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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder And Borderline Personality Disorder In Adults: A Review Of Their Links And Risks

Authors Weiner L, Perroud N, Weibel S

Received 17 September 2019

Accepted for publication 23 October 2019

Published 8 November 2019 Volume 2019:15 Pages 3115—3129


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder

Luisa Weiner,1,2 Nader Perroud,3,4 Sébastien Weibel1,5

1Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France; 2Laboratoire De Psychologie Des Cognitions, University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France; 3Department of Psychiatry, University Hospitals of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland; 4Department of Psychiatry, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada; 5Inserm U1114, Strasbourg, France

Correspondence: Sébastien Weibel
Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Strasbourg, 1 Place De L’hôpital, Strasbourg 67000, France
Tel + 33 388115157

Abstract: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) are particularly common disorders, that are highly comorbid in adult populations. The symptomatic overlap between adult ADHD and BPD includes impulsivity, emotional dysregulation and interpersonal impairment, which makes the differential diagnosis difficult. Our review aims at focusing on recent data on the comorbid ADHD+BPD form, as well as the risk factors involved in the emergence of the two disorders. While adult ADHD and BPD share some genetic and temperamental risk factors, adult ADHD is characterized by more severe trait-impulsivity compared to non-comorbid BPD; BPD patients display more severe trait-emotion regulation symptoms compared to non-comorbid ADHD. Patients with the comorbid ADHD+BPD form have severe symptoms in both dimensions. Early-life exposure to adverse events is a shared risk factor for the development of ADHD and BPD, but type and timing of adversity seem to play a differential role in the development of BPD and ADHD symptoms. Age of onset used to be a discriminative diagnostic criterion between ADHD, an early-onset neurodevelopmental disorder, and BPD, a late-onset psychological disorder. However, this distinction has been recently called into question, increasing the need for more research aiming at delineating the disorders from a developmental and clinical standpoint. Clinicians should carefully consider the comorbidity, and consider ADHD and BPD dimensionally, in order to provide more effective patient management. This might improve early preventive interventions, and treatment for comorbid conditions in adulthood.

Keywords: ADHD, borderline personality disorder, adults, emotion regulation, impulsivity

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