Clinical features

Clinical features of personality disorders and details of their classification are reviewed in Chapte^,.4,12,2. and Ch.a.pteI,4.,!2.,3. However, there is difficulty in simply relating these criteria, which were developed for younger individuals, to the elderly. Typical diagnostic behaviours that clinicians associate with personality disorders in younger adults may present as different behaviours in the elderly. This may lead clinicians to overlook personality traits and disorders in older individuals. For example, a criterion of antisocial personality disorder is the repeated failure to sustain consistent work, a behaviour not applicable to the older retired individual. Yet it is possible that the personality trait of irresponsibility, which may have led to the loss of jobs earlier in life, continues, now appearing as a behaviour such as medicine non-compliance. Some authors have thus argued that the clinical features for some personality disorders are age-biased since certain behaviours are less likely to occur in elderly persons despite the persistence of personality traits. (23)

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