What is Axis II?

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What is Axis II?

Axis II refers to a classification of psychiatric disorders as published by DSM or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  Through the American Psychiatric Association, various categories of psychiatric disorders are classified into five different axes or dimensions.  Axis II is the special category for various types of personality disorders including cases of mental retardation.

When talking about personality disorders, conditions that belong to Axis II typically exhibit so-called maladaptive traits.  These traits are considered very much different from the normal perception of people.  Personalities under Axis II are those that deviate significantly from what is accepted as a general rule.  The personality disorder may involve deviations in terms of cognition and learning or in terms of actual behavioural patterns.  In many cases, the characteristics of those under Axis II make the patients become unable to do basic and normal tasks rendering them dependent and disabled.

Axis II psychiatric disorders are further classified into different groups or clusters.  Cluster A disorders for example are those that are considered as eccentric and examples include paranoia and schizophrenia.  In paranoia, patients tend to have an unexplainable and very irrational sense of suspicion or mistrust to other people.  Schizophrenia meanwhile may involve some kind of detachment from social norms with some emotions being guarded and restricted.  Cluster B meanwhile includes those with emotional disturbances like anti-social, narcissistic, and histrionic personality traits.  Those diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder typically do not care about other people.  They basically do what they want and do not honor rules and guidelines.  Narcissists are those with bloated feelings of power and grandeur and they often lack empathy for others.  Histrionic personalities meanwhile always have the need for attention.  Cluster C of Axis II disorders include those with extreme fears and anxiety.  Being obsessive-compulsive for example is part of Cluster C.  Under this disorder, patients tend to be perfectionists and conform to rules in a rigid manner.

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