In psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuals (DSM) are a process in an evolving diagnostic system, that undergoes considerable transformation with each new version. DSM-5 is the version due out in the spring of 2012.
The DSM-5 committee looking at personality disorders, apparently heavily influenced this go-around by psychologists seemed to be headed towards a change from the current system, which has personality categories to a new system that looked instead at dimensions of personality.
While one could (and I did) quibble with the specifics of the dimensions, it seemed to be a step away from the system that earlier versions used, and which was widely regarded as deficient.
However when the committee reported out their recommendations people were confused, and so, in response to feedback from the powers that are currently in charge of DSM, they added six of the personality categories back in (with some minor modifications) and introduced the new dimensional model in an experimental new addition. The dimensions are intended to be used whenever one of the six diagnoses cannot be made, and instead (in the old system) there would be something akin to Personality Disorder, NOS.
This makes for an even more confusing hybrid of two conflicting models. It is not lost on this psychologist that the original six categories were, for the most part, an outgrowth of a system ny Ted Millon, which at least theoretically originated in a dimensional model as well.
In a future post I will attempt to clarify this new hybrid so we can all understand it better, and plan on my psychology knowledge website to introduce it more fully, well before next spring.