Experiential-Descriptive Theory Of Personality Disorders

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The American system for the classification of mental disorders added personality disorders to the DSM III in 1980. At this point, interest and clinical research of the disordersbegan to grow. Studies soon confirmed what many clinicians believed; personality disorders were under diagnosed and extremely common. Nearly 80% of individuals seeking mental health treatment met the criteria for at least 1 of the 10 personality disorders. In “An Experiential-Descriptive Method for the Diagnosis of Personality Disorders” Edward E. Hunter state that “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders,Fourth Edition defines personality disorders as "enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, andthinking about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts" (630)”(1).Often times people with a personality disorder have difficulty communicating. They may feel inferior or believe they will be judged and ridiculed. Hunterinsists that “When these traits are inflexible and maladaptive, causing significant functional impairment or subjective distress, they constitute a disorder”(1). Intensive therapy will likely be required if these patterns are to be disrupted. The disorder is defined as an "enduring pattern of inner experiences and behavior that deviates markedly from expectations of the individuals culture in two of the following areas: cognition, affectivity, interpersonal function and impulsecontrol" (qtd. In Hunter 1). Although all 10 personality disorders carry different symptoms, they all must fall under these guidelines to be diagnosed. It is widely believed that personality
Fowler2 disorders, when severe, are untreatable; however, some forms of therapy are affective and lessen the symptoms. I have been diagnosed with a personality disorder and understand the stigma around these disorders; stigmas that need to be brought to the light. Personality disorders are the onlydisorders some clinicians refuse to treat. However, this group of people may need treatment more than any other group battling a mental illness. In “Reconceiving Personality Disorders:Adaptations on a Dimension?” Hamilton Fairfax reports that “The diagnosis, treatment and

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