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Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Sujata Iyer Jul 30, 2020
Heard the term personality disorder not otherwise specified, but never really understood what it means? Well, let's see if this story can help you out with that.
The human mind is full of twists and turns, some of them harmless and some of them quite dangerous, not only for the person himself, but also for the people around him. Psychology studies the human mind and has been quite successful in deciphering many mental conditions and helping to make sufferers' lives easier.
Diagnosing someone with a mental illness, especially one like a personality disorder, is something that needs a lot of practice, experience and an immense knowledge of not only the disease, but also of the person's 'personality'. And most times, experts are bang-on when they diagnose people with certain personality disorders.
However, there is always a catch, a tiny glitch that befuddles even the brightest of minds. In case of psychologists and psychiatrists, it is a Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified or Personality Disorder-NOS or simply PDNOS. Just reading the name must have given rise to a lot of questions in your head. Let's read ahead to understand it better.

What is a Personality Disorder?

In order to understand what a Personality Disorder-NOS is, get acquainted with what a personality disorder is. A person is said to be suffering from a personality disorder if he exhibits behavior that tends to interfere with his ability to lead a normal and functional life in society. These symptoms can be divided into mood and behavior symptoms. 
His mood includes how he appears to be, what he believes in and how his experiences make him react. His behavior is whether he is aggressive, or silent or menacing or has a loud and strong disposition, etc. People with a personality disorder are seen to have trouble with emotions, relationships, behavior, etc.
Because he cannot function in a normal society, and has a view and temperament that is not in sync with the general society, his personality is affected and he can become a threat to himself and the people around him.

What is a Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

There are many types of personality disorders which affect people, each with different symptoms and treatment options. However, sometimes it also happens that when a person is in the process of being diagnosed with a particular personality disorder, it is noticed that he exhibits symptoms of more than one personality disorder. 
This symptomatic behavior can be diagnosed if he has all the symptoms of more than one particular personality disorder. However, he exhibits a few symptoms of one personality disorder, and a few of another personality disorder as well.
For instance, he exhibits symptoms like absolute perfectionism which can lean towards an obsessive compulsive disorder, and at the same time also exhibit symptoms like extreme paranoia which may indicate a paranoid personality disorder. He may or may not exhibit any other symptomatic behavior of these disorders.
This leaves the psychiatrist in a confusion of what to diagnose him with. Hence, the American Psychiatrist Association, in their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM) IV have made a provision for diagnosing such patients with a PDNOS.
This means the patient shows symptoms of a personality disorder, or a combination of more than one, but not all symptoms of said disorders, and hence cannot be diagnosed with either of them. So, a third category is made altogether and the patients are placed in it. There are parameters, the person must fulfill to be categorized under the PDNOS tag though.
He must be diagnosed with a personality disorder in the general meaning of the term. Plus, his functional behavior in society must be impaired in the sense that he must have difficulty in making and maintaining relationships, dealing with people, may be physically violent with himself and may pose a threat to people around him, and other such criteria.
The causes of a PDNOS cannot be pinpointed, but they are generally accepted to be the same as those for other personality disorders. Emotional turbulence during childhood, sexual or physical abuse, genetic problems, etc. can lead to somatogenic disorders which is one of the leading symptoms of a PDNOS.
Treatment options are decided by the consulting psychiatrist and generally revolve around the treating of each individual personality disorder.
So, now the idea of a PDNOS must be a little clearer than when you began reading this write-up. If you know of someone who may be suffering from any kind of personality disorder, get help for them before it's too late.