Need help breaking free from addiction?
1-888-993-3112
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Ad Info & Options

I Want A Personality Disorder

Question:

What does it mean when you want or DESIRE to have a mental disorder? It’s not that I seek attention but sometimes I wish I had a mental disorder. I spend most of my time searching for personality disorders to tag myself with. Is there something wrong with that?

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.
Answer:

Only you know your own mind and motives, but I can think of a few reasons why someone might want to have a diagnosis.

<

p>One reason might be that you are perhaps somehow ashamed of yourself and the way you behave, and would like to understand a reason why you might behave this way. Knowing why you act like you do might help make you more comfortable, or show you a way to undo it and act differently.

A related reason you might want a diagnosis is that having a diagnosis might help you avoid responsibility for being the way you are. If you are diagnosible, well, then it is because of the disorder, and you are excused to some extent. If you don’t qualify for a diagnosis, then the blame falls squarely on yourself (or so it would seem).

I don’t think this desire of yours for a diagnosis is all that terrible of a thing to do with your spare time, but I don’t think it is a helpful thing for you to be doing either. It seems to be misdirected energy put into an unproductive direction. Searching for a diagnosis like this doesn’t seem to help you get closer to identifying what is actually bothering you, and figuring out how to address and fix it.

If you want a diagnosis, go see a doctor. Any psychologist or psychiatrist can slap some labels on you (hopefully with some accuracy). But if you do this, agree to abide by what the doctor has to say. If the doctor says that you are in the normal range and not diagnosable, go with that. Don’t continue to look for something that doesn’t fit.

A perhaps better thing to do other than visit the doctor to extract a diagnosis, would be to visit the doctor to see how the doctor could help you address whatever issues are bothering you. This is a subtle distinction. It is not necessary that you have a diagnosis in order to benefit from good advice on how to better cope with your life. Keep in mind that a psychologist (or other qualified therapist) is likely to be in a better position to help you with this sort of coping-skills consultation than a psychiatrist.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists

Comments
  • maddison

    I am exactly the same as you, I do this all the time... I keep thinking I'm like a hypercondriac, although only with mental disorders.

  • Anonymous-1

    I suffer from ptsd and panic disorder, why would anyone WANT to be ill like this? It's not like it's cool or anything. I'm also a diagnosed hypochondriac and it almost ruined my marriage. Trust me a personality disorder or any disorder for that matter isn't something you WANT to have.

  • Sarah

    Hey there! You know what? I've been searching for someone with the same problem as me for ages. I don't think it even has a name. I know how hell-ish mental disorders can be, but I can't stop myself from trying new tactics to develop one. GRAR. I feel weird. Dx

    Was there anything that influenced you to feel this way? Have you heard many stories about mental problems that interested you? I have a craving for bizarre mental disorders. I think it can be caused by fascination as well as attention seeking. I find them extremely interesting. Or you crave for something interesting in life, because at the moment you're so totally and utterly bored with it that you think a mental disorder will let you see things differently to an "ordinary" person. I mean at least you'll have an interesting story to look back through. I can't deny, that's one of my problems too. You may also have a great appreciation for strangeness, and want people to say you in that way. In other words, you want to be unique. But you can wish to be unique with out wanting to draw attention and sympathy.

    Anyway, that's all I can really think of. Hope this helps!

    I AM SO GLAD I AM NOT ALONE AND I FOUND YOU. THIS IS DESTINY.

    Bye!

  • Anonymous-2

    Hey, I do this too! I absolutely have depression and anxiety, but I might have more. I think I have depersonalization and possibly schizophrenia. I don't know why, but I really want them as labels, though I would never cheat in any way to get them. It has to be real. Maybe it's because I do actually have a ton of disorders and thinking that normal life can be like this would be in itself a good cause for depression, so I seek a label to show that it's not actually normally that bad and that things can get better.

  • somebody

    its so weird i want one so badly its such a craving for me know, iv been feeling really down & then high for as far back as i can remember & bipolar disorder & anxiety disorder just basicaly explain how i am and how i live daily life, i have seen councelors for years now & only just resantly have i been refered to a phycologist ( sorry my spelling is extremely bad lOl ) but ever since i have searched for mental disorers i have wanted one sooooo soo soo badly u dont understand, im actully getting realy worked up about it now, and im now shaking aand everything n im feeling so irratable lOl it gets me sooo worked up and stressfull ! i got diagnosed with conduct disorder a few years back, but no body takes it seriously & i dont think most profesionals who work with me even know i have conduct disorder.. i just want to have something wrong with me & im obsessed with strangeness! there must be something wrong with me/us!!! & im determined to get diagnosed with something.. even if it means going to extreme length's

    i already self harm nearly all the time.

  • ;-)

    Sometimes I wish I was a sociopath. It sounds nice going through life with your brain and not you emotions never feeling - regret - not caring what people think.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: Sociopaths do have an easier time than "normal" folks in that since they are not terribly concerned about other people's welfare or opinion of them, they are freer to do as they please. On the other hand, they have a true impairment in their ability to form lasting and deep relationships. Human beings are social animals for a reason - there is survival mojo built into affiliating and forming committed relationships with others. Since sociopaths can never truely enter into such relationships, this survival benefit is lost to them. I don't think they experience it as loneliness per se, but it is something meaningful that they cannot know or appreciate. They can never simply relax into someone else's care and love. They may position themselves to be loved, but what is loved is not them (as they are unlikely to have shared themselves), but rather a projected facade calculated to keep the love coming. Like sharks, they must always keep moving - manipulating others to get what they want - to the bitter end.

  • Anonymous-3

    I research mental disorders too! I have been diagnosed with GAD and am on meds for that. The thing is, I get super pissed when I read about how self-harm, eating disorders, anxiety disorders, etc. are relatively common in teenagers and young adults. By these disorders being fairly common, it makes me less special and that means I get less attention. See that's where I differ from you. I want attention all the time and can't stand not having it. I crave attention and will do just about anything to get it. That's why I fake mental disorders half the time. My favorite was when I told my therapist that I drank my own blood. I know it's wrong and I don't want to take mental disorders lightly. But it's worth it for the few minutes of attention I may get. Glad to know I'm not alone w/the whole searching thing.

  • Anonymous-4

    oh my word you would not BELIEVE how happy i am to hear that im not the only one that does this too!!! this made my day seriously. i thought something was wrong with me, and maybe something is but still! i was reading the other comments and im very very relieved that others do this too. i have tried to diagnose myself with an eating disorder but i still eat normally. and i wish i was put in a mental hospital just to see what it was like. i guess part of wanting a mental disorder does have to do with thinking you need something interesting or different to happen in your life. i dont think i want one just for attention though. but yeah. im so grateful im not the only one anymore.

  • Alex(girl)

    Wow i honestly thought i was a freak for wanting a mental disorder. I think i almost have an obsessive behavior, i research disorders all the time. I try to find ways to induce a disorder. I still think it sounds f-ed up but im almost dissapointed im not the only one. I like to hang my freak flag alone

  • leah

    yeah im happy too that im not the only one... I think i might be a little schitzo.... Not 100% sure tho.. My family says im just lonley but i dont know lol

  • Abby

    Hmmm... I'm not sure how I feel about this.
    When I was first told I had Borderline traits (not old enough for a PD diagnosis yet) and that I had Panic Disorder, I was freaked out. I did everything in my power to prove to my therapist that I was not Borderline and I downplayed the panic attacks and anxiety. I now realize that as I get older, I still meet the BPD criteria and am now more truthful in therapy. I'm in a modified version of DBT and it is helpful. My therapist says I'm too emotionally dysregulated for the DBT skills to be fully effective, so now I am wondering if I should go on meds.
    I want the official BPD diagnosis when I do turn 18, though, particularly because all four therapists have mentioned it and three have said I will likely still meet the criteria a year from now anyway.
    My therapist mentioned depression to me the other day, and that also freaked me out. Again, I am telling half-truths to downplay depressive symptoms, but I will eventually come to terms with it and be honest.
    Being truly mentally ill is not fun. :(

  • BlackAndBlue

    I've exactly the same problem! I've also found out that there is something called factitious disorder which is creating false illnesses for attention, and then there's Munchausen Syndrome which is pretty similar I think... So there're two labels for us!

  • Anonymous-5

    Seriously, I think our desires for disorders mainly come from wanting to be unique, but what else can we do?

  • Anonymous-6

    I was wholly confused about wishing I had a personality disorder and was partially terrified about that. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one. For me, I think it stems from a fascination with personality disorders that is strong enough to make me wish I had one myself, though it probably wouldn't actually be good for me in any way, shape, or form.

  • jake

    Imglad there are others like me.

Close

Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.

Close

Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand