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Am J Psychiatry. 1993 Jan;150(1):19-27.

The phenomenological and conceptual interface between borderline personality disorder and PTSD.

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  • 1Personality and Psychosocial Program, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02178.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors explore the conceptual and phenomenological interface between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder as well as the therapeutic and research implications of this interface.

METHOD:

They systematically review the relevant empirical, conceptual, and clinical literature.

RESULTS:

These seemingly separate disorders are related. Borderline personality disorder is often shaped in part by trauma, and individuals with borderline disorder are therefore vulnerable to developing PTSD.

CONCLUSIONS:

The authors draw a distinction between the enduring effects that traumas can have on formation (or change) of axis II personality traits (including those found in borderline personality disorder) and acute symptomatic reactions to trauma, called PTSD, that are accompanied by specific psychophysiological correlates. They describe the implications of these conclusions for DSM-IV, therapy, and future research.

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