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Personality disorders: new data versus old concepts

Fountoulakis, Konstantinos N; Kaprinis, George S

Current Opinion in Psychiatry: January 2006 - Volume 19 - Issue 1 - p 90–94
Personality disorders and neuroses

Purpose of review: The purpose of this paper is to review the most recent literature on personality disorders.

Recent findings: Recent data suggest that individual personality disorder criteria and full diagnosis may remit within 1–2 years. The same line of evidence disputes the separation of axis I and axis II disorders and suggests the presence of a continuum. Neuropsychological, neurobiological and genetic studies favor the presence of cognitive disorders and a non-specific mode of hereditability concerning all externalizing disorders. How to best treat personality disorders remains elusive. The most impressive news in the forensic field concerns the introduction of a new concept, dangerous and severe personality disorder by the UK government, for prevention and treatment purposes.

Summary: The most recent data do not adequately support a separate axis II. Future classification may need to move personality disorders to axis I, each under a suitable group of diseases and eliminate the very term ‘personality’ from the nomenclature, since it constitutes an empirically unsupported theoretical invasion in a system supposed to be ‘atheoretical’.

Department of Psychiatry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

Correspondence to Konstantinos N. Fountoulakis, 53 Chrysostomou Smyrnis Street, 55132 Aretsou, Thessaloniki, Greece Tel: +30 2310 435702; e-mail:

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.