From time to time the press and the media advise us of the next great, ‘ticking time-bomb,’ about to cause a holocaust in our society. There has been variant-Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, Ebola, various avian influenzas, AIDS, cancers and many, many others. Let me say from the start that I certainly wouldn’t wish to minimise in any way the misery or devastation caused to anyone unfortunate enough to suffer from any of these conditions, or their families, but there is another group of disorders which profoundly affects millions of persons across the world, (especially the First World), which are hardly ever reported on and which are too-often ignored by the health professionals.
are the Personality Disorders.
there are several different types and sub-types of personality disorder, the behavioural
patterns they cause are typically disturbed, usually substantially so, and
often in several areas of the personality. They are nearly always associated
with considerable personal and social disruption for the sufferer, often
causing severe anxiety and depression. Personality disorders are inflexible and
people haven’t heard of these disorders and might be surprised to learn that
they account for between 40 and 60% of all mental health diagnoses – by far the
most common. Whilst there is likely a genetic predisposition, typically they can
be traced back to trauma or other profound difficulties in adolescence or
lies the problem: As society degrades and the family unit breaks down, and as the
number of dysfunctional parental relationships increases, so does the number of
children exposed to trauma, neglect and abuse. These are the individuals most likely
to develop personality disorders.
because psychological disorders in general, and personality disorders in
particular are difficult and expensive to treat, so cash-strapped health bodies
tend not to formally diagnose or even attempt to address them. They rely
instead on the sufferer, and their family and friends, coping as best they can,
perhaps prescribing anti-depressant medication. But because personality
disorders are psychological in origin, medication is generally of limited
benefit. Effective treatment typically involves talking or group therapies such
as cognitive behavioural therapy or the excellent dialectical behaviour
diagnosis and treatment is generally poor in this, the 21st Century,
it was virtually non-existent in the 19th. The rape and sexual abuse
of girls was endemic in the Defloration Mania of the Victorian era. Most of it
took place when the girls were just 13 years and above, (when they were deemed
capable of consent), and this is the age at which such trauma can have the most
profound and enduring consequences. There must have been tens of thousands,
perhaps hundreds of thousands of deeply traumatised girls living in continual
anguish as a result of their being procured as children for the, ‘amusement,’
of wealthy gentleman.
have tried to express the manifestations of such trauma in The Eighth Circle of Hell (available early October 2012, Thames
River Press.) It is a stark, shocking account set in the explosion of the
Victorian-age time-bomb. 150 years later, the ticking grow deafening once more.