Before a mental disorder consolidates in the subject, a series of indicators usually appear that respond to this situation. it’s like the antechamber of the disorder, known as premorbid personality.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the concept of premorbid personality, see why it’s important in mental health, and provide some insight into how premorbid personality can appear before a mental disorder presents itself.
What is the premorbid personality?
This term is used in psychological and psychiatric slang to denote one-off changes and signs that people may have before they have a severe mental disorder.
Sudden personality changes, among other point indicators of a person’s behavior, can be taken into account as premorbid personality indicators.
These behaviors are variable, depending on the personality characteristics of the subject. When a mental disorder begins to develop in a person, there are several factors that impact the person’s progress in some way.
For example, in neurosis and psychosis inhabit a large number of underlying mental disorders. Each has its individual characteristics and whether one of these disorders is established in a subject will depend on his environment and his personal characteristics.
How does this manifest itself?
Because not everyone is the same, not all mental illnesses are the same. Each of these pathologies develops differently in the minds of individuals, it is from these individual and social differences that the behaviors of the premorbid personality come.
Thus, the premorbid personality does not exhibit a number of common defining characteristics beyond the fact that it is a change in the way the person behaves, which it tends to produce non-normative behaviors, And which precedes the typical symptoms of an already developed mental disorder. Depending on the type of mental disorder or psychiatric illness, the premorbid personality will be one way or another.
Its importance in mental health
This concept is particularly important in the field of mental health because it represents a way to warn of the approach of risk for the subject who presents these atypical behaviors in his behavior.
It works as a natural warning system of the body which warns of possible psychotic or neurotic epidemics, everything will depend on the situation in each case. When these behaviors are identified in time, in many cases, the subject could be prevented from presenting the epidemic.
One can sometimes see as an example schizoid personality behavior and schizotypal disorder, which are generally an advance in the approach of a schizophrenic disorder in the subject.
It is important that the affected person and members of their immediate environment are able to identify these behaviors when they occur, since they can avoid further damage.
At first it was difficult to adapt to this system, but with an induction process by a behavior specialist and after a while the subject and his environment will take this situation as a natural thing and proper to their life. .
As long as the subject has a greater capacity to realize and internalize his reality (the capacity for insight), he will be less likely to present episodes or outbreaks of his disorder, because will be able to identify signs of their own behavior.
A difference should be made between when it is a controllable mental disorder and a chronic disorder, because in the first case the measures should be to avoid the episode as much as possible, while in the second case , measures should be taken with the intention of decrease deterioration and seek a better quality of life for the affected subject. For example, such measures should be considered in the case of Alzheimer’s disease.
The earlier the signs of irregular behavior inherent in Alzheimer’s disease are identified in the subject, the more the chances of an effective treatment increase that it prolongs its quality of life.
For example, longitudinal studies have shown through their results that patients with a certain type of dementia, who have been identified with the behavioral changes inherent in the symptoms of premorbid personality, are generally more collaborative as the disease progresses in them.
Although it is imminent that in the future they will present the pathology, it has been determined that the importance of detecting premorbid symptoms over time, it is important for the future of the subject and his family environment.
In conclusion, we can say that the premorbid personality is very important with regard to the prevention and channeling of mental disorders in all categories, Especially those which caused significant changes in the personality of the subjects.
The treatment of a pathology does not necessarily have to begin when it is already established in the subject; it is best to recognize the signs of behavior change and act as early as possible, without the disease developing.
The benefits will be seen in the medium and long term, depending on the various personal and social factors of the population.
- American Psychiatric Association, (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
- Rosenbloom MH, Smith S., Akdal G., Geschwind MD (2009). Immunologically mediated dementias. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep (review) 9 (5): 359-67.