Borderline typical symptoms in adult patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder

  • Alexandra Philipsen
  • Bernd Feige
  • Bernd Hesslinger
  • Corinna Scheel
  • Dieter Ebert
  • Swantje Matthies
  • Matthias F. Limberger
  • Nikolaus Kleindienst
  • Martin Bohus
  • Klaus Lieb
Original Article

Abstract

Adult attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and borderline personality disorder (BPD) share several clinical features, e.g. emotional lability and impulsivity. This study aimed to delineate differences and similarities between ADHD and BPD with respect to borderline typical symptomatology and gender specifics. Borderline symptomatology was assessed in 60 adult patients with ADHD with the borderline symptom list (BSL) and compared to both 60 gender- and age-matched BPD patients and control subjects. The BSL is a standardized instrument including 95 items on 7 subscales (self-perception, affect regulation, self-destruction, dysphoria, loneliness, intrusions and hostility). Adult ADHD patients showed significantly higher BSL total scores and all of the seven subscales compared to healthy controls (p < 0.001) but lower scores than BPD patients (p < 0.001). With respect to the seven subscales, the largest differences between ADHD and BPD patients were found with respect to self-destruction (d = 1.12) and affect dysregulation (d = 0.90), whereas the smallest difference was found with respect to loneliness (d = 0.36). In females, the BSL subscales “loneliness” and “hostility” did not differentiate between BPD and ADHD. Borderline typical symptoms are common in adult patients with ADHD but seem to be less pronounced than in patients with BPD. Females with ADHD and BPD share more clinical features than males. However, symptoms of self-destruction and affect dysregulation appear to be more severe in BPD patients.

Keywords

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder Borderline personality disorder Borderline symptom list Affect dysregulation Self-destruction Gender specifics 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Philipsen
    • 1
  • Bernd Feige
    • 1
  • Bernd Hesslinger
    • 1
  • Corinna Scheel
    • 1
  • Dieter Ebert
    • 1
  • Swantje Matthies
    • 1
  • Matthias F. Limberger
    • 2
  • Nikolaus Kleindienst
    • 2
  • Martin Bohus
    • 2
  • Klaus Lieb
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of Freiburg Medical SchoolFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Central Institute of Mental Health Mannheim, J5MannheimGermany
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyUniversity of MainzMainzGermany

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