For the new DSM’s consideration: “Pathologizing Personality Disorder.”

DSMs%201 4 - For the new DSM's consideration: "Pathologizing Personality Disorder."
Photo by Steve Balt

Proposed diagnostic criteria for a new mental disorder for potential inclusion in the next version of the DSM:

309.XX Pathologizing Personality Disorder

A.  Marked tendency to see other people’s behavior as disordered and/or disturbing.

B.  Presence of at least four of the following:
(1) history of studying psychiatry and/or participating in psychiatric circles
(2) feelings of grandiosity, such as the irrational belief that one’s own assessments of another’s behavior are more accurate and useful than those of the person being assessed
(3) excessive tendency to dehistoricize knowledge and the ensuing irrational belief that one’s current cultural context applies to all times, places, and societies
(4) excessive preoccupation with name calling and other essentialist diagnostic practices rooted in the misconception that adjectival descriptions are indeed inner maladies
(5) recurrent inability to conceptualize problems without referring to a diagnostic manual
(6) anxiety when all human behavior is not reduced to mechanistic theories of internal dysfunction
(7) inclusion on more than two health maintenance organization provider lists
(8) unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control diagnostic manual use

C.  A great deal of time is spent in activities related to diagnostic labeling (e.g., buying diagnostic manual related books, persistent efforts to devise diagnostic manual-based assessment devices, developing new or revising current diagnostic criteria, fantasizing about joining a diagnostic manual-revision task force).

D.  Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of diagnostic manual use (e.g., would rather read diagnostic manual than great literature, prefers psychiatric conferences to art museums or theater performances, fails to effectively help clients because can only conceptualize their problems using diagnostic classification).

E.  Diagnostic manual use is continued despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical, social, occupational, or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by diagnostic manual use (e.g., recurrent arguments with peers over inter-rater reliability; marital difficulties due to diagnosing one’s significant other; feelings of abandonment in family members, friends, and colleagues after they have been diagnosed repeatedly; failure to receive insurance reimbursements).

F.  The symptoms cause distress or impairment in social, occupational or another important area of functioning.

G.  The symptoms are not better accounted for by Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Narcissistic Personality Disorder


Acute: symptoms last for a minimum of two days but no longer than three months or one semester in a graduate psychopathology class.

Chronic: symptoms persist for a minimum of six months and/or the patient is a practicing clinician.

Jonathan Raskin