An integrative model and dynamic nosology of personality disorder: Part 2: Symptom-based pharmacotherapy

Dragan Svrakic, Mirjana Divac-Jovanovic, Naazia Azhar

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This paper presents an integrative model of personality and personality disorder which incorporates psychoanalytic concepts with modern neuroscience. In addition, a dynamic, personalized, and context - and time-sensitive diagnosis of personality disorder is introduced. The authors cogently argue that all clinical variants of personality disorder share the same common deficit: fragmented basic units of experience at the nonconscious core of the mind (aka “partial object relations”). The fragmentation propagates through mental faculties (thought, motivation, emotion), as they self-organize into subsystems of personality, e.g., one’s sense of self, identity, character, moral values, rendering them polarized into extreme and thus adaptively suboptimal. The syndrome of personality disorder arises as a nonconscious compensatory maneuver of the fragmented mind to organize itself through a defensive but unrealistic self-image (e.g., narcissistic, schizoid, antisocial, etc.), giving rise to a host of unique symptoms. Symptomatic pharmacotherapy of personality disorder is best organized around four empirically derived domains of symptoms, shared by all variants to a variable degree: i) mood and anxiety dysregulation; ii) impulsivity, aggression, and behavior dyscontrol; iii) emotional disinterest and detachment; and iv) cognitive distortions and brief reactive psychoses. Pharmacotherapy targeting the above domains is nonspecific, as medications affect multiple domains simultaneously. Modest empirical evidence and considerable clinical benefits continue to support the use of medications in the overall symptomatic treatment of personality disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2-17
Number of pages16
JournalPsychiatria Danubina
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019


  • Character
  • Integrative model
  • Personality disorder
  • Pharmacotherapy
  • Temperament


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