chapter  1
5 Pages

Introduction

ByDES McVEY AND NAOMI MURPHY

Personality disorder is a mental health condition that generates significant distress for the people who have the condition and also for those who are involved with them whether personally or professionally. It is also a condition that generates controversy. Classification and diagnosis of the condition remain areas of intense academic debate, as does whether or not this condition is treatable. Despite these disagreements, there is agreement that a significant percentage of the world’s population present with maladaptive cognitions, behaviours and emotional states in attempts to manage their world and their interpersonal relationships, which result in them being diagnosed as personality disordered. Their use of maladaptive coping strategies means that people with this diagnosis are disproportionately involved with the criminal justice system and/or mental health services. People with such maladaptive coping strategies are also significantly represented in areas of life that require skill or creativity. This can be evidenced through the many talented musicians, actors and athletes featured in the media who present with self-destructive interpersonal relationships and lifestyles. It could be credibly argued that these artists express their distress through the creativity of their art or performance.