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Personality Disorders: Mental Health Misunderstood

6 Pages 1437 Words June 2020

The concept of personality disorder as a clinical diagnosis is relatively recent. Before 1960, personality disorder was without clinical value and disregarded as a medical condition. However, evidence of personality conditions characterized as outbursts of rage and violence in the absence of psychosis or hallucinations date back to the early 1800s when Philippe Pinel (1745-1826) termed the condition “Manie sans délire” (Ozarin). Another notable physician from England, JC Prichard (1786-1848), first used the phrase "moral insanity" in 1835 to illustrate personality disorder as a "morbid perversion of the natural feelings, affections, inclinations, temper, habits, moral dispositions and natural impulses." The phrase quickly faded out of use, but still, perplexed psychologists continued analyzing deviant personalities for centuries. In 1952 the first publication of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) introduced characteristics of abnormal behavior in response to undesirable experiences such as erratic emotions and impulses.
Nearly two decades later, the American Psychological Association recognized personality disorder as an official medical diagnosis in the 1980 publication of the DSM-III. Personality disorders are universally debated due to the generalization of symptoms and failure to apply all diagnostic criteria. (American Psychiatric Association). Despite efforts to establish consistent clinical approaches for assessing one’s abilities to cope with everyday functions rationally, the threat of disparity in outcomes remains from social judgment and bias. The mind is not the brain, meaning it is not a physical object; therefore, concrete pathological findings do not exist, and personality disorders are open to various interpretations. To better understand the complexity of mental disorders, my research will focus on answering three questions. What are personality disorders? How does social stigma aff...

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