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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2013 Feb;15(2):339.

Impulsivity in borderline personality disorder: a matter of disturbed impulse control or a facet of emotional dysregulation?

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Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University Medical Center Mainz, Untere Zahlbacher Strasse 8, 55131 Mainz, Germany.


Impulsivity is regarded as a clinical, diagnostic and pathophysiological hallmark of borderline personality disorder (BPD). Self-report measures of impulsivity consistently support the notion of higher impulsive traits in BPD patients as compared to healthy control subjects. Laboratory tests of impulsivity, i.e. neuropsychological tests of impulse control render weak and inconsistent results both across different cognitive components of impulse control and within the same cognitive component of impulse control. One important factor worsening impulsive behaviors and impulse control deficits in BPD is comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In addition, emotional dysregulation interacts with impulse control especially for BPD salient emotions. In sum, although basic mechanisms of impulse control seem not to be disturbed in BPD, clinically well observed impulsive behaviors may be explained by comorbid ADHD or may be the consequence of dysregulation of BPD salient emotions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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