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  1. How can you tell?

    How can you, and by you I mean a doctor, tell if a person's behaviour is a result of a mental disorder or a personality disorder? The things listed in that post seem to be married to both types of affliction? So how can you tell?
    I am about to take this journey to wellness but I am afraid of what I am going to find out along the way. Also, in my current state, I am will be willing to believe whatever anyone says, if they are promising that if I believe what they say, I will be well, I will be happy and healthy, that I will feel sane.
    The funny (not so funny) thing is, I am afraid of both "declarations". If it is nature than the battle seems almost hopeless. If it is nuture, than the battle seems incredibly long as well as hopeless. I know I sound petulant right now, like a child, but I can't seem to help these thoughts?
    So I guess I am asking, how do you tell if its nature verses nuture, and how do I tell if what the doctor is saying is the "world according to Garp" as it were?

    Thanks for listening.

    M.J

  2. #2

    Mental disorder or personality disorder?

    "Mental disorder" and "mental illness" are not precise terms: They refer to symptom clusters or syndromes that are primarily psychological in nature and/or affect the brain, personality, or behavior in certain specified ways (to distinguish them from physical disorders like heart disease or virus infections).

    A "personality disorder", on the other hand, refers to a group of disorders defined as "an enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about oneself and the environment in ways that are maladaptive".

  3. Nature vs. Nuture

    So does that mean that to have a personality disorder is to suffer from one or more types of mental illness, which, by having them, allows for the undesired behaviour that fuels a personality disorder?

    M.J

  4. #4

    Mental disorder or personality disorder?

    That depends on the personality disorder and how one defines personality (one's theoretical beliefs about what constitutes personality, etc.).

    One can have what is called an Axis I disorder like major depression or an anxiety disorder or schizophrenia and also have a personality disorder (termed an Axis II disorder). Or one can also have either an Axis I disorder OR an Axis II disorder alone, without the other.

    One is not necessarily worse or better than the other. Rather, they are different types of problems, abd often are presumed to have different origins.

  5. Mental disorder or personality disorder?

    Well I suppose if I understood exactly what you are saying, I wouldn't need to seek the help of a professional would I? Thanks for trying to explain just the same. I supposed I am worried about starting this with anything in mind. What I mean to say is, I do not want to undermine the entire process by walking in there with false or uninformed beliefs. Does that make any sense? As I said, I am determined to get it right this time, and I want to discard anything, belief or idea, that is going to stand in the way og getting it right.
    One more question though, I should be going the route of psychotherapy rather than psychiatry yes? I mean if there is a difference in treatment methods, are those differences really going to affect the outcome for me?

    M.J

  6. #6

    Mental disorder or personality disorder?

    I don't know specifically what type of problem you are seeking help for, but I will say that many psychiatrists will take the approach of medication first and sometimes only. That is, at least in Canada, most psychiatrists by now do not really do psychotherapy. Psychologists, on the other hand, do not prescribe medication and focus more on assisting the client to learn techniques of self-management and self-control (for example, with depression or anxiety disorders) although they may also refer you to a physician for medications.

    I do realize that the issue of diagnosis can be confusing. It's usually more helpful, I think, to focus on the symptoms or problems you need help with and let the therapist worry about a diagnosis.

  7. Mental disorder or personality disorder?

    Makes sense. I just wanted to be sure I was going to the right place for that diagnosis. Thanks for your help. This is a crazy time for me and sometimes my mind isn't the clearest. Anyway, thanks.

    M.J

  8. #8

    Mental disorder or personality disorder?

    You're welcome. Good luck, MJ.

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