptoms, or depressive thoughts – including suicidal thinking – medication such as antidepressants can help manage these symptoms where therapy fails.

Teen Personality Disorder Treatment at Paradigm Malibu

Treating a teen personality disorder starts with properly diagnosing a teen and figuring out what other problems they may have in life. By offering a therapeutic environment designed to help teens express their problems and address their mental health issues, Paradigm Malibu not only utilizes psychotherapy, but considers the entire living space to be conducive towards helping a teen address their issues. Staying at Paradigm Malibu can be a very social experience, giving teens the opportunity to learn how to interact with others in a way that is healthy and normal, and why.

Therapists can then begin working with the teens during teen personality disorder treatment to change those compulsive behaviors and bring about an awareness of their actions, as well as introducing healthy behaviors and practices that will help the teens grow. Therapists also help the teens to gain an ability to deal with stress and conflicts in their lives in healthy ways, so that they can learn to react intentionally and with control.

Understanding why their disorder can be abrasive towards others or even potentially lead to dangerous consequences is an important part of treatment. By recognizing what’s normal and what’s wrong, teens can begin correcting themselves without assistance.


There is no doubt that Paradigm saved our son and our family - and we are eternally grateful.
- Bob W.

Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Depression

Is it dangerous to be around someone with a personality disorder?

People with personality disorders are not necessarily more likely to behave more dangerously than others, but it can feel that way, because their behavior can seem so unpredictable. Statistically speaking, it’s more likely for a person with a personality disorder to physically harm themselves, rather than someone else. Because people with personality disorders often lack awareness of how they act, this can lead to problems in multiple areas of life. Therefore, seeking support and teen personality disorder treatment early on is so important.

How can I figure out if I have a personality disorder?

The truth is, you probably can’t figure out on your own if you have a personality disorder, such as borderline personality disorder. But if you’re wondering, there’s a good chance it’s because you’re struggling in one or multiple areas of your life, and you’re searching for help. If this is the case, it’s important to get help addressing whatever it is you’re going through. You do not need to be diagnosed with a mental health issue to seek help when going through rough times.

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