Special Article:

Mood temperaments

An alternative to personality disorders



Introduction

You’ve heard of dysthymia, but it’s not just a mild type of depression.  You’ve heard of cyclothymia, but how frequently do you diagnose it? You’ve probably never heard of hyperthymia. These are the mood temperaments, a class definition which in itself is an important point, unlike the DSM vague term of “disorders”, which doesn’t identify what kind of condition is present. In DSM-III and IV, dysthymia and cyclothymia were placed on “axis I”, not on axis II with the personality conditions, and thus most people do not make the connection that these are temperaments, i.e., part of personality.  They are not separate “disorders”  unrelated to personality. This always was the concept of dysthymia and cyclothymia dating back at least a century. 

In this article, we’ll review what these conditions mean, historically and scientifically, through the following sections:

  • Definitions
  • The original concept
  • Post-DSM-III
  • Clinical Implications
  • “Adult ADD”
  • Treatment
  • The PL Bottom Line

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