It is indeed a sad sign of times as well as a fiscal problem for the pharmaceutical industry which continuously demands new patients to grow revenue and increase shareholder value that some afflictions are not yet recognized on par with other so-called mental disorders e.g. internet addiction, introverted behavior, stained teeth, or affluenca, which is medical latin for “weak spine”.

It is especially problematic when one such affliction is shared by a majority of people and the profit opportunity goes unnoticed by both the medical establishment and in particular the legal professions. To alleviate this appalling lack, I introduce a new personality disorder (all rights reserved, patent application pending).

Normal personality disorder

Onset is typically at the age of 3-6. It affects possibly more than 90% of the population and males and females are equally likely to be diagnosed with the disorder. The pathological behavior associated with the disorder generally follows from prolonged exposure to the educational system and mass media in developed countries. The disease may also be acquired by exposure to other people, whom the patient frequently associates with (horizontal vector transmission). Subsequently both private businesses and political parties take advantage of this induced syndrome, since patients are keen customers or reliable voters. Though the detrimental effects of the disorder tends to decrease slightly with increasing maturity of the person, it is untreatable in most cases.

Diagnostic guidelines

Conditions which are not attributable to duress or visible brain damage but meet the following criteria:

  • A habitual reliance on exogenous opinions followed by a reduced capacity for independent thought e.g.
    • Tendency to support the opinion of others despite disagreement
    • Using the argument “All the others said …” or “All normal people …” to reason
    • Adoption of expressions/ways-of-speech heard from others
    • Adopting the religion and other values of patient’s parents
    • Susceptible to marketing and fads
    • Ordering “whatever he had” when eating out
  • Chronic patients may develop neuronic atrophy causing reduced capacity for deep thought. This can be expressed by e.g.
    • Inability to solve own problems
    • Belief that “They” will or can solve any problem
    • Tendency to seek advice of others before thinking
    • Only simple activities (TV, snacking, …) provide pleasure
  • Individual opinions are subconsciously suppressed to alleviate severe group-induced stress (peer-pressure)
    • Extremely sensitive to obeying rules, following tradition, and fitting in
    • Belief in authority and rules
    • Supportive of the majority
  • Fear of being different or marked as different leading to sociopathological behavior
    • A deep fascination for superficial things such as fashion, popular music and parties
    • Observes rituals
    • Attempts to emulate the appearance and behavior of others
    • Has an “Us vs. Them” attitude (always roots for the home team) which is occasionally expressed violently
  • Follows a pervasive pattern of social attachment to the/a group, while displaying the full range of emotions likely to elicit a positive response leading to adoption by the group. This is usually accommodated by feelings of angst of being excluded from the group. Some indicators are:
    • Desires to be popular (or a megalomanic desire to be famous)
    • Puts great importance on being a team player
    • Accepts and uses so-called white lies (“no, that purse does not make your butt look big”)
    • Appears superficially interested in other peoples problems
    • Affinity for shallow interpersonal relations
    • Inability to sustain isolation from other people more than a few days

Diagnosis

People suffering from this disorder are generally afflicted by three or more of the following:

  1. Own more than three CD compilations of “Most popular hits..”
  2. Do not think it is odd to discuss the weather with strangers (even if they are meteorologists)
  3. Do not read books unless part of the curriculum
  4. Think math is hard
  5. Watch TV
  6. Like to watch sports and/or news
  7. Have a personal opinion on one or more of the participants in a reality TV show
  8. Have one or more idols
  9. Have at least ten best friends
  10. Have a political opinion which matches that of an existing political party
  11. Can name ten or more brand names

Treatment

Normal personality disorder is not yet recognized as an actual disorder and therefore it is not recognized by the established medical community. The reason is that the implementation of industrialization and modern democracy requires a large fraction of the citizens to be afflicted with this disorder in order to willingly submit to a lifetime of working and consuming without having any significant control of their own life (also known as “making a living”). The disorder is thus considered a benefit, at least in the aggregate, to the power structure.

However, a form of therapy, where the individual is removed from the group influence and gradually taught to think independently has been successful in several reported cases.
As trust in own abilities develops, the normal patient may learn to form independent conclusions. However, in severe cases these abilities have to be acquired first, in particular, if the patient’s skills mainly comprise the ability to select the right shopping outfit along with a keen knowledge of celebrity crock. Successful treatment will eventually allow the patient to independently evaluate his own behavior. This may result in a rather jaded and cynical outlook, which again may lead to some real life changes such as riding a bicycle or canceling the cable TV.


Disclaimer: Dr. Jacob (“the author”) is not a real medical doctor and his opinions should not taken as medical advice. People who do not recognize this article as an attempt at humor must be really really DUMB, and those who think this article is serious medical advice must be really really really DUMB. The author can not be held responsible for such stupidity or any other kind of imaginary personality disorder ;-)