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Psychological Disturbances: Known as Personality Disorders

Theodore Millon (1999, March) describes personality disorders as "psychological and biological traits and dispositions that are often lifelong and pervasive, continuing relatively unchanged from childhood on and affecting a person's behavior, mood, and self-image in many situations" (p. 1). These traits and dispositions cause the individual to react and behave in ways that are culturally unacceptable and lead to distress and dysfunction in social and occupational situations. Ian J. Deary and his colleagues (1998, November) describe personality disorders as "long-standing, usually maladaptive, features of the person's behavior" (p. 647). The single most important feature is that the symptoms of personality disorders are always present. They do not go away in certain circumstances or over time.

Experts disagree about the number of people suffering from personality disorders, but some estimate that as many as 10 percent of the population is diagnosable (Hueston, 1996, January, p. 54); estimates range from 2 to 13 percent of the general population (Marlowe, 1997, July 19, p. 176). This includes individuals with mild symptoms, as well as those for whom these disorders completely dominate their lives. Clare Dyer (1999, July 24) notes, "Psychiatrists consider that most people with severe personality disorders are not treatable" (p. 210), while Steve Kisely (1999, Ma


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