split personality

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the characteristic way that a person thinks, feels, and behaves; the relatively stable and predictable part of a person's thought and behavior; it includes conscious attitudes, values, and styles as well as unconscious conflicts and defense mechanisms. Personality traits are simple features of normal and abnormal personalities. Personality types are categories applicable to both normal and abnormal personalities; usually they belong to a coherent typology, such as introvert/extrovert or oral/anal/phallic.
Early Life and Personality. The newborn comes into the world completely dependent on others for satisfying individual basic human needs. Feelings of security in a relationship with the mother, or an adequate substitute, is the cornerstone of mental health in later years.

As children develop, they need to learn and to meet the day-to-day problems of life, and to master them. In resolving these challenges, one chooses solutions from many possibilities. Psychologists have studied how these choices are made and use technical terms to describe them, such as repression and sublimation. The behavior patterns chosen result in certain character traits which will influence a child's way of meeting the world—whether the child will lead or follow, be conscientious or reckless, imitate his or her parents or prefer to be as different from them as possible, or take a realistic, flexible path between these extremes. The sum total of these traits represents the personality.
The Well-Adjusted Personality. A well-adjusted individual is one who adapts to surroundings. If adaptation is not possible, the individual makes realistic efforts to change the situation, using personal talents and abilities constructively and successfully. The well-adjusted person is realistic and able to face facts whether they are pleasant or unpleasant, and deals with them instead of merely worrying about them or denying them. Well-adjusted mature persons are independent. They form reasoned opinions and then act on them. They seek a reasonable amount of information and advice before making a decision, and once the decision is made, they are willing to face the consequences of it. They do not try to force others to make decisions for them. An ability to love others is typical of the well-adjusted individual. In addition, the mature well adjusted person is also able to enjoy receiving love and affection and can accept a reasonable dependence on others.
alternating personality multiple personality disorder.
cyclothymic personality a temperament characterized by rapid, frequent swings between sad and cheerful moods; see also cyclothymic disorder.
personality disorders a group of mental disorders characterized by enduring, inflexible, and maladaptive personality traits that deviate markedly from cultural expectations, pervade a broad range of situations, and are either a source of subjective distress or a cause of significant impairment in social, occupational, or other functioning. In general, they are difficult both to diagnose and to treat.

Although individuals with a personality disorder can function in day-to-day life, they are hampered both emotionally and psychologically by the maladaptive nature of their disorder, and their chances of forming good relationships and fulfilling their potentialities are poor. In spite of their problems, these patients refuse to acknowledge that anything is wrong and insist that it is the rest of the world that is out of step. Very often their behavior is extremely annoying to those around them.

Personality disorders result from unresolved conflicts, often dating back to childhood. To alleviate the anxiety and depression that accompany these conflicts, the ego uses defense mechanisms. Although defense mechanisms are not pathological in themselves, they become maladaptive in individuals with personality disorders.

The category includes: antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder. Distinguishing one disorder from another can be difficult because the various traits can occur in more than one disorder. For example, patients with borderline personality disorder and those with narcissistic personality disorder both may have a tendency to angry outbursts and may be hindered in forming interpersonal relationships because they often exploit, idealize, or devalue others. The symptoms of a personality disorder may also occur as features of another mental disorder. More than one personality disorder can exist in the same person.

Because patients refuse to admit that there is anything wrong, personality disorders are more difficult to treat than other mental disorders. However, a great deal can be done in many cases, if the therapist can break through a patient's defense mechanisms and help the patient resolve the underlying conflict.
double personality (dual personality) dissociative identity disorder.
hysterical personality former name for histrionic personality disorder.
multiple personality a dissociative disorder in which an individual adopts two or more personalities alternately. See multiple personality disorder.
split personality an obsolete term formerly used colloquially to refer to either schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

split personality

1. Multiple personality disorder. No longer in scientific use.
2. Schizophrenia. No longer in scientific use.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

split personality

A popular synonym for schizophrenia or multiple personality disorder. See Multiple personality disorder, Schizophrenia.
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

split personality

A rare condition in which the subject adopts, at different times, one of two or more distinct personas. The condition may be associated with EPILEPSY and there is often a history of abuse in childhood. It is not a feature of SCHIZOPHRENIA.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
What Jeff's story means is anybody's guess, despite a small smorgasbord of proffered possibilities (Jeff and his double are halves of a split personality; one is the other's "guardian angel"; one is the product of the other's fiction-infected imagination).
Britons are developing a split personality when it comes to money, with many thinking themselves as savers when they are actually borrowers, said IFA Promotion, which supports the work of independent financial advisers.
The project addresses its environment with a split personality.
Former Sudanese President Jaffar Numeiry once said that Qaddafi is "a man with a split personality -- both of them evil." As documented in these pages by renowned international analyst Hilaire du Berrier (see "The Moro-Qaddafi Connection" in our November 20, 2000 issue), the Libyan dictator is a key figure in devising and promoting the mixture of Marxism and radical Islam that has fueled the recent upsurge in terrorism throughout the Muslim world.
The Osaka District Public Prosecutors Office has arrested a woman on suspicion of selling drugs over the Internet, despite her claim that the ''male half'' of her split personality sold the drugs, prosecution sources said Friday.
Clearly, in matters of religion and irreligion the public mind has a bad case of split personality!
Having a split personality, schizophrenia, is not a splitting of the personality into multiple parts, not a Jekyll and Hyde phenomenon, despite the popular hold of the Robert Louis Stevenson story.
Washington State, one of my favorites even though no restaurant in the Greater Seattle area will admit my cousins, has a split personality. To the west, as in Seattle, you do have rain.
Did his split personality reflect genuine ambivalence rather than crass political pandering?
The trading activity of the past few months bears out the split personality of the market, as investors have pumped billions into the technology and biotechnology sectors and virtually shunned the more conservative stocks and mutual funds.
The work is known for its vivid portrayal of the psychopathology of a "split personality."
The characters are carefully molded of conflicting passions, which in <IR> NICK OF THE WOODS </IR> (1837) produce a hero with a split personality. Sheppard Lee (1836), published anonymously, is a colorful satire in which the hero, a New Jersey farmer, indulges in metempsychosis to explore the follies of contemporary life at all social levels.