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Mental disorder seen as 'badness, not sickness'

Many clinicians regard borderline personality disorder as untreatable trouble

12:45pm, August 14, 2013

NEW YORK CITY — Psychiatrists regularly get criticized for turning typical life problems into medical disorders. But in an odd reversal, many mental health clinicians are trying to transform one certified mental illness, borderline personality disorder, into a label for needy, manipulative people who don’t need treatment, a sociologist reported at the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting on August 11.

Patients with borderline personality disorder, unlike people with schizophrenia or other serious mental conditions, are often viewed by mental health providers as having cynically planned out rash acts and even suicide attempts, sociologist Sandra Sulzer of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found in extensive interviews with 22 psychiatrists and psychologists in the United States.

The condition includes difficulty controlling emotions, intense but unstable relationships, recklessness, cutting and other acts of self-harm, a

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