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Personality Disorder and the Workplace

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The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines a personality disorder as an “enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual’s culture, is pervasive and inflexible, has an onset in adolescence or early adulthood, is stable over time and leads to distress or impairment”. Cavaiola and Lavender (2000) describe personality disorders as a “special group of psychological disorders of which the general public and most workplaces are generally unaware”. These are potentially more destructive, they say, because they are generally difficult for the layperson to identify, and undoubtedly even more difficult to deal with in the work environment. Personality disorders are long standing disturbances in personality that usually begin in adolescence and continue through adulthood. The authors describe how these behaviorally affected individuals manifest in the workplace with repetitive patterns of dysfunctional behaviors that are disturbing and often destructive. The DSM-5 describes eleven types of personality disorders plus a category of “other”: • Paranoid

• Schizoid

• Schizotypal

• Antisocial

• Borderline

• Histrionic

• Narcissistic

• Avoidant

• Dependent

• Obsessive Compulsive

• Personality change due to another medical condition

• Other and unspecified

This essay will focus on disorder one through ten but will not discuss eleven and twelve.

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