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Personality and Illness 

Personality and Illness
Personality and Illness
Mayo Clinic Neurology Board Review

Brian A. Palmer


A personality disorder (PD), as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth Edition) (DSM-V), is “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time, and leads to distress or impairment.” The PDs are divided into 3 clusters by their descriptive similarities. Cluster A reflects odd or eccentric character structure; Cluster B reflects dramatic, emotional, or erratic character structure; and Cluster C reflects anxious or fearful character structure. Further details on diagnosis, etiology, and treatment issues follow. Accurate identification and optimal treatment of PDs can help improve outcomes of other psychiatric and medical illness.

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