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Personality disorders: new data vs. old concepts


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

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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 vs. 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 (DSPD) by the UK government, for prevention and treatment purposes.


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’.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Fountoulakis, K., Kaprinis, G. Personality disorders: new data vs. old concepts. Ann Gen Psychiatry 7 (Suppl 1), S286 (2008).

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