When Personality Disorders Cause Problems in Family Law | Texas Lawyer -

What You Need to Know

  • Personality disorders are chronic ways of thinking and behaving that cause significant problems but are not as serious as psychoses.
  • Why should lawyers care about this? Because they show up in our cases, clients, opposing counsel and their clients, and courts.
  • A helpful resource for family lawyers is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Connections with trusted mental health advisers are essential.

According to psychiatrists, personality disorders are psychological disorders that fall somewhere between neuroses and psychoses. Many of us so-called “normal” folks have experienced neuroses, such as mild anxiety or depression or various phobias, which may be limited in time or severity and do not prevent us from managing our lives. Psychoses, on the other hand, are very extreme psychological conditions such as schizophrenia or severe depression, which do cause major disruption in the lives of the sufferers and those around them.

Personality disorders are chronic ways of thinking and behaving that cause significant problems but are not as serious as psychoses. It is clear that lawyers are not qualified to diagnose personality disorders but we can certainly identify behaviors that are commonly associated with personality disorders. People with personality disorders often think there is nothing wrong with them. They believe any difficulties they encounter are caused by others. Others carry full blame for every ill that befalls them. When  they don’t seek treatment, people with personality disorders may encounter family lawyers more frequently than therapists. They wind up in divorce court because their behavior becomes intolerable.

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