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Mental Health Nursing: Personality Disorders. By Mary B. Knutson, RN, MS, FCP. A Definition of Intimacy. A satisfying closeness resulting from positive interpersonal relationships Individuals keep separate identities Includes sensitivity to other person’s needs

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Mental health nursing personality disorders l.jpg

Mental Health Nursing: Personality Disorders

By Mary B. Knutson, RN, MS, FCP


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A Definition of Intimacy

  • A satisfying closeness resulting from positive interpersonal relationships

  • Individuals keep separate identities

  • Includes sensitivity to other person’s needs

  • Mutual validation of personal worth


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Biological Factors

  • Environmental factors may interact with biological factors

    • Lack of anxiety tolerance

    • Aggressiveness

    • Genetic vulnerability

  • Inconclusive research shows biological abnormalities similar to those with mood disorder


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Developmental Influences

  • Life cycle

    • Infancy, preschool years, childhood

    • Preadolescence and adolescence

    • Young, middle, and late adulthood

  • Capacity for relatedness results from developmental process

  • Lack of attention or stimulation by the parent deprives a child of security


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Sociocultural Factors

  • Social isolation criteria

    • Stigmatized environment

    • Societal indifference

    • Personal-societal disconnection

    • Personal powerlessness

  • Influenced by:

    • Significant others

    • Cultural and socialization practices

    • Self-perceptions


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Continuum of Social Responses

  • Adaptive Responses:

    Solitude, Autonomy, Mutuality, Interdependence

     Loneliness, Withdrawal, Dependence 

  • Maladaptive Responses:

    Manipulation, Impulsivity, Narcissism


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Predisposing Factors

  • Precipitating stressors

  • Psychological stress, life events, and losses

  • Sociocultural stressors, isolation, and loneliness

  • Psychological stressors, prolonged or intense anxiety


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Alleviating Factors

  • Broad networks of family and friends

  • Social supports may include pets, use of expressive media such as art, music, or writing


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Medical Diagnosis

  • Antisocial personality disorder

  • Borderline personality disorder

  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Usually these diagnoses are chronic, long-standing, not based on sound personality structure, and are difficult to change


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Behavioral Characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder

  • Relationships are intense and unstable

  • Exhibits devaluation, manipulation, dependency, and masochism

  • May include manipulative suicide attempts designed to ensure rescue

  • Unstable sense of self leads to fear of abandonment and aloneness

  • May include depression, anger, paranoia, regression, and dissociation occasionally

  • Impulsiveness occurs, usually including substance abuse and promiscuity


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Borderline Personality Disorder Disorder

  • Relationships move through these predictable stages:

    • Idealization and overvaluation 

    • Disappointment when unrealistic needs for maintaining self esteem are unmet 

    • Rationalization and devaluation 

    • Rejection of the other person based on “narcissistic injury”

  • Typically, this pattern is repeated- on the job, in marriages, and in friendships


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Narcissistic Personality Disorder Disorder

  • Has pattern of grandiosity, lack of empathy

  • Hypersensitivity to evaluation of others, beginning in early adulthood

  • May include rageful reactions to criticism, exploitation of others

  • Unable to recognize how others feel

  • Has sense of entitlement, envy

  • May be preoccupied with grandiose fantasies

  • Search for constant attention/admiration


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Antisocial Personality Disorder Disorder

  • Occurs in adults with hx conduct disorder

  • Usually has poor work record

  • Disregard for social norms

  • Aggressiveness

  • Financial irresponsibility

  • Impulsiveness, lying, recklessness

  • Inability to maintain close relationships or meet responsibilities

  • Lack of remorse for harmful behavior


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Assessment of Behaviors Disorder

  • Manipulation- Relationships are formed to take advantage of others

  • Narcissism- Self-centeredness, searching constantly for praise, and may become angry with criticism

  • Impulsivity- Unpredictability, unreliability, inability to plan or learn from experience, and overall poor judgment


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Examples: Nursing Diagnosis Disorder

  • Personal identity disturbance r/t early developmental arrest e/b difficulty defining self boundaries

  • Self-esteem disturbance r/t physical abuse during childhood e/b verbalized unhappiness with his/her accomplishments

  • Impaired social interaction r/t rejection of sociocultural values e/b stated belief that rules to not apply to him/her

  • High risk for self-directed violence r/t need to punish self e/b repeated burning of feet when criticized


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Nursing Care Disorder

  • Use realistic, short term goals:

    • Pt will use verbal communication instead of acting out

    • Pt will verbally identify angry feelings when they occur during one-to-one interactions

  • Learning to relate more directly and openly causes anxiety

  • Increase anxiety-producing activities gradually while increasing environmental supports


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Nursing Interventions Disorder

  • Establish a therapeutic relationship

  • Family involvement

  • Therapeutic milieu therapy- including expectation of mature, responsible behavior

  • Encourage journal writing

  • Limit-setting and structure

  • Protection from self-harm

  • Focusing on strengths

  • Behavior modification


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Coping Mechanisms Disorder

  • Projection- places responsibility for antisocial behavior outside of oneself

  • Splitting- the inability to integrate the good and bad aspects people/object

    • Expresses contradictions

    • Inconsistent lack of impulse control

    • “All good” or “all bad” perceptions

  • Projective identification- part of oneself is projected onto others, and subconsciously the person tends to respond as expected


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Nursing Implications Disorder

  • Staff members must communicate well so consistent messages are given when patients resist rules

  • Remember that manipulative patients sometimes lie

  • It is important to confront the pt who consciously lies or acts out

  • Loss of control may be dealt with by room restriction

  • Reality orientation may be necessary


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Evaluation Disorder

  • Patient Outcome/Goal

    • Patient will obtain maximum interpersonal satisfaction by establishing and maintaining self-enhancing relationships with others

  • Nursing Evaluation

    • Was nursing care adequate, effective, appropriate, efficient, and flexible?


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References Disorder

  • Stuart, G. & Laraia, M. (2005). Principles & practice of psychiatric nursing (8th Ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier Mosby

  • Stuart, G. & Sundeen, S. (1995). Principles & practice of psychiatric nursing (5th Ed.). St. Louis: Mosby