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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I was a freshman I took a psychology class and we learned about different psychology “disorders”, and one of them seemed to be very similar to how I felt. But, I never understood how they were disorders, and it doesn’t seem like they have treatments for them either.

I still don’t see what makes them disorders... I have a personality... is it a malady? Sure my personality sucks... but is it a symptom of a biological malfunction? What do you think... are personality disorders just general schema that psychologists use to describe those with poor personalities?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A personality becomes a disorder when it severely impacts the quality of life of the person who has it or of the people they come into contact with. If it does not have a significant deleterious effect, it is not considered a disorder. Personality disorders were not invented merely to stigmatize people with unusual quirks, but whether or not your behaviors are adaptive obviously depends on the culture that you find yourself in.

I have a sister who was diagnosed with Antisocial Personality Disorder because her behavior was harmful and disruptive (eg. the police often had to become involved, or the fire department, hospitals, social workers, etc.). They didn't just label her APD because she was difficult to be around. People do often use the labels as insults, however (eg. the way some people call everyone they don't like a narcissist).

When a consistent pattern of behaviors leads to things like crime, homelessness, intimate partner violence, repeated suicide attempts, etc., mental health professionals intervene because these activities are demonstrably harmful. The labels are just a way of categorizing the particular constellation of behaviors that tend to cluster together. Pretty much everyone can relate to at least one personality disorder, but unless it's really ruining your life (or someone else's) you're not likely to be diagnosed with one by a competent professional.

There are treatments for personality disorders (like Schema Therapy) but they are very hard to modify.
Seems odd to describe like this... so if someone has legal and family troubles that means that they have a bad personality and it’s causing all this? I’d think it should be more based on the individuals conceptual view of the world. But analyzing that is a lot harder than a criminal record
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
That's not what I was suggesting. A person may have legal and family troubles for any number of reasons. What I'm saying is that regardless of your "conceptual view of the world" you are not going to be diagnosed with a personality disorder unless it's creating a lot of problems. What makes them "disorders" is the harm/distress that is being caused.

From the DSM-5:



You can be self-absorbed without having Narcissistic Personality Disorder if your self-absorption is not "leading to significant distress or impairment." You can be a neat freak without having Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder. You can be indifferent to the consequences your actions have for other people without having Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Depending on who you talk to, all of these people might seem to have "poor personalities," but that doesn't mean their behaviors are leading to significant distress. These people are not being "pathologized" for thinking and feeling in ways that some people might not like. It's only when these traits become so pronounced that they lead to harmful or criminal behaviors or significant psychological distress that people find themselves in front of psychologists or psychiatrists and they end up with a diagnosis. Just like "feeling a little anxious" before a job interview or a date is not going to net you a diagnosis of Social Anxiety Disorder because feeling anxiety in those instances is common and normal.
Well my issue is that the evaluation of whether an attitude or personality trait is causing distress should be phenomenological, not physical/external to the persons mind (I.e their criminal record and relationships). It seems a bit of a reach to say that only people with such external conditions are the ones in great distress... in fact it’s even a reach to say that all such people in those conditions are in distress, since the relevant distress is internal to the subject.
 
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