The current state of the world has left many feeling not in control of their lives. The news reports which are often negative and depressing seem to change on a daily, if not hourly, basis. New recommendations, regulations, and reports leave some feeling fearful, anxious, and in a state of social isolation.
These feelings seem vaguely familiar to symptoms of some personality disorders. Specifically, personality disorders of over control (OC) include avoidant, dependent, depressive, and paranoid personality disorders. Described by experts, some of the core features of these personality disorders include limited awareness and expression of affect, tendency to minimize distress, the need to control the environment, and limited social interaction (1).
This current state of social isolation experienced by so many right now may give us a small glimpse into the world of people with a diagnosis of an OC personality disorder. Many of us are fearful and anxious, unable to leave our houses, and feel that everything is out of our control. We may be feeling unsustainable levels of distress, and might even be adapting in not so healthy ways. An awareness of these emotions could make it easier for us going forward to empathize with people who have an OC diagnoses.
We know we will get through this. Social distancing and stay at home orders will eventually be lifted, and most of us will bounce back to our normal schedules and return to social activities much the same as before this experience. As we get back to our new normal it would be beneficial to remember those who cannot leave these emotions behind. Whether from trauma caused by the Coronavirus or from an underlying personality disorder, many people do not possess the coping skills necessary to deal with their anxiety, fear, and emotional distress.
For those that struggle with mental illness, Rose Hill has long been known as a leader in treating personality disorders, with a well-developed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy program. What we may not be as well known for is our other well-developed services for individuals with those diagnoses of OC. RO DBT, an evidence-based therapy specifically designed for those with OC issues is one of the specialty services provided by Rose Hill’s expert clinicians.
Part of Rose Hill’s RO DBT services include aspects that experts agree are crucial for individuals with symptoms of over control. We understand that treating symptoms and behaviors is not enough. Treating the underlying personality disorder in an individualized manner is essential to long-term sustainable recovery. Approaches that emphasize a therapeutic alliance and include a consistent and comprehensive approach are part of Rose Hill’s effective programming (1,2).
As we move forward and find a new balance post-Coronavirus, let’s do it without losing our new-found empathy and understanding for others. Don’t forget the feelings of isolation and loss of control that were temporary for most of us. We wish you all the best while we work to stay connected and continue to reach out to those who are not able to reach out to us.References
- Dimaggio, G., MacBeth, A., Popolo, R., Salvatore, G., Perrini, F., Raouna, A., . . . Montano, A. (2018). The problem of overcontrol: Perfectionism, emotional inhibition, and personality disorders.Comprehensive Psychiatry, 83, 71-78. \
- Dimaggio, G., & Overholser, J. (2019). Treatment of clients with anxious and over-controlled personality disorders: An international accord. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy : On the Cutting Edge of Modern Developments in Psychotherapy,49(1), 1-6.