It is a medical disorder that cuts life expectancy by almost 20 years, according to the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), afflicts more people than cancer and costs the country around £11bn a year.
But most of us know next to nothing about it. Some question whether the illness even exists.
Campaigners say Personality Disorder (PD) is the Cinderella diagnosis of the NHS’s Cinderella mental health services. There is certainly no fairytale ending for those unable to access treatment and support. Health professionals who are demanding better access to treatment for those affected say one in 10 people diagnosed with it ends up taking their own life.
A consensus statement signed by the RCP, the Royal College of Nursing, mental health charities, professionals and those with experience of PD has been launched in Parliament demanding improvement to the “appalling treatment” sufferers receive.
While there has been focus recently on improving NHS treatment for psychosis, anxiety and depression, leading voices in mental health say far too little evidence-based treatment is available for the more than 3 million people, according to the RCP, whose lives are being ripped apart by PD.
In addition, the RCP estimates at least one person in 20 is living with a personality disorder right now.