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Personal Ment Health. 2016 Aug;10(3):181-90. doi: 10.1002/pmh.1337. Epub 2016 Apr 29.

The clinical trajectory of patients with borderline personality disorder.

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Department of Organic Psychiatric Disorders and Emergency Ward, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



The epidemiological data on the diagnostic course of patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) is limited. We used a nationwide register to investigate the diagnostic stability and changes over time.


The Danish nationwide registers were used to follow all patients with a diagnosis of BPD and investigate their first-ever psychiatric diagnosis and their latest diagnosis in the time period of 1995-2012. From this, we found the diagnostic stability and described the diagnostic changes.


A total of 10 786 patients diagnosed with BPD were identified. The prospective diagnostic stabilities were 37% for females and 25% for males, and retrospective stabilities were 20% for females and 22% for males. More than 60% of patients received other diagnoses than BPD as their first-ever diagnosis. Stress-related (17%) and depressive disorders (14%) were most frequent as first-ever diagnosis. The latest diagnosis remained BPD in nearly half of females and one third of males, followed by schizophrenia, notably for those with longer follow-up and males.


This study gives a detailed display of complicated clinical trajectories. The low diagnostic stabilities demonstrate a heterogenous patient group diagnosed with many other psychiatric diagnoses over time. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Borderline personality disorder; Schizophrenia; clinical trajectory; diagnostic stability; epidemiology

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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