Is Personality Disorders Just One Condition

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Julie Schmitz
Minnesota School of Business
Is Personality Disorders Just One Condition?
03/17/2013

After the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary and the theatre shooting in Aurora, Colorado, mental health issues have been highlighted in the media recently and have concluded that the perpetrators were diagnosed with having personality disorders. Before we can expect to recognize a personality disorder and take measures to prevent negative consequences, society must first address the critical gap in knowledge about this collection of conditions. Personality disorders are a collection of mental health conditions that affect a person’s long term behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. It is important that we understand that a personality disorder is a serious condition and medical attention is required to assess the different types of characteristics, causes, symptoms and diagnoses to offer the right treatment. It is clear that many members of our society cannot correctly recognize mental disorders, nor do they understand the meanings of psychiatric terms. This lack of mental health literacy may cause problems in communication with health practitioners and it is well known that patients with mental disorders are often missed by general practitioners. Society categorizes and defines “personality disorder” as one condition. This is a common myth society accepts as being true with nonexistence in knowledge of what a personality disorder is. However, there are a wide variety of personality disorders proving that a personality disorders is not just one condition. This paper will dispel the many different types of characteristics, causes and diagnoses of a personality disorder. Would you know if your neighbor had schizophrenia or would you classify them as just having a personality disorder condition? How can you be sure? The notion of a personality disorder is defined very broadly in DSM-IV-TR as any inflexible, pervasive, enduring, stable, and early-onset pattern of experience and behavior that deviates markedly from cultural expectations, leads to clinically significant distress or impairment, and is not an effect of a substance or another mental disorder or medical condition (Douglas & Widiger, 2010 ). This general definition includes many specific personality disorders, including paranoid, schizoid, schizotypal, conduct, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive. These disorders vary widely in their associated mental states and behaviors (Sinnott-Armstrong, 2011). We are all stressed and busy and everyday demands get to us on many occasions during our life. Could you be suffering from a personality disorder? Maybe you are? So how could you be sure? The management and treatment of a personality disorder can be difficult since they usually affect multiple aspects of life. First these disorders involve interpersonal matters, and this may affect the seeking of treatment. Second maintaining of therapeutic relationship is always difficult with some disorders requiring a lifetime of treatment and therapy. Third, personality disorders affect the community in general, and an individual may not point out his or her mental problems unless community and society intervenes (Skodol, et al., 2011). There are tendencies of exclusion in the society, and educating the community on personality disorders is difficult and expensive. Almost all personality disorders arise because of combination of factors and may require different approaches to diagnose, treat and understand. Therapists may become humiliated by the lack of progress of their patients, to the point of losing hope, since some cases take a long recovery process. Schizophrenia

Common misperceptions include that schizophrenia is a multiple personality disorder and that people with schizophrenia are inherently more violent and dangerous than the general population. Some even fail to classify schizophrenia as a disease and...
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