A World of Bias

A World of Bias

According to a recent study, conducted by Gawda and Czubak, it was found that the prevalence rate for having at least one personality disorder (abbreviated PD) is approximately 9% for adults. Personality Disorders aren’t the most common mental disorders; however, they are one of the most important mental disorders to understand and advocate for. While England and America may be considered “worlds apart,” there is not much difference between the two countries when it comes to the way their social institutions and systems handle people suffering from PD.

An article written by Mark Easton explained that “[PD] is a medical disorder that cuts life expectancy by almost twenty years,… afflicts more people than cancer and costs the country [more than $13 billion] a year.” Easton demonstrates how staggering it can be living with such a challenging disorder.

In Easton’s article, he elaborates on the English prison systems and the effects it has on people with PD. Despite whether sufferers of PD are the offenders or not, the criminal justice system labels them with the diagnosis and treatment for PD. For a disease typically caused by early and severe trauma and stress, is it really best to have such a stressful institution give the diagnosis and treatment to sufferers? Easton claims that an estimated 70% of prisoners in the English prison system are sufferers of PD. With such a high population of PD sufferers in prison, it’s important that there is an effective treatment for sufferers so that their well-being can be maintained rather than having them regress into a potentially harmful state. Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is unable to provide services that are urgent and necessary to those suffering from such a disorder that it can make it arduous for them to continue living. In which case, putting off the necessary care for them can mean suicide, self-harm, or harm to others if it is not delivered on time, especially in such a stressful institution. However, England isn’t the only country with a social institution that struggles to support PD sufferers.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, sits the United States of America where the military faces similar issues as England’s prison systems. While some see the United States’ military as one of the strongest, little is known about what goes on on the inside of such a prideful occupation. Nicole Dawson was a senior airman in the Air Force before she was questionably discharged due to a Personality Disorder. While Dawson’s story is a disappointing and heartbreaking one to hear, it sheds light on the military system in America and PD.

Dawson was discharged from the Air Force for a misunderstood comment when she sought counseling while dealing with the death of a loved one. As Dawson explains her story, it is obvious to see that it is debatable whether Dawson was suffering from PD or not. However, the military utilizes these PD discharges in order to rid themselves of unwanted and doubtful service members quickly. Joshua Kors, the author of Nicole Dawson’s article, explains that PD is a pre-existing disorder, which permits the military to deny our country’s service members the services of disability and medical benefits that they deserve and may desperately need. While this hurts military service members struggling with PD, this saves the military a major amount of money in disability and medical benefits that are no longer going to these service members.

From the article regarding Nicole Dawson’s story in the United States military and the article discussing the English criminal justice system, it is simple to see the similarities between the two stories. Despite being an ocean apart, English and American social institutions and systems have a major problem when it comes to how they are handling people suffering from PD. Awareness needs to be made on how these institutions and systems are handling sufferers of PD and action, then, needs to be made on how to right these wrongs. In this case, we may be able to help support and ease the pain of those fighting to stay alive while struggling with a personality disorder.


Easton, M. (January 12, 2018). Personality disorder patients ‘let down’ by system. BBC News. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42647972

Gawda, B., & Czubak, K. (February 13, 2017). Prevalence of personality disorders in a general population among men and women [abstract]. Psychological Reports, 120(3), 503 519. Abstract retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0033294117692807

Kors, J. (January 6, 2018). Suffering from a ‘personality disorder’: How my promising military career was cut short by a dubious diagnosis. Huffington Post. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/suffering-from-a-personality-disorder-how-my-promising_us_5a5108bbe4b0cd114bdb33b5

Katelyn Gemelli

My high school psychology teacher and a course in abnormal psychology has helped me to discover a love for psychology and has made me strive to try to make a difference in the lives of those impacted by mental health. Furthermore, from volunteering as a Crisis Counselor for a crisis text-line, I have seen firsthand how challenging mental illnesses can be to live. My aim is that, over time and with the aid of The Humanology Project, people can get the help they need for their mental health/illnesses without fear or concern of judgement. A little about me includes my favorite place in the world being the Poconos Mountains, and that I have an unhealthy obsession with reading books, and Game of Thrones.


  1. Nicole Dawson says:

    Hello Katelyn,
    I know you wrote this article in February it i recently came acrossed it. I would love to share more information with you about PD discharges in the military. You would be supprised on the statistics.

    Nicole Dawson

  2. Captain Curtis A Hervey (retired) says:

    I am so sorry to hear about what Ms. Dawson and other Veterans are going through. I am currently in FTCA litigation as a Pro Se Party against the United States (can’t sue the VA directly) for a similar situation. Although I was able to have both “personality disorder” misdiagnoses cleared and redacted, the entire ordeal caused me to experience psychiatric decompensation. Now I’m pursing damages. My malpractice case is yet pending in the Kansas Federal District Court (19-4033-SAC-ADM). If the defendant (United States) is granted their Motion to Dismiss, my malpractice claim is done. But, there is always other ways we can get justice. For example, you can get a 2nd opinion to erase the first misdiagnosis. That’s what I did. You can also file an 1151 VA claim for aggravation of pre-existing conditions. Win or lose, I’m even going to file a civil lawsuit to pursue criminal charges against the VA physician (violated 18 USC 1001, 42 USC 12203, etc.). Veterans can also band together and file class action lawsuits against the Dept. of VA (just allowed). So be encouraged. You can win.

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