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A Journal on Psychiatry, Psychology and Psychopharmacology

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Social Psychiatry
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Minerva Psichiatrica 2005 September;46(3):189-98

language: English

Personality disorders: updating problems and perspectives

Maffei C.


Personality disorders represent an area of increasing interest both for clinicians and researchers, indeed they are a puzzling diagnostic, therapeutic and social problem. The introduction of the axis II in the third version of the DSM has been undoubtedly useful to better define criteria and categories. However, it is now clear that a number of important problems are still open and unresolved. They concern both diagnostic and therapeutic aspects. Diagnostic criteria are clearly defined, but their usefulness is questionable; diagnostic reliability is better than in the past, however, it is not clear if diagnostic instruments are adequate, validity of diagnostic categories is unclear, efficacy is demonstrated for some kinds of treatment, however their specificity still remains unclear. Another problem is represented by the fact that few disorders have been widely investigated, and only for borderline personality disorder there is a large amount of scientific literature investigating all its aspects. In this paper the main problems are reviewed and possible solutions are presented, even if for many of them multiple solutions are possible and it is not clear what is the better. Undoubtedly, in the next future the whole field of personality disorders will change, and the DSM-V will show if the problems will be resolved, and in which way.

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