What is a personality disorder?
According to the Mayo Clinic, “a personality disorder is a general term for a type of mental illness in which your ways of thinking, perceiving situations and relating to others are dysfunctional. There are many specific types of personality disorders.
In general, having a personality disorder means you have a rigid and potentially self-destructive or self-denigrating pattern of thinking and behaving no matter what the situation. This leads to distress in your life or impairment of your ability to go about routine functions at work, school or social situations. In some cases, you may not realize that you have a personality disorder because your way of thinking and behaving seems natural to you, and you may blame others for your circumstances.”
Though it affects millions of Americans, HPD has gone unrecognized by the DSM or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It is the hope of many psychiatrists, psychologists, religious leaders and lay people that HPD will eventually receive the recognition it deserves so that those afflicted with the disorder can receive adequate treatment.
• Extreme anxiety, distress, paranoia and/or anger upon hearing about or observing the accomplishments (big or small) of another person. This is usually accompanied by sweaty palms, dilated pupils, rapid or incomprehensible speech, and a change in voice volume and octave. HPD often triggers depression and panic attacks.
•Bouts of jealousy combined with rage which often renders the individual immobile and incompetent. For example, HPD sufferers tend to spend an unhealthy amount of time gossiping, slandering and attempting to undermine the success of another. This prevents the person from working towards their own success or solving problems in their own lives.
•Severe narcissism and illusions of grandeur. “It’s all about me!” HPD sufferers tend to see the world in relation to themselves. Almost everything is reflected back onto the self. In their mind, the success or accomplishments of another say something- usually negative- about their personal identity, social mobility or sense of self-worth. They also inflate or exaggerate their accomplishments when comparing them to another person whom they secretly believe has unearned success.
There is no drug on the market for HPD sufferers. Scientists at GlaxoSmithKline are working to develop a prescription medication for HPD. It has also been rumored that Schering-Plough HealthCare Products- the makers of Afrin- have been working on an over the counter nasal spray which reduces the effects of HPD for 12 hours.
Talk therapy has proven to significantly reduce the effects of HPD. Patients must visit a licensed therapist at least twice a week. They must actively work on a treatment plan along with the therapist. However, those who suffer from severe HPD require much more contact and management.
*A list of HPD complications and risk factors are available upon request.