Clinical Utility of the DSM-5 Alternative Model of Personality Disorders: Six Cases from Practice

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Abstract

In Section III, Emerging Measures and Models, DSM-5 presents an Alternative Model of Personality Disorders, which is an empirically based model of personality pathology measured with the Level of Personality Functioning Scale (LPFS) and the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5). These novel instruments assess level of personality impairment and pathological traits. Objective. A number of studies have supported the psychometric qualities of the LPFS and the PID-5, but the utility of these instruments in clinical assessment and treatment has not been extensively evaluated. The goal of this study was to evaluate the clinical utility of this alternative model of personality disorders. Method. We administered the LPFS and the PID-5 to psychiatric outpatients diagnosed with personality disorders and other nonpsychotic disorders. The personality profiles of six characteristic patients were inspected (involving a comparison of presenting problems, history, and diagnoses) and used to formulate treatment considerations. We also considered 6 specific personality disorder types that could be derived from the profiles as defined in the DSM-5 Section III criteria. Results. Using the LPFS and PID-5, we were able to characterize the 6 cases in a meaningful and useful manner with regard to understanding and treatment of the individual patient and to match the cases with 6 relevant personality disorder types. Implications for ease of use, communication, and psychotherapy are discussed. Conclusion. Our evaluation generally supported the utility for clinical purposes of the Alternative Model for Personality Disorders in Section III of the DSM-5, although it also identified some areas for refinement. (Journal of Psychiatric Practice 2015;21:3–25)

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