For quite some time now, there has been a debate about whether personality disorders should be included in the new Diagnostic Statistics Manual (DSM-5). The controversy stems from the notion that personality disorders differ from mental disorders and, therefore, classifying personality disorders alongside mental disorders gives the impression that they are related. Although it has been criticized in the past for including personality disorders into its DSM classifications, the American Psychiatric Association has not made a mistake by planning to publish personality disorders in its future manuals.
Before going into the merits and demerits of including personality disorders into the DSM, it is important to understand what personality disorders are and the purpose of DSM. Broadly speaking, personality disorders are behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that deviate from societal expectations. They must be experienced for a long period before being classified as personality disorders. DSM, on the other hand, is a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association to provide a common standard for classifying mental disorders.
For starters, it is important to have a reference point before determining whether someone has a personality disorder or not. This would not be possible without getting a background of the client’s history. Personality disorders, for instance, could arise from inherited conditions or result from an individual’s environment. It could also be as a result of the interplay between genes and the environment. Classification of personality disorders in the DSM enables clinicians to relate an individual’s situation with the literature provided by the manual.
Apart from helping clinicians and researchers to determine what their subjects ail from, inclusion of personality disorders in the DSM would help to differentiate between personality disorders and other types of mental disorders with similar symptoms. Clinicians and researchers, for example, require this information before accurately determining the type of personality disorder their clients have. The correct diagnosis is an important tool for every clinician and the inclusion of personality disorders in the DSM catalyses accurate diagnosis. Diagnosis of personality disorders is something made from observation rather than the use of equipment. This makes knowledge of personality disorders helpful. Again, this would not be possible without a universal classification and diagnosis reference point.
Lastly, the inclusion of personality disorders into the DSM would facilitate correct treatment. After a clinician identifies the cause of the personality disorder, and the right diagnosis, it becomes easy to provide the correct treatment. Treatment of personality disorders may vary from the use of therapy to the use of medication. Nevertheless, treatment is something that borrows from past precedents and studies. Armed with the literature provided in the DSM, healthcare companies would also be able to develop the right medication where it is necessary.
Despite the potential benefits of including personality disorders in the DSM, American Psychiatric Association faces a lot of criticism – especially for giving the impression that personality disorders are mental illnesses. However, this should not worry people because there is no conclusive study that indicates that personality disorders are indeed mental disorders or not. In addition, it is not the description that matters most but the wellbeing of the people diagnosed with personality disorders.
The inclusion of personality disorders in the DSM provides literature which would be a good reference point for clinicians, researchers and pharmaceutical companies. Therefore, the DSM catalyzes accurate diagnosis, which eventually leads to the right treatment. Consequently, the efforts made to classify personality disorders should be encourage instead of criticizing them.
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