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 Concepts In Mental Disorder Diagnosis 


Abstract Kidnapping Disorder (AKD)

There is an important concept, a medical disorder not previously discussed, published, or classified related to broken relationships. This disorder is what I call “Abstract Kidnapping Disorder - AKD.” You will not find this in the medical or general literature. Still, I believe it is likely to be there in the future, including in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the textbook published by the American Psychiatric Association currently in its 5th Edition (DSM-5).

Briefly, individuals with this disorder have mentally kidnapped the person they were in a relationship with, although they have no current physical contact with them and are unlikely to have future ones. Signs and symptoms of AKD may begin before there is a complete termination of the relationship in question. In addition, they demonstrate features similar to that of the grieving stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and others in no particular order. However, in this case, the subject is alive.

These individuals will also have both positive and negative emotions associated with their exes. There is an associated increased domestic or other violence levels, often resulting in severe injuries or fatalities -murder/suicide.

The disorder has both acute and chronic stages. The triggers for AKD may include but are not limited to physical and mental attachments that they shared with their exes and elements of newly formed relationships of their exes. Ironically, in severe cases, these individuals may go to extreme measures to find or locate their exes, for example, stalking, harassing, attempting unsolicited communications, etc., which often exacerbates the disorder. AKD is not only limited to personal relationships but also includes business or professional.

Treatment for AKD: therapies that are likely to be helpful include psychotherapy, biofeedback, or hypnosis. In addition, it will require treating any underlying psychiatric conditions, if present: such as anxiety or depression, as well as treating other nonpsychiatric comorbidities. More details for AKD will be covered in another publication.

I included this potential diagnosis of AKD, which, if present, will be made worse by stress. In addition, letting go of others when they no longer need you because you have served their purpose still remains the right thing to do, even if it takes all the courage you have.


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