Passive-Aggressive Personality Disorder

A personality disorder is a condition in which personality traits are inflexible and cause severe problems in dealing with other people. These traits begin in the teenage or early adult years and remain for life. The passive-aggressive personality refers to people who express their aggression in a passive way.

What is going on in the body?

A person with passive-aggressive personality disorder resists the demands of others. The individual is often unable to come out and refuse to do something. Instead, he or she will put things off, make excuses, or "forget" to do what is asked. These behaviors create many problems in the person's work and social lives.

What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

Symptoms of passive-aggressive personality disorder include: · putting things off · "forgetting" to do things others ask · being stubborn · disliking people who are in charge, or having a bad attitude about them · complaining frequently · working poorly or slowly on purpose · feeling unappreciated · blaming problems on others · being irritable · disliking the ideas of other people, even if they are useful · arguing frequently

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

The cause of passive-aggressive personality disorder is unknown.

What can be done to prevent the condition?

There is no known way to prevent passive-aggressive personality disorder. Parents who provide love and support for their children may prevent some cases.

How is the condition diagnosed?

Diagnosis of passive-aggressive personality disorder is made based on the symptoms. In some cases, psychological testing is used to help make the diagnosis. Other conditions must be ruled out, including depression and drug abuse.

What are the long-term effects of the condition?

A person with a passive-aggressive personality disorder has problems at work and in relationships with others. The person's behavior makes him or her difficult to deal with.

What are the risks to others?

Passive-aggressive personality disorder is not contagious, and poses no risk to others.

What are the treatments for the condition?

Counseling may help a person with passive-aggressive personality disorder identify and change behaviors. Cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, or individual psychotherapy may be used. Treatment is aimed at helping the person better relate to others.

Medications may help reduce some symptoms. Medications used to treat depression, called antidepressants, may reduce irritability. Fluoxetine or sertraline are commonly used. There is no cure for passive-aggressive personality disorder.

What are the side effects of the treatments?

Counseling can increase the person's irritability and anxiety. This happens when he or she is forced to look at the negative behavior. Antidepressant medications may cause sleep disorders, drowsiness, or stomach upset.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

A person with passive-aggressive personality disorder often does not follow the treatment plan. Treatment is often not helpful, and does not cure the condition.

How is the condition monitored?

Passive-aggressive personality disorder lasts for life. The affected person needs frequent monitoring by a healthcare professional, if he or she will accept it. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.