Mental health has gained momentum in recent decades, and people have become more knowledgeable about diverse issues and ways to treat them. The negative effects on people’s social life and even physical states have been acknowledged as well (Ekselius, 2018). For instance, the mortality rate among people with mental health problems is higher as compared to those without such health concerns. Comorbidity is quite common due to these people’s inappropriate behavioral patterns. For example, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, HIV/AIDS are rather common in this population (Ekselius, 2018). Substance abuse and suicidal ideation are also frequent among people with personality disorders. At the same time, some traits typical of certain personality disorders may have a positive effect on people’s life.
The benefits of these traits are mainly associated with the social functioning of people with personality disorders. Clearly, severe health issues can hardly compensate for the negative effects, but some traits and mild or moderate dysfunctions can be characterized by some beneficial aspects. For instance, social motivation can be positively affected by such traits as detachment or higher levels of the antagonism (Zeigler-Hill & Hobbs, 2017). Such people try to gain social status that is instrumental in gaining dominance, which is an important goal for them. It is noteworthy that the methods these people use may be rather questionable (but it is not always the case), but they tend to be high achievers. They can be good leaders as well motivating people to perform better to gain a particular status.
Another illustration of the potentially favorable influence of personality disorders on people’s social spheres is the case of obsessive-compulsive disorders. This health status is associated with such traits as workaholism, punctilious, and perfectionism, among others (Crego & Widiger, 2021). If the level of these conditions is not excessively high, they can be helpful in the professional terrain. Workaholics often become high achievers and go up the professional ladder, which has a desirable effect on other aspects of these people’s lives (including but not confined to financial stability and better health care). Being punctual is also a positive trait if it does not ruin a person’s life. In many cases, people with neuroticism can be really charming and have numerous friends. They can develop proper relationships with many people, which is, by all means, favorable (Crego & Widiger, 2021). Narcissistic people are often ambitious and self-motivated, which helps them succeed in their professional spheres. They can be good leaders as well and develop effective social links.
Therefore, it is possible to note that some traits of certain personality disorders can even have a positive impact on people’s social life. Some of these traits help people be effective leaders or people with a wide range of social links. In the modern world, these outcomes are beneficial for a person, so personality disorders may be associated with significant benefits for people’s social life. Clearly, this cannot be the case if people display aggression or some extreme behavioral patterns, as well as any behaviors that are regarded as unacceptable in this or that community.
Personality Disorders and Crime
Personality is an individual’s unique way of thinking and feeling, developing relationships and behaving. All people are different as the traits they have are displayed in a specific manner. For example, some individuals can have extraversion features with the elements of neuroticism. Others may be introverted to a considerable extent but still agreeable and open. At that, in some cases, certain traits are exhibited excessively, which has a negative impact on people’s lives. Personality disorders (PDs) have been explored for decades with the use of diverse approaches. PDs can be referred to as “stable and inflexible patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaviour that are associated with significant distress and/or dysfunction” (Hopwood, 2018, p. 500). Clearly, trying to do tasks properly is a good trait, but being unwilling to submit the document due to the wrong tinge of the font is a symptom of an anankastic personality disorder. In the former case, a person is a high-achiever and successful employee. However, in the latter case, the person is likely to lag behind and make the entire team fail due to untimely decision making.
Moreover, such abnormalities are often associated with deviant behaviors, which may result in serious legal issues. Moore et al. (2019) have reported that people diagnosed with a PD are at four to five times increased risk of committing crime compared to people without PDs. Substance use is a common problem that enhances the negative effects of PDs. The debate regarding the degree of responsibility to be expected from these people is still ongoing (Fakhrzadegan et al., 2017). Some note that any crime should be punished irrespective of any health issues as the person makes the corresponding decision, so this individual must be accountable for it.
Others argue that some traits or some personality disorders, as well as various mental health issues, make people act in certain ways without or even despite their will. Only severe mental health issues, such as schizophrenia or similar conditions, are seen as the only premise for choosing treatment rather than punishment typical of other convicted without any mental health abnormalities. Thus, people insist on the institutionalization of such offenders, and the difference lies in the place to be used (a prison or asylum). Of course, the truth is, as always, somewhere in the middle. Modern science has equipped people with diverse technologies and methods to identify whether the person made a conscious choice or was unable to control anything. It is critical to determine the seriousness of the offender’s condition before deciding on the right punishment.
Clearly, mild personality disorders can be treated and can hardly lead to unconscious decisions and actions. Moreover, people with such deviations often seek treatment and successfully address their health issues. Importantly, the person must be accountable for all types of behaviors as all the cases can and should be treated. In some cases, people (especially those with narcissistic traits) may be unaware of the need to address a specialist or (which happens even more often) refuse to seek treatment. Such situations should be associated with a conscious choice a person makes, so this individual should be accountable for it. For example, if a female displays aggressive behaviors (for instance, being verbally or physically abusive with people), she must try to control her temper. Every adult understands the scope of norms and accepted actions in the community he or she lives in. Therefore, every individual has to comply with the existing rules.
Moreover, various opportunities for people with mental health issues exist. A lot of information is provided through the media (television, print media, and the Internet) or the educational and healthcare systems. It is almost impossible for a person living in the western world to be unaware of mental health issues and associated aspects. Even if some people are too fixed on themselves (such as narcissistic people), they live in a society with set norms and rules. So, as mentioned above, they are absolutely accountable for their actions and understand the outcomes of the behaviors.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that personality disorders can be an extenuating circumstance in a limited number of cases. These can be severe conditions that result in a person’s completely dysfunctional behavior. However, in all other cases, people with PDS are responsible for their actions, and they are responsible for taking the corresponding steps to improve their behavioral patterns, making them socially acceptable. If a person wants to live in a community, this individual has to follow the existing rules, and it is each adult’s responsibility to ensure such adherence.
Personality Disorders and Gender
Although personality traits or rather a set of these features in each person is unique, certain similarities have been identified in some groups based on gender or socioeconomic factors. It is noteworthy that gender was seen as one of the central aspects defining people’s traits in most part of the twentieth century. It was largely accepted that females were mainly hysterical and indecisive, while males were (or rather had to be) confident and even abusive (Hammond, 2021). These culture-based biases were questioned, and some studies were conducted on the matter. At that, in most cases, researchers received expected results, and it was not until the 1980s when people questioned the methodology used in those studies (Hammond, 2021). It was found that practitioners were likely to diagnose certain personality disorders based on the patient’s gender. Researchers were biased when diagnosing and even developing tests and questionnaires that were often grounded on rather stereotypical representations of males and females. At the same time, some differences between genders have been acknowledged as well.
First, it is necessary to note that it can be hard to remain unbiased for researchers as they have been raised in a specific socio-cultural environment, which cannot pass without a trace. For instance, even the terms linked to some personality traits and disorders are inspired by gender-specific concepts (Colins et al., 2017). Narcissism is the term borrowed from an Ancient Greek myth where a male loved himself too much. The traits related to this personality disorder are mainly associated with males, which may have been the reason for such a choice. These days, the very term can be associated with a certain degree of bias in practitioners who would consciously or unconsciously have the idea of the masculine nature of certain traits when making such diagnoses. Thus, researchers, practitioners, and patients are all unfree of bias, which affects their diagnoses and treatment plans.
Patients may also concentrate on the symptoms that are gender assigned while ignoring other manifestations of their disorder. Importantly, if some masculine, so-to-speak, features are exhibited in a female, this woman is often judged. In simple terms, people are ready to accept some gender-related traits and disorders in the corresponding sexes, but the situation when traits and the patient’s gender do not coincide is often associated with disapproval.
At that, researchers and practitioners note that certain differences do exist. For example, aggressive behavioral patterns are more likely to appear in males (Hammond, 2021). Emotionality and associated disorders are more common in women, but these differences are not dramatic. Clinicians trying to remain unbiased still notice some prevalence of feminine traits in females, while personality traits and disorders attributed to men are more frequent in males.
It is important to note that personality traits have been affected by people’s neural circuits functioning and other neural peculiarities. In simple terms, the structure and functions of the brain in males and females slightly differ in some aspects, which can be related to their behaviors. It has been found that certain sex chromosomes have an impact on brain and personality traits (Ekselius, 2018). However, the major focus of scientists has been on borderline disorders, so numerous gaps in the domain of the relationship between genetic peculiarities, neural characteristics, and personality development are yet to be addressed.
Of course, external factors cannot be ignored as personality development is largely affected by people’s environment. Thus, gender-determined traits can hardly be a reality, but it is possible to consider some predisposition of certain genders to develop particular personalities and personality disorders. A myriad of external and internal, minor and major factors has an influence on the development of personality, so gender cannot play a defining role in this process.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that although there may be some gender-based peculiarities of personality or personality disorders. Some traits are more typical of some gender, but they are also apparent in the representative of the other gender. One of the major challenges related to the research and practice is associated with persistent bias. Practitioners and researchers still use the methodology that is gender-biased, which leads to certain limitations. On having considered this aspect, it is possible to note that more research on this topic is needed. It is clear that various factors have an impact of people’s personality traits, and it is still unclear which ones play the central role. It is likely that gender is one of the least influential factors.
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