Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

The Abnormal Personality

Monday, November 5, 2001.

A personality disorder is a developmental defect. It is an enduring and inflexible pattern of behavior that effects social and occupational functioning.

A personality disorder impacts the way the claimant perceives himself, events and others (cognition), his range, intensity, appropriateness, and lability of mood (affectivity) and it influences interpersonal functioning and impulse control.

Since ~50% of claimants may suffer from a personality disorder, knowing which disorder has influence over their behavior enables us to understand, predict and ideally control any inappropriate behaviors that arise.

Thus, if we know a patient is a (socially) avoidant personality, a paranoid personality, a dependent personality, a negativistic personality or an anti-social personality_or even an amalgam of several personality disorders_we are able to predict how the claimant will respond to the stressors and demands of his/her injury.

Conversely, if we do not have a formal measure of their personality functioning, we jump through hoops, trying to adjust our own behaviors to suit them_a process that is destined to failure.

The earlier we assess personality functioning, the sooner we have reasonable understanding and control over the injury management process.

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