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The Spectrum Of The Societal Effects Of Personality Disorders And Mental Illnesses

1311 words - 6 pages

Personality disorders and mental illnesses are viewed by the general public as similar attributes that are equally harmful. However, when one delves into the diagnostics and patterns of the individual disorders and illnesses, it can be seen that there are major differences between each one. There are many levels of severity of the effects each disorder or illness has on society as a whole. They range from affecting only the individual on a solely personal basis to affecting a large amount of people on a highly violent level. Generally, it is found that mental illnesses have an influence on an individual level while personality disorders have an influence on a widespread level. As in every medical topic, there are outliers, or cases that are far outside the expected outcome, but for the most part, illnesses have less far reaching effects than disorders. On the spectrum of the societal effects of personality disorders and mental illnesses, the obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is actually a mental illness, is on the lowest level in terms of widespread consequences; just above this illness is schizophrenia which has the ability to affect more than the individual unless treated; the narcissistic disorder has farther reaching effects in society, such as in bureaucratic situations, than the two previously mentioned illnesses, placing it higher on the spectrum, and last, but not least, the schizoid personality disorder has proven to have the most wide spread consequences in the form of both emotional trauma and violence allocating it the highest level.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is placed on the lowest level of spectrum of the effects of personality disorders and mental illnesses. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, OCD, is a series of mental choices that the affected person performs in order to avoid an imagined distressful situation; however, the act will in no way help them avoid that of which they are so concerned (DSM 670). These actions are repeatedly excessively to the point where they disrupt normal daily functioning. Common obsessions include avoiding contamination, losing control, or obtaining perfection. The compulsions that coincide with these obsessions are actions such as washing hands unreasonably often, constantly taking a mental check that harm has not or will not occur to oneself or others, and repeating actions or redoing work until it “feels right” (Bell). The redundant nature of the illness is not only time-consuming, but it is also mentally exhausting. The repetition of the action only temporarily relives the person from the anxiety associated with the stressing situation. Once the activity has been accomplished, it must be done over again in order to prevent the next wave of anxiety. The never ending focus on these routine tasks becomes mentally incapacitating. OCD is mentally crippling to the individual in that they are unable to focus on the often more important assignment at hand. This mental illness has acute...

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