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Personality disorders

Personality disorders are disorders in the ability to relate to other people. It is estimated that between five and ten percent of all Danish adults have a personality disorder.

What are personality disorders?

Personality disorders manifest themselves in the way you feel, think, experience, and relate to other people. Usually, the disorders are discovered in childhood and they last throughout life.

The disorders can affect a number of areas of the personality and cause rigid, maladjusted and inexpedient behavior. What is decisive of which type of disorder you have is whether your behaviour and symptoms cause problems for yourself or the people you interact with.

Eight personality disorders have been defined:

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Dyssocial personality disorder
  • Emotionally unstable personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
  • Anxious personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder

Often, it is normal to have characteristics from more than one disorder at the same time.


It is common for the various personality disorders that their characteristics have to:

  • Be radically rigid, maladjusted, and inexpedient
  • Be at your own disadvantage or the disadvantage of the surroundings
  • Have lasted since youth
  • Not be caused by other mental or physical illnesses

The characteristics have to be present in at least two of the following areas:

  • Cognition and attitudes
  • Emotions
  • Ability to control impulsive acts and defer gratification of needs
  • Relations to others


Some personality disorders can be relieved by psychotherapy. In difficult cases, medical treatment with antidepressants can be necessary.

Find more information here:

The Patient Handbook (in Danish)

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