10 mental illnesses that should not be confused with character traits

We have a habit of explaining to ourselves the strange and unusual behavior of the people around us with their character. “Well, they’re just like that!” We say to ourselves. However, it turns out that sometimes oddities are a much more serious problem. American psychotherapists Aaron T. Beck and Arthur Freeman reveal some secrets about human nature in their book “Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders.”

Here are some of their most interesting observations gathered in these 10 character traits, which are sometimes a sign of serious problems.

  1. Negligence

If dreams of rest and a long vacation were a sign of mental disorder, then 99% of people would be classified as “crazy.” But if you know a person who is constantly late for work, neglects his duties, often takes sick leave, lags behind in his tasks, does not keep his promises and invents all sorts of absurd excuses for unfinished work, it is probably not just ” naughty character “, and for a psychological problem that requires attention.

Other signs are:

These people don’t mind living on the backs of others.

They have no plans for the future.

They make reckless purchases and often waste money on unimportant things, provided they have more urgent purchases or repayment bills.

If you find yourself in this kind of behavior, you should know that psychologists recommend that you start keeping a schedule and structuring your day. Write down what you need to do each day, what your goals are and what you will receive (for example, a gift, a token prize) if you complete all the tasks for the week. Over time, this will become a habit and you will begin to live more organized. Another method that psychologists recommend is to write down what problem you are currently struggling with and indicate all possible solutions. This will make it easier for you to accept and deal with it.

  1. Excessive shyness

Shy people are not few – you will recognize them when meeting a new person, for example. There is nothing strange about this, but if it interferes with normal social relationships, if we refuse to fight it, it can lead to complete isolation and unwillingness to fit into the world. People who are on the verge of mental illness stop experiencing strong emotions and avoid contact with other people, so they choose to work from home or do things that do not require communication.

Strong introversion can lead to:


Indifference to criticism and praise.

Lack of close friends.

Tendency to dreaminess and unrealistic view of the world.

Hypersensitivity, which they try to hide from others for fear of being ridiculed.

If you think these lines apply to you and you do not want the problem to deepen, you will have to make an effort and be among people. Group activities can be stressful, but are extremely helpful in such cases. You could enroll in drawing courses, learn a new language, go to yoga, dance, etc. Try to communicate more actively with at least two or three people in the new place you have chosen, and do not be afraid – according to psychologists, people are much more favorable to us than we think.

  1. Constant postponement of tasks

There are people who are just lazy. Everyone is looking to postpone some unpleasant activity for later. Here, however, we are talking about cases in which a person postpones even his most basic duties because he simply cannot bear them. Constantly postponing our duties can lead to passive-aggressive behavior and chronic depression. The following symptoms are indicative that you may have a problem:

Annoyance that you have to do something not very pleasant, which is quite normal for most people, for example to wash the dishes, take the dog out, wipe the dust, run the washing machine, throw away the garbage, run the vacuum cleaner, etc. .

You do your work slowly and with poor quality (through your fingers).

You will be offended if someone advises you how to do your job faster and more efficiently.

You make undeserved criticism of people who have more power than you.

If you are familiar with any of the above, it’s time to take your life in hand and start organizing your time fully. Make a schedule for each day. It does not need to be too ambitious, it is more important to follow it to create a routine. Think about how nice it would be to finish your duties and then be free to do whatever you want without worrying about falling behind.

  1. Impulsiveness and easy irritability

Irritability is not a pleasant quality. Sometimes, however, he speaks of something more than an unpleasant and impulsive nature. People who do not make an effort to control their anger face a higher risk of developing a personality disorder. A typical symptom of this disease is a sudden change in mood, as well as a causeless change of opinion. For example, today they say they hate fried eggs, and tomorrow they make fried eggs for breakfast. The following symptoms require caution:

Unstable and unsustainable friendships and love relationships.

Frequent reckless purchases.

Aggressive driving.

Mood swings for no reason and a constant feeling of boredom and boredom.

What you can do – professional therapy and self-control exercises. Try to reduce unnecessary purchases. For example, if you intend to buy a coffee machine and manage to do it without buying from the store and a bunch of unnecessary things around it, you deserve to be rewarded with something you have been dreaming of for a long time.

  1. Relentless self-criticism

It is very good for a person to be self-critical, to demand more of himself and not to try at all costs to find an excuse for his mistakes. This helps us to develop and grow as individuals. However, high-dose self-criticism can be an indicator of serious problems. Here are some alarming signs of this type of mental disorder:

Strong intolerance of criticism or disapproval, accompanied by feelings of insult.

Avoiding new acquaintances, which borders on absurdity (for example, to refuse a promotion, because that would mean working with new people).

Exaggeration of possible difficulties, risks and dangers in a given situation.

Reduce communication with others for fear of saying something wrong, with which to attract ridicule.

In this case, it would be useful to get rid of coincidences and unreliable assumptions about what could happen if… We advise you to write down all the fears and concerns associated with a situation on a piece of paper. For example, “If I go to the store late at night, they will rob me.” Then do what you want and save the result. They probably didn’t rob you, did they? It is almost certain that the result will be much more positive than you thought. The next time you’re afraid to do something, open your notebook and see how many times your fears have actually happened.

  1. Suspicion, super-suspicion

From time to time we are all paranoid and this is normal, but some people cross all boundaries in their suspicion – always looking for some hidden subtext, imagining various things, have a habit of eavesdropping, reading other people’s emails, digging into other people’s things, to search under the ox calf. Such behavior is not within normal limits and indicates a paranoid personality disorder, especially if it is accompanied by the following symptoms:

Painful and inexplicable distrust of your partner.

Looking for a subtext in the simplest actions (for example, that the neighbor below is deliberately slamming the door to annoy you).

Tendency to blame everyone around you.

Lack of sense of humor and inability to look at things from their funny side.

A good way to deal with chronic mistrust is to make a list of your loved ones and put a red dot next to their name every time they meet your expectations. For example, if you were afraid that your partner would forget about you during the family celebration / team building, but instead he paid attention to you all the time. The next time you distrust someone, pay attention to the number of red dots and you will calm down.

  1. Workaholism

We are all dependent on our loved ones – this is inherent in our nature, but excessive addiction is known in medicine as an obsessive / dependent personality disorder. The main sign of this disease is that a person cannot make decisions on his own without consulting his relatives or his boss. Here are some more signs of this particular condition:

Agreeing with the circumstances and with others, even if they are unpleasant and unacceptable to you.

Feeling uncomfortable when you are alone, and an obsessive desire to do everything possible to prevent yourself from being left alone.

Be willing to do something you don’t like, just to please someone.

An obsessive feeling that the whole world is against you and everyone wants to harm you or betray your trust.

The best thing you can do in this case is to make a list of your qualities. For example, “I’m a good driver” or “The project you presented in the office today was good.” Whenever you need someone else’s approval, look at the list to gain confidence.

  1. Over-emotionality

Hypersensitivity can be a symptom of a hysterical personality disorder, also known as hysteria or hysteria. A person’s desire to be the center of attention is somewhat natural, but it depends on how far it extends and how difficult it is for a person to overcome the fact that it does not always work out. If you feel anger or intolerance when the spotlight is on someone else, then you have a problem.

Here are some of the symptoms of this disorder:

Constant need for support, approval and praise.

Inability to concentrate on a specific task for an extended period of time.

A sharp change of mood.

Too emotional speeches and speeches, full of pathos, lacking facts and logical reasoning.

Intolerance of boredom and monotony and a desire to constantly do something new and different.

One of the most successful ways to deal with hysteria is by working with a timer. Set it for 30 minutes or an hour, during which time you set yourself only one task, without being distracted by another. It may sound like an easy job, but for over-emotional people it’s a real battle with yourself because it doesn’t turn them around. It is difficult to set goals because they usually dream of something wonderful, but indefinite and vague. Therefore, another suitable method is to set clear and precise goals – for example, “To raise me to work for up to two months”, “To parachute next summer”, “To learn how to cook risotto”, etc.

  1. Perfectionism

Painful perfectionism borders on obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. At the heart of this situation is the fact that society values ​​qualities such as self-control, discipline, reliability and courtesy, and many people are obsessed with meeting these expectations. This is the moment when these otherwise positive qualities degenerate into a mania that is difficult to control.

Perfectionists should be concerned if they notice these symptoms:

Reluctance to take time for themselves and to rest for fear of becoming unproductive.

Reluctance to throw away unnecessary things with the thought that one day they will need them.

Pathological fear of making a mistake.

The desire to do everything themselves, including the work of others, because they are convinced that no one can do better than them.

Perfectionists do not know what a holiday is, so psychologists recommend meditating with your eyes closed every day against the background of pleasant music or going to massages often. Another exercise is to write down what you did on the days when you did not rest at all and on the days when you found time to rest. Most likely, the list will convince you that a vacation does not mean unfinished business.

  1. High self-esteem

It is very important to love ourselves, but even this love has its limits, otherwise it can lead to narcissistic personality disorder. Such people, on the one hand, adore themselves and think of themselves as the greatest, but at the same time are extremely susceptible to depression due to the fact that their self-esteem is false and fragile – like a bubble that can easily burst.

Here are some more signs of human daffodils:

They are overwhelmed with anger (hidden or overt) at the slightest criticism.

They use others to achieve their goals.

They expect special treatment (for example, to let them be first in line for no reason).

Irresistible envy and constant dreams of untold riches.

The main problem with narcissism is the serious discrepancy between expectations and reality, which leads to feelings of dissatisfaction and inferiority, frequent and abrupt changes in mood and fear of being insulted. A useful exercise in such cases is to lower your expectations and set more realistic goals that are achievable in the near future. For example, to buy a nice one instead of dreaming of an expensive new car.

Source : Based on materials from Bright Side