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Personality disorder

  • Peter Tyrer (a1)
Extract

It is now respectable to read about personality disorder. It was not always so. Despite the impossibility of practising psychiatry without being aware of the term and the subject matter it describes, it was not appropriate in good psychiatric circles to mention the subject unless presaged by a pause and pronounced with a mocking inflexion that indicated that the words were in parentheses: signposts to somewhere undesirable, usually somewhere in the jungle of forensic psychiatry (a subject about which I write very little in this piece, in an attempt ot redres the balance). I think the reason for this was that personality disorder had such a strong flavour of criticism that, even in a discipline in which stigma confronts us on every corner, its words were the ultimate derogatory label that, once attached, became virtually indelible. Or, as my Landcashire grandmother would say about all unsavoury topics, it was “not very nice and no one really wants to know.”. So research and writing on the subject became almost a samizdat topic, written about in code, discussed in quiet corners between professionals when they could not be overheard, or in proxy phrases such as ‘relationship difficulties’ or ‘patients who are difficult to place’ (Coid, 1991).

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References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Personality disorder

  • Peter Tyrer (a1)
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