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Personality disorder - who needs protecting?

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6925.420a (Published 05 February 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:420
  1. D Gordon

    I have been diagnosed as having a personality disorder. No, I'm not a psychopath, nor do I have Munchausen syndrome by proxy. My symptoms don't even fit nicely into one of the official diagnostic categories, but nevertheless are classed by my psychiatrist as being “severe.”

    To the general public who have read the tabloid press the term severe personality disorder is likely to conjure up pictures of axe wielding maniacs and child murderers or at the very least people who need to be kept away from society in high security special hospitals or locked wards; people from whom we need protecting.

    To the medical and psychiatic profession and perhaps the more enlightened among us the term severe personality disorder will evoke images of manipulative, superficially charming, persistent liars who have few (if any) friends, cannot form close lasting relationships, and are unable to deal appropriately with their intense feelings of anger and rage. For many years the diagnosis of personality disorder has been fraught with difficulties and has produced much disagreement among those who have attempted to describe, categorise, and treat it. There now seems to …

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