Axis II is part of the DSM “multiaxial” system for assessment. The five axis model is designed to provide a comprehensive diagnosis that includes a complete picture of not just acute symptoms but of the entire scope of factors that account for a patient’s mental health. This page explains DSM Axis II.
Axis II is for assessing personality disorders and intellectual disabilities. These disorders are usually life-long problems that first arise in childhood, distinct from the clinical disorders of Axis I which are often symptomatic of Axis II. For example, a adult patient might have depression (an Axis I disorder) that is largely a result of a paranoid personality disorder (an Axis II disorder).
Axis II disorders are accompanied by considerable social stigma because they are suffered by people who often fail to adapt well to society; Axis II disorders can seem untreatable and be difficult to pinpoint. It is often disupted whether Axis II disorders are caused primarily by genetic influences or environmental causes.