Letter: Diagnosis dilemma

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The Independent Culture
Diagnosis dilemma

Sir: I agree with the three correspondents who question the wisdom and practicability of the Government's proposals to lock up people who have committed no crime (letters, 22 July).

The "diagnosis" of personality disorder is not a diagnosis in the usual sense, but only a description of someone's behaviour. The term "anti- social personality disorder" is a way of describing people who do things considered anti-social or dangerous and tells us little more than that.

It is only one of a variety of "personality disorders", most of which are nothing to do with dangerousness, but an (arguably unhelpful) way of describing people who have been hurt, damaged or traumatised in various ways, often since early childhood.

ANNE COOKE

Chartered Clinical Psychologist

London WC1

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