Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental illness that is often difficult to diagnose because it generally co-occurs with other disorders. These other disorders can mask the symptoms of BPD, often leaving the underlying disorder untreated.
The five conditions that most commonly co-occur with BPD are:
- Mood disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse
- Eating disorders
BPD commonly co-occurs with mood disorders such as depression and Bipolar Disorder. Rates of depression in people with BPD can be as high as 60 percent, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
As many as 20 percent of people with BPD may also have Bipolar Disorder. Because both BPD and Bipolar Disorder are characterized by unstable moods, impulsivity and interpersonal difficulties, it may be difficult to recognize which disorder is causing the symptoms.
People with BPD often experience debilitating anxiety, panic attacks and excessive worrying that can be symptomatic of BPD or of a co-occurring anxiety disorder. There are several anxiety disorders that can co-occur with BPD: Panic Disorder, phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Anxiety Disorder, agoraphobia and separation anxiety. The rates for co-occurrence vary among the anxiety disorders.
PTSD is triggered by a traumatic event, which can also be the basis for the onset of BPD. Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of people with BPD also have a diagnosis of PTSD. Several symptoms of these two disorders can overlap, including poor emotional regulation and constant mood swings.
People with BPD may turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with stress and other symptoms of their disorder. Substance abuse, especially alcohol abuse, has a rate of co-occurrence with BPD of more than 30 percent, according to NIMH.
Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and Binge Eating Disorder describe abnormal eating behaviors in which food is either over- or under-consumed, resulting in harm to an individual’s physical and mental health. According to NIMH, about 25 percent of people with BPD also have an eating disorder.
Awareness of these prevalent conditions co-occurring with BPD, and their potential to mask the underlying borderline condition, is essential for an accurate diagnosis and subsequent planning of an effective BPD treatment program.
Another one is narcissistic personality disorder. According to NAMI the comorbidity is 25%.
Author, â€œStop Walking on Eggshellsâ€ & “The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorderâ€
How do I convince my 23 yr old daughter she has BPD and needs help.
I have so many queestions?
Hi Jill –
The best thing you can do right now is to speak with a professional about Borderline Personality Disorder to get some feedback on how you should handle it. If you would like to call Clearview Women’s Center, you can talk to our team about BPD and your daughter’s symptoms. You can reach us at 800-573-0770. Your call is free and confidential.
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Very correct, Randi–you are the expert and I appreciate your work. I’ve had a horrible experience with a NPD/BPD.
Can a female borderline have playgirl tendencies and still hold down a steady relationship.
That seems to be my case. I flirt heavily and yet have been married to my one and only spouse for 20 years.
I would love to attend an inpatient program- but the cost is not something I have sitting in a bank account… BPD has runied my life.
I have had this since I was a little girl. I remember my first thought as “something is wrong in my family, I do not feel loved, I don’t belong here”, later I would think “I have to belong here, because I look like everyone else but they don’t love me”… THIS is where it started!!
I have always been blamed and have felt guilty that I am the problem by family. They have been so invalidating and mean to me. I don’t think they would help me pay for treatment because I think they need me to be broken!!
Does anyone know of any websites where I could put a call out for financial help?? Thanks, j
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According to a NIMH-sponsored DSM-IV study:
“…With additional comorbidity controlled for, associations with bipolar disorder and schizotypal and narcissistic personality disorders (in those with borderline pd) remained strong and significant (odds ratios > or = 4.3)….
BPD is much more prevalent in the general population than previously recognized, is equally prevalent among men and women, and is associated with considerable mental and physical disability, especially among women.”
Schizotypal personality disorder is not often mentioned as a comorbidity with borderline pd, but according to this study it co-occurs as frequently as narcissistic pd does.
Schizotypal pd has features of schizophrenia but without the hallucinations and delusional thinking; still, it’s a serious condition. Schizotypal pd includes paranoia/paranoid ideation, inappropriate or constricted affect, behavior that is odd, eccentric or peculiar, excessive social anxiety, and odd or magical thinking.
This condition and these behaviors alone in a child’s primary caregiver would have a negative impact on the child, but as a comorbid condition with borderline pd, a child would be at serious risk for emotional damage, physical damage, neglect, abuse, or a combination of risks.
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