Pressing Issues in Personality Disorders


What are the cultural psychiatry perspectives on personality disorders? Don't miss this APA session!

personality disorder



Psychiatric Times editorial board member Renato Alarcón, MD, MPH, will be presenting a session, “Culture and Personality Disorders: Social, Diagnostic, and Therapeutic Perspectives,” at the 2024 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting in New York, NY. He sat down with Psychiatric Times ahead of the conference to share a little about his session and the importance of cultural influences on personality disorders.

You can attend his session on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 8AM EST in Rooms 1A01-1A02 in the Javits Center.

PT: What clinical pearls do you hope Psychiatric Times readers will gain by attending your session?

Renato Alarcón, MD: The clinical psychiatry focus on personality disorders (PDs) is complex and fascinating. In this presentation, the challenges and accomplishments of cultural psychiatry perspectives on several study areas of PDs will be examined, in an attempt to contribute to a more explicit understanding. The socio-cultural perspectives about personality in general vary according to geo-demographic, historical, ethnic, and even ecological factors. The main objectives of the lecture include their social/community impact—underestimated for a very long time—and the distinction between cultural features that are many times erroneously considered symptoms and, therefore, wrongly managed. It is important to recognize that culture and cultural factors are also important factors in treatment approaches and must be considered essential in the training of future psychotherapists.

PT: What role do cultural influences play in the presentation and diagnosis of personality disorders? Does culture play a larger role in personality disorders vs other psychiatric diagnoses?

Alarcón: The diagnosis of PDs entails complex debates about their mere existence, definitions, levels, and conditions of their acceptance or rejection. These areas are complicated, not only by the categorical vs dimensional diagnostic approaches dominating the clinical and academic literature, but also by the cultural considerations that determine the delineation of normal vs abnormal personalities, clinical labeling, typologies, and issues related to discrimination, stigmatization, tolerance, resilience, and many others features of cultural facture. Closely associated to its main defining features are the concepts of identity (individual or personal vs group-based or collective), and otherness or the consideration of different human beings, those external to us and located beyond our own perceptual reality. Needless to say, these considerations establish the bases of normality vs abnormality in the clinical consideration of personality, and the distinction between "myself" and "the other" with all its positive and negative implications.

PT: What are the most pressing issues related to personality disorders?

Alarcón: Epidemiological, clinical, and preventive approaches to PDs undoubtedly vary. The cultural perspectives on the management and treatment of PDs encompass, mainly, a complex set of psychotherapeutic schools of thought, each with its own ontological rules, terminologies, objectives, emphases, techniques, assessment, and results. Needless to say, a lot of research efforts are still urgently needed.

PT: What are you excited about at the 2024 APA Annual Meeting?

Alarcón: The consideration of a new psychiatry, a truly broad and comprehensive discipline that harmoniously combines its humanistic essence and a solid scientific focus. This is perceived throughout the Annual Meeting, together with the examination of clinical, educational, and research issues aimed at increasing the number of specialists, the definite establishment and work of multidisciplinary management teams, a genuine community-oriented, diversity-nourished philosophy, and support to serious projects in different research areas.

PT: Thank you!

Check out all our conference coverage of the 2024 APA Annual Meeting here!

Dr Alarcón is Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota; Honorio Delgado Chair at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Perú; and an Editorial Board Member of Psychiatric Times®.

Related Videos
brain depression
nicotine use
brain schizophrenia
eating disorder brain
virtual conference
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.