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Personality Disorders are like tips of icebergs. They rest on a foundation of causes and effects, interactions and events, emotions and cognitions, functions and dysfunctions that together form the individual and make him or her what s/he is. I have always been interested in people, their ways of thinking and behaving. Studying psychology has partially satisfied my curiosity, however, I have also ended up more intrigued then ever! I have a great interest in neuropsychology or simply, the way our brains work. I have worked in various mental health environments and have seen the effects that absence of good mental health can have on people. However, I have also become much more aware of the ignorance and stigma, which is unfortunately, still attached to mental illnesses and mental instabilities. I have set up a web site as well as this blog to promote the awareness of mental health and the related issues, to help eliminate the prejudiced thinking prevalent in our societies. I hope both will develop into useful resources for different individuals and I look forward to all the interesting comments and posts from the readers, who are all welcome to sign up to the blog.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Personality Disorder Diagnosis - a Blessing or a Curse?

It is commonly agreed that by our late teens, or early 20s, the most of us have developed our own personality with our distinctive ways of thinking, feeling and behaving. Usually, our personality allows us to get on reasonably, if not perfectly well, with other people. However, for some people this does not happen. Their personality develops in a way that makes it difficult for them to live with themselves and/or other people. They are simply unable to learn from experience and to change their traits.

My experience from working in mental health environments confirms that those with a personality disorder often find it hard to make or maintain relationships. Such people are frequently unable to get on with friends, family or people at work and lack the ability to control feelings and behaviour. As such, they end up unhappy or distressed, often upsetting or harming other people. Having a personality disorder makes life difficult, so other mental health problems (such as depression, or drug and alcohol abuse) co-occur.

Psychologists have developed many personality inventories, i.e. The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) or the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory (MCMI) and numerous projective tests, i.e. The Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) that allow clinicians to assess the patient's patterns of thinking, their worries or anxieties and thus directing them to a valid diagnosis. Furthermore, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM-IV-TR), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is now a widely recognized manual that provides standard criteria for the classification of mental disorders, enabling even faster diagnoses.

However, despite all the tools, one question remains unanswered. Is this goal of getting a fast diagnosis a blessing or a curse for those involved? As for me, I am still trying to find out...

1 comment:

  1. Not being diagnosed early is almost unheard of. When the child starts to develop the increase of hormones is almost impossible to ignore. All that needs to happen is a trigger. People that tend to not be diagnosed at a young age are those of families that are in denial, or just dont' care and refuse to do research.

    I was diagnosed because i couldn't be lived with. Sadly it is a bit of both. Being put on medicine was good for my family but destroyed me and my grades. I was on very high doses in school and missed almost all of it becaues i was sleeping 14 hours a day.

    My mania and isomnia still causes problems but im thinking to switching to an herbal doctor.

    I may be hard to live with and a black sheep, but i wouldn't have it any other way. For a balance in society there needs to be black sheeps. People with mood disorders tend to be very gifted in creative and intellectual aspects. Dealing to cope with everyday issues is part of our lives but learning how to turn our weaknesses into strengths is our true job.

    And who are people to say what is normal and what is not. Imbalance=genius