Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are two conditions that commonly co-occur. In fact, studies have shown that rates of co-occurrence of BPD and PTSD range from 36 percent to 58 percent in people receiving BPD treatment, rates which far exceed the rate of PTSD estimated in the population as a whole.
Here are some statistics about BPD and PTSD presented by Cynthia Kaplan, Ph.D., assistant professor in psychology at Harvard Medical School, at a National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) conference:
- Borderline Personality Disorder inpatients have rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from 36 percent to 58 percent.
- BPD outpatients have rates of PTSD from 25 percent to 55 percent.
- Epidemiological research has indicated that 30.2 percent of people with BPD have PTSD, whereas 24.2 percent of individuals with PTSD have BPD.
- Childhood abuse in the BPD population is found to be from 61 percent to 76 percent.
- BPD clients experience adult traumas at a higher rate than non-BPD peers with rates as high as 90 percent.
- Co-occurring PTSD is associated with greater impairment in individuals with BPD and lower likelihood of long-term remittance of BPD.
- BPD clients with PTSD engage in more frequent non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) than those without PTSD.
“These findings have great significance in terms of what has been observed as a diminished efficacy of traditional Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatments for clients with BPD who present with histories of trauma and co-occurring PTSD,” wrote Kaplan. “Additionally, clients with PTSD (with or without BPD) are often excluded from evidence-based trauma treatment due to their ‘unsafe’ behaviors.
“In response to this impasse there has been increased interest in how to best help individuals with BPD and PTSD, especially those who struggle with suicidal ideation (SI), suicidal behaviors (SB), and non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI),” she continued. “It now seems likely that DBT may be useful as a preparatory or ‘priming treatment’ to stabilize SB, SI, and NSSI before initiating standard PTSD therapies.”