Personality Core of Mental Illness

Research Paper Title

Does it exist a personality core of mental illness? A systematic review on core psychobiological personality traits in mental disorders,


Research investigating the relationship between mental disorders and personality traits leads to interesting results. Individuals affected by several mental disorders have been worldwide assessed according to the psychobiological model of personality. This review aims to explore which temperament and character traits are recurrent in mental disorders and to highlight what traits may be shared determinants or consequences of the expression of a mental disorder.


Systematic search of Medline database between 1998 and 2011 has been conducted to select the studies exploring the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) dimensions in the most relevant axis I psychiatric disorders. Of the 110 studies that were retrieved, 88 met the inclusion/exclusion criteria and were analysed.


High HA (HA) and low self-directedness are recurrent and can be considered as a “personality core” regardless of the diagnosis. They may be risk factors and relapse-related, they can indicate incomplete remission or chronic course of mental disorders, and consistently influence patients’ functioning. Furthermore, they can be modified by medications or psychotherapy and represent outcome predictors of treatments.


This “core” may represent a personality diathesis to psychopathology. Relational environment can influence the development of both temperament and character, thus prevention of mental disorders should promote a positive development of these traits. Although further research is needed, psychotherapeutic interventions should be performed also considering that mental disorders could benefit from HA desensitisation and SD reinforcement. Finally, these traits may be used to provide diagnostic, prognostic, quality of life and efficacy inferences on psychiatric treatments.


Fassino, S., Amianto, F., Sobrero, C. & Daga, G.A. (2020) Does it exist a personality core of mental illness? A systematic review on core psychobiological personality traits in mental disorders. Panminerva Medica. 55(4), pp.397-413.

Book: Working Effectively with ‘Personality Disorder’

Book Title:

Working Effectively with ‘Personality Disorder’: Contemporary and Critical Approaches to Clinical and Organisational Practice.

Author(s): Jo Ramsden, Sharon Prince, and Julia Blazdell (Editors).

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Luminate.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


The history of personality disorder services is problematic to say the least. The very concept is under heavy fire, services are often expensive and ineffective, and many service users report feeling that they have been deceived, stigmatised or excluded. Yet while there are inevitably serious (and often destructive) relational challenges involved in the work, creative networks of learning do exist – professionals who are striving to provide progressive, compassionate services for and with this client group.

Working Effectively with Personality Disorder shares this knowledge, articulating an alternative way of working that acknowledges the contemporary debate around diagnosis, reveals flawed assumptions underlying current approaches, and argues for services that work more positively, more holistically and with a wider and more socially focused agenda.

Book: Psychiatry and Mental Health

Book Title:

Psychiatry and Mental Health: A guide for counsellors and psychotherapists.

Author(s): Rachel Freeth.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: PCCS Books.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


Increasingly, counsellors and psychotherapists are working with people who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder and are required to understand and navigate the mental health system. Counselling training rarely covers the fields of psychiatry and mental disorder in detail and there are few reliable resources on which they can draw.

This comprehensive guide to psychiatry and the mental health system, written by a psychiatrist and counsellor, aims to fill that gap.

The book is intended for counsellors and psychotherapists but will be helpful to others in the mental health field. It explains the organisation and delivery of mental health services in the UK, the theories and concepts underpinning the practice of psychiatry, the medical model of psychiatric diagnosis and treatment, the main forms of mental disorder, how to work therapeutically with people with a diagnosed mental disorder and how to work with risk of suicide and self-harm.

The text is designed to support continuing professional development and training and includes activities, points for learning/discussion and comprehensive references.

Book: Mental Health: Personalities

Book Title:

Mental Health: Personalities: Personality Disorders, Mental Disorders & Psychotic Disorders (Bipolar, Mood Disorders, Mental Illness, Mental Disorders, Narcissist, Histrionic, Borderline Personality).

Author(s): Carol Franklin.

Year: 2015.

Edition: Third (3rd).

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Type(s): Paperback and Kindle.


At some point in your life you will probably start to think you are losing your mind, or that someone you know is in danger of losing theirs. The truth is that modern life is extremely stressful; there are many demands on your time and never enough hours in the day.

However, being at the end of your tether, worn out and overwhelmed is not the same as having a mental disorder. In fact mental health covers a wide range of illnesses including those which most people are aware of, such as Schizophrenia (which is classed as a psychotic disorder). What you may not be aware of is the number of people who have personality disorders and the reasons for these disorders. Most people are not diagnosed until into their twenties and symptoms will naturally reduce in their forties or fifties.

Knowing the difference between the various mental illnesses is essential to ensure you know when a friend or loved one needs professional help as opposed to just your care and attention. This book will guide you through the differences between personality disorders, mental disorders and psychotic disorders.

It will help you to understand the different elements of a personality and how you can test your friends to find out which personality type they are. It will even enlighten you as to the basic traits of each of the sixteen personality types, according to the Myers Briggs Personality test.

Reading this book will enlighten you as to the names and details of the nine main personality disorders, how to recognize the symptoms of each of these disorders and the best way to treat them. It is important to use this book as a guide to understanding these illnesses and to learn the best way to help and support anyone you know who is suffering from a personality disorder. However, a diagnosis must always be confirmed by a medical professional who will ensure treatment is available.

Many people who have a mental health issue will not recognise the issue in themselves; this book will ensure you understand each condition and can help your loved one to get the appropriate treatment.

Everyone deserves the chance to have a happy, fulfilling and balanced life. Read this and help those around you have that chance!

Book: Borderline Personality Disorder

Book Title:

Borderline Personality Disorder.

Author(s): Jon Power.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Rdl Publishing Ltd.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook, and Kindle.


BPD is also referred to as biosocial disorder among experts. This means that this disorder often starts with an inclination towards biological factors but is then intensified by the social environment of an individual.

By temperament, the people with BPD often are intensely emotionally sensitive and very reactive. This is because they tend to feel things immediately and intensely as opposed to other people. Once their powerful and intense emotions have been triggered, it takes them a very long duration to get back to the emotional baseline.

It is important to note that when these emotionally vulnerable people are confronted by their surroundings because they cannot validate their feelings, they develop BPD. In other words, they feel as though the people around them do not fully understand and acknowledge them as they are enough to help them handle their condition. In most cases, children who develop BPD have been shown to suffer abuse and neglect. Additionally, BPD also arises in children whose parents or guardians – well-meaning and loving – reduce their emotional feelings too much because they think that they are inappropriate or exaggerated.

This book covers the following topics:

  • What is borderline personality disorder?
  • Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Using mindfulness to manage emotions.
  • Epidemiology, Factors of Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Diagnosis of the Disorder.
  • Treatment and Medication.
  • Practicing Mindfulness.
  • Building a Coping Skills Toolkit.
  • How to improve social relationships.
  • How to End Anxiety.
  • What Does It Mean to Rewire Your Brain?
  • How to Overcome Panic Thoughts.

To be fair, it is typical for most parents to overreact and dismiss their children’s emotional feelings. However, when it comes to children who are highly reactive, feeling that they are not understood or supported by the people that mean the world to them often is painful. It is this kind of response that often cause them to withdraw from their parents to the level that their relationship is completely disconnected.

One thing that is important to note is that when a child’s feelings are not validated by their parents or someone that they look up to in life, it makes it hard for them to learn how to manage their condition in a very healthy way. The truth is that, it is the adult’s/parent’s responsibility to help their children identify and name their feelings. When they soothe what their children feel, they teach them how to soothe and calm themselves down better whenever they are alone.

Let us consider an instance where someone has intensely strong emotions and is constantly overreacting. Is this how they should feel on a daily basis? Well, this is no way for anyone to feel this way. But when they don’t get the support they need; this kind of reaction becomes something ongoing that they don’t even know how to regulate or modulate their emotional feelings.

What you will note about people with BPD is that they are often overwhelmed by feelings of intense anger, emptiness, self-loathing, shame, and abandonment among others. It is these kinds of feelings that causes their relationships to be quite unstable – hence causing them to be prone to interpreting things negatively.

Book: The Science and Practice of Wellness

Book Title:

The Science and Practice of Wellness: Interventions for Happiness, Enthusiasm, Resilience, and Optimism (HERO).

Author(s): Rakesh Jain and Saundra Jain.

Year: 2020.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: W.W. Norton Company.

Type(s): Hardcover.


Wellness is rapidly becoming an issue of great importance in clinical practice. Wellness-centric clinicians look to improve various traits known to be beneficial to patients – traits such as happiness, enthusiasm, resilience, and optimism (referred to as the HERO traits). All of these not only improve global mental wellness, but also offer resilience against stress, depression, and anxiety. Wellness-centric interventions augment both psychopharmacology and traditional psychotherapies, such as CBT.

Rakesh and Saundra Jain start with an in- depth review of the scientific literature and a practical introduction on applying wellness interventions in various clinical settings. Additionally, they offer advice on such beneficial practices as exercise, mindfulness, optimised nutrition, optimized sleep, enhanced socialisation, and positive psychology enhancement. A robust resource section offers access to wellness-centric scales and forms developed by the authors.

Book: Resilience – How We Find New Strength At Times of Stress

Book Title:

Resilience – How We Find New Strength At Times of Stress.

Author(s): Frederic Flach, MD.

Year: 2020.

Edition: Third (3rd).

Publisher: Ballantine Books.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, and Kindle.


Learn to bounce back from life’s inevitable crises by making friends with stress. There’s no escaping stress. It appears on our doorstep uninvited in the shattering forms of death and divorce, or even in the pleasant experiences of promotion, marriage, or a long-held wish fulfilled. Anything that upsets the delicate balance of our daily lives creates stress.

So why do some people come out of a crisis while others never seem quite themselves again? Now, Dr. Frederic Flach takes the anxiety out of hard times by showing you how to embrace you fears and become stronger because of them. Drawing on over thirty years of experience, Flach reveals the remarkable antidote to the destructive qualities of stress: RESILIENCE.

Book: Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain

Book Title:

Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain – How to Retrain Your Brain to Overcome Pessimism and Achieve a More Positive Outlook.

Author(s): Elaine Fox.

Year: 2012.

Edition: First (1st).

Publisher: Baisc Books.

Type(s): Hardcover, Paperback, and Audiobook, and Kindle.


Are you optimistic or pessimistic? Glass half-full or half-empty? Do you look on the bright side or turn towards the dark? These are easy questions for most of us to answer, because our personality types are hard-wired into our brains. As pioneering psychologist and neuroscientist Elaine Fox has discovered, our outlook on life reflects our primal inclination to seek pleasure or avoid danger – inclinations that, in many people, are healthily balanced. But when our “fear brain” or “pleasure brain” is too strong, the results can be disastrous, as those of us suffering from debilitating shyness, addiction, depression, or anxiety know all too well.

Luckily, anyone suffering from these afflictions has reason to hope. Stunning breakthroughs in neuroscience show that our brains are more malleable than we ever imagined. In Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain, Fox describes a range of techniques – from traditional cognitive behavioural therapy to innovative cognitive-retraining exercises – that can actually alter our brains’ circuitry, strengthening specific thought processes by exercising the neural systems that control them. The implications are enormous: lifelong pessimists can train themselves to think positively and find happiness, while pleasure-seekers inclined toward risky or destructive behavior can take control of their lives.

Drawing on her own cutting-edge research, Fox shows how we can retrain our brains to brighten our lives and learn to flourish. With keen insights into how genes, life experiences and cognitive processes interleave together to make us who we are, Rainy Brain, SunnyBrain revolutionizes our basic concept of individuality. We learn that we can influence our own personalities, and that our lives are only as “sunny” or as “rainy” as we allow them to be.

On This Day … 13 September


  • 1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives an iron rod 1 1⁄4 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter being driven through his brain; the reported effects on his behaviour and personality stimulate discussion of the nature of the brain and its functions.

People (Deaths)

  • 1999 – Benjamin Bloom, American psychologist and academic (b. 1913).

Book: Personality: Theory and Research

Book Title:

Personality: Theory and Research.

Author(s): Daniel Cervone and Lawrence A. Pervin.

Year: 2019.

Edition: Fourteenth (14th).

Publisher: Wiley.

Type(s): Hardcover and ebook (from Wiley).


An invaluable resource for over four decades, Personality examines the fundamental theories and concepts of personality psychology while exploring contemporary research, new methodologies, and the latest technological advancements.

Through a well-rounded blend of theory, case studies, and the latest research, this text identifies the structures and processes of personality, traces personality development, and highlights the value of therapeutic change.

An effective pedagogical structure enhances student interest while strengthening objectivity and critical-thinking skills.

Psychodynamic, social-cognitive, phenomenological, and trait-theoretic perspectives are presented in an unbiased – yet critical – fashion that encourages students to compare theories, evaluate evidence, analyse data, and form their own conclusions.

Thorough historical coverage is balanced with discussions of the current state of the field, providing a solid understanding of theory and methods as relevant to practice today.

Suitable for introductory coursework, this text also serves as a valuable resource for advanced studies and as a reference for professionals in psychology and related fields.