Borderline personality disorder consists of pervasive affective
instability, impulsivity, unstable relationships and self-image
disturbances.1It affects 1–2% of the general population and is
characterised by severe psychosocial impairment2–5and a high
suicide rate.6According to Fossati et al (2002),760% of adults
with borderline personality disorder meet criteria for childhood
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).8The two dis-
orders share some similar clinical features, e.g. emotional dysregu-
lation and impulsivity. This suggests that childhood ADHD may
be a risk factor for borderline personality disorder in adulthood.
The prevalence rate of ADHD in children ranges from 3–12%
(depending on sample selection and diagnostic criteria),9,10and
40–60% thereof have persisting symptoms.11–14The prevalence of
adult ADHD is estimated to range from 1 to 4%.14,15No study
has investigated the prevalence of adult ADHD in people with
borderline personality disorder or the impact of ADHD symptoms
on the severity of the latter and co-occurring psychopathologies.
This study investigated the prevalence of both childhood and
adult ADHD symptomatology in people with borderline per-
sonality disorder, the influences of both on adult borderline
personality disorder and the association between histories of
childhood ADHD and traumatic childhood experiences.
We recruited 118 women with borderline personality disorder
(mean age 29.2 years, s.d.=7.6) from the out-patient clinics of
our departments (Freiburg, Mannheim) that offer diagnostic
and therapeutic services (dialectical behaviour therapy4,16,17) for
people with the disorder seeking treatment. The ethical committees
of the University of Freiburg and Mannheim approved the study
protocol prior to data collection. Written informed consent was
obtained from patients prior to study participation.
General diagnostic assessments
Co-occurring Axis I disorders were assessed by the Structured
Clinical Interview for DSM–IV Axis I Disorders (SCID–I).18
Personality disorders were examined by the German version of
the International Personality Disorder Examination (IPDE).19
The IPDE and the SCID–I were administered by experienced
clinical psychologists. To determine interrater reliability, a random
sample of 10% of the interviews were independently rated by a
second observer. Interrater reliability values were within the accep-
table range for both the IPDE (k=0.77) and the SCID–I (k=0.70).
Assessment of ADHD symptomatology
Participants rated their ADHD symptoms in childhood retrospec-
tively, using the short version of the Wender Utah Rating Scale
(WURS-k), German version,20which includes 25 items on a five-
point Likert-scale (‘not at all’ to ‘severe’). Following Fossati et al
(2002),7we used a very conservative cut-off score of 546 to indicate
the presence of a diagnosis of ADHD in childhood. Participants
(ADHD–CL),21which includes 18 items on a three-point Likert-
scale corresponding to the diagnostic criteria of DSM–IV (0–2,
‘not at all’ to ‘severe’). To minimise the likelihood of overestimating
the prevalence of adult ADHD (especially the inattentive subtype),
we used a cut-off of 525 to indicate that participants met criteria
for the combined subtype of ADHD. Only patients who fulfilled both
with the ADHD–Checklist
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as a
potentially aggravating factor in borderline
Alexandra Philipsen, Matthias F. Limberger, Klaus Lieb, Bernd Feige, Nikolaus Kleindienst,
Ulrich Ebner-Priemer, Johanna Barth, Christian Schmahl and Martin Bohus
Clinical experience suggests that people with borderline
personality disorder often meet criteria for attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, empirical data are
To establish the prevalence of childhood and adult ADHD in
a group of women with borderline personality disorder and
to investigate the psychopathology and childhood
experiences of those with and without ADHD.
We assessed women seeking treatment for borderline
personality disorder (n=118) for childhood and adult ADHD,
co-occurring Axis I and Axis II disorders, severity of
borderline symptomatology and traumatic childhood
Childhood (41.5%) and adult (16.1%) ADHD prevalence was
high. Childhood ADHD was associated with emotional abuse
in childhood and greater severity of adult borderline
symptoms. Adult ADHD was associated with greater risk for
co-occurring Axis I and II disorders.
Adults with severe borderline personality disorder frequently
show a history of childhood ADHD symptomatology.
Persisting ADHD correlates with frequency of co-occurring
Axis I and II disorders. Severity of borderline symptomatology
in adulthood is associated with emotional abuse in
childhood. Further studies are needed to differentiate any
potential causal relationship between ADHD and borderline
Declaration of interest
None. Funding detailed in Acknowledgements.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (2008)
192, 118–123. doi: 10.1192/bjp.bp.107.035782
the WURS-k criteria and the ADHD–CL criteria were diagnosed as
having adult ADHD.
Assessment of borderline symptomatology
Severity of borderline symptomatology was assessed by the total
score of the Borderline Symptom List (BSL).22The BSL is a self-
report questionnaire of symptoms of borderline personality dis-
order that includes 95 items on seven sub-scales (self-image, affect
regulation, self-destruction, dysphoria, loneliness, intrusion and
hostility) and is based on the DSM–IV criteria for the disorder
(as assessed by the Diagnostic Interview for Borderline Personality
Disorder – Revised Version). Participants rate the severity of
symptoms on a five-point Likert scale (‘not at all’ to ‘very strong’).
The BSL has demonstrated high internal consistency and test–
retest reliability, strong construct validity and low correlations
with gender, age and level of education.
Assessment of childhood trauma experiences
Childhood history of abuse and neglect was assessed by the Child-
hood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ). The CTQ is a 28-item self-
report inventory that assesses five types of maltreatment –
emotional, physical and sexual abuse, and emotional and physical
neglect. Also included in this questionnaire is a three-item
minimisation/denial scale for detecting false-negative trauma
Statistically significant differences were assessed at a two-tailed
alpha level of 50.05. Statistical analyses were carried out using
SPSS for Windows, version 12, and ‘R’, version 2.4.1 (R Founda-
tion for Statistical Computing, http://www.R-project.org/). To
reduce the number of independent tests performed, multivariate
logistic regression was used. Eight separate regression models were
computed: for each of the two target variables (childhood ADHD
as defined by WURS-k 546 and adulthood ADHD symptomatol-
ogy defined by ADHD symptom sum score 525), we tested the
influence of each of the four following sets of variables:
I disorders as assessed by the SCID–I: bipolar and unipolar
affective disorders, acute psychotic disorders, substance
abuse/dependence, alcohol abuse/dependence, panic disorder,
agoraphobia, social phobia, specific phobia, post-traumatic
stress disorder, anorexia, bulimia nervosa, other eating dis-
orders, obsessive–compulsive disorder, somatoform disorders;
II disorders assessed by the IPDE: paranoid, schizoid, antisocial,
histrionic, avoidant, dependent and schizotypal personality
disorder (criteria for narcissistic personality disorder were
not met by any participants);
symptom severity measured by the BSL and number of DSM–
IV criteria for borderline personality disorder;
events in childhood assessed by the CTQ: emotional, physical
and sexual abuse, and emotional and physical neglect.
In order to assess the multivariate significance of each model,
likelihood ratio statistics are reported; for each variable within the
model, Wald Z-values are given.
Of the 118 participants, 62.7% were single, 17.8% had a partner or
were married, 11% were divorced and 8.5% were widowed or
separated. The majority (60.2%) were childless. Just over half
(50.6%) were working full time or studying (27.1% and 23.5%
respectively) and 21.2% were unemployed or had retired early.
Exploratory Mann–Whitney U-tests revealed no differences
between participants who scored above v. below the threshold
for childhood ADHD on the WURS-k in terms of age or edu-
cation. Similarly, there were no significant differences in age or
education between participants who scored above v. below the
thresholds on the ADHD–CL for adult ADHD.
Axis I disorders
Almost all participants (99.2%) had at least one co-occurring Axis
I disorder (Table 1) (mean=5.04, s.d.=2.45). For Axis I disorders
including probable diagnoses this was 5.69 (2.46).
Axis II disorders
Of the 118 participants, 36 (30.5%) fulfilled only the diagnostic
criteria for borderline personality disorder, assessed by the IPDE.
The remaining 69.5% also fulfilled criteria for at least one other
personality disorder: 43.2% met criteria for one co-occurring
personality disorder; 16.9% met criteria for two, 6.8% for three,
and 2.5% for four or five personality disorders. An overview of
co-occurring Axis II disorders is given in Table 2.
of childhood ADHD
Of the 118 individuals studied, 49 (41.5%) fulfilled criteria for
childhood ADHD as retrospectively diagnosed by the WURS-k.
The mean (s.d.) WURS-k score among these 49 participants was
Co-occurring ADHD in borderline personality disorder
in 118 women with borderline personality disorder (SCID–I)
Co-occurring Axis I disorders (lifetime and current)
Axis I disorders DefiniteProbableNegative
Any mood disorders
Unipolar affective disorders
Bipolar affective disorder
Acute psychotic disorders NOS4 (3.4)– 114 (96.6)
Any substance abuse/dependence
Any anxiety disorders
Post-traumatic stress disorder57 (48.3)3 (2.5)58 (49.1)
Obsessive–compulsive disorders26 (22.0)4 (3.4)88 (74.6)
Any eating disorders
Any somatoform disorders
Body dysmorphic disorder
Co-occurring Axis I diagnoses,
NOS, not otherwise specified; SCID–I, Structured Clinical Interview for DSM–IV.
Philipsen et al
Adult ADHD symptomatology
Using the predefined cut-off of 25 on the ADHD–CL, 16.1% of
the 118 participants were diagnosed with severe adult ADHD
(combined subtype, mean (s.d.) ADHD–CL score 28.79 (2.99)).
Influence of a diagnosis of ADHD on co-occurring
Axis I disorders
The logistic regression analysis significantly discriminated between
participants with and without adult ADHD (model likelihood
ratio=29.3, P=0.022). Specific phobias and somatisation disorders
were positively associated with adult ADHD (Wald Z=2.24,
P=0.025, and Wald Z=2.25, P=0.024 respectively). Furthermore,
the association between adult ADHD and panic disorder as well
as anorexia nervosa just missed the level of significance (Wald
Z=1.95, P=0.052, and Wald Z=1.79, P=0.073 respectively). Logis-
tic regression analyses indicated that Axis I disorders did not
significantly discriminate between participants who met criteria
for childhood ADHD and those who did not (P=0.117).
Axis II disorders
Logistic regression indicated that personality disorders sig-
nificantly discriminated participants who were above v. below
the thresholds for adult ADHD (model likelihood ratio=16.92,
P=0.031). Co-occurring paranoid personality disorder was
positively associated with adult ADHD (Wald Z=2.19, P=0.029).
For schizoid and dependent personality disorders, and there was
a trend (Wald Z=1.80, P=0.072, and Wald Z=1.66, P=0.098
Logistic regression analysis revealed a trend for a positive asso-
ciation between childhood ADHD and co-occurring personality
disorders (model likelihood ratio=13.81, P=0.087) with a trend
towards significance for a higher prevalence of paranoid person-
ality disorder (Wald Z=1.93, P=0.054) among participants who
reported childhood ADHD.
Influence of a diagnosis of ADHD on severity of
Logistic regression analyses revealed a trend towards a positive
association between symptoms of borderline personality disorder
and adult ADHD (Wald Z=1.72, P=0.085) and a significant
positive association between severity of current symptoms and
childhood ADHD (Wald Z=2.33, P=0.020, see Table 3).
Regarding the DSM–IV criteria for borderline personality dis-
order, criterion 8 (difficulty controlling anger) and criterion 9
(stress-related dissociative symptoms/paranoid ideations) were
significantly more pronounced in participants who reported
childhood ADHD (WURS-k 546) compared with those with
WURS-k scores below the threshold for the childhood disorder.
Association of a diagnosis
of ADHD with negative childhood experiences
Logistic regression analysis demonstrated a strong association
between the retrospective diagnosis of childhood ADHD and
reported emotional abuse in childhood measured by the CTQ
(Wald Z=2.62, P=0.009). There were no differences in terms of re-
ported sexual or physical abuse and physical or emotional neglect
in childhood (Table 3).
In terms of adult ADHD and reported adverse childhood
experiences, statistical analyses yielded no significant associations.
ADHD in people with borderline personality disorder
Our findings of a high prevalence of reported childhood ADHD
among women with borderline personality disorder support the
earlier findings of Fossati et al (2002)7and suggest that childhood
ADHD may be a risk factor for the development of borderline per-
sonality disorder in adulthood. Although our prevalence rate of
childhood ADHD (41.8%) was lower than that of Fossati et al
(59.5%), this difference may be because Fossati et al also included
men (18 men, 24 women) in their analysis; ADHD is more
common among boys and men than among girls and women.24
borderline personality disorder measured by the Inter-
national Personality Disorder Examination
Co-occurring Axis II disorders in 118 women with
Personality disordersDefiniteProbable Negative
Paranoid personality disorder15 (12.7)–103 (87.3)
Schizoid personality disorder 4 (3.4)– 114 (96.6)
Schizotypal personality disorder– 1 (0.8)117 (99.2)
Antisocial personality disorder8 (6.8)–110 (93.2)
Histrionic personality disorder7 (5.9)–111 (94.1)
Narcissistic personality disorder–– 118 (100)
Avoidant personality disorder 60 (50.8)–58 (49.2)
Dependent personality disorder 8 (6.8)–110 (93.2)
disorder26 (22.0)– 92 (78.0)
Co-occurring Axis II
disorders, mean (s.d.)1.09 (1.02)
borderline personality disorder) with retrospectively assessed childhood ADHD compared with participants without
Severity of borderline symptomatology and childhood trauma experiences among participants (118 women with
WURS-k score,amean (s.d.) MLR P=0.001
546 (n=69) Wald ZP
BSL sum score188.18 (65.35)151.78 (57.90)2.330.020
Emotional abuse 19.87 (3.93)16.18 (5.82)2.620.009
Physical abuse12.28 (6.09)9.98 (6.20)0.360.717
Sexual abuse12.71 (7.43)11.16 (7.53)
Emotional neglect18.86 (4.69) 17.20 (5.05)
Physical neglect11.25 (3.76)9.57 (3.90)0.220.822
ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; BPD, borderline personality disorder; BSL, Borderline Symptom List; MLR, multivariate logistic regression analysis; WURS-k, Wender
Utah Rating Scale.
a. A score 546 indicates the presence of ADHD in childhood.
Co-occurring ADHD in borderline personality disorder
In terms of adult ADHD symptomatology we found a preva-
lence rate of 16.1% when only including participants who also ful-
filled predefined criteria for childhood ADHD. To avoid the risk of
overestimating the prevalence of adult ADHD of the inattentive
type, which is especially high in people with borderline personality
disorder with co-occurring disorders (such as substance misuse
and affective disorders), we only included participants with
ADHD of the combined subtype. Therefore, we cannot exclude a
possible effect of other subtypes (inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive)
or of participants in partial remission. A recently published meta-
analysis on follow-up studies in childhood ADHD found a persis-
tence rate of only 15% meeting full criteria for ADHD at age 25
years.14Whereas the prevalence rate of adult ADHD in the present
study is rather low (16.1%), the persistence rate is slightly higher
(38.8%), but in line with recently published findings which re-
vealed a persistence rate of 36.3% in respondents to a comorbidity
survey study.25Adverse family environment variables such as low
social class and family conflicts are considered important risk fac-
tors for increased ADHD symptomatology26and severity, and lack
of treatment for the disorder in childhood predicts persistence
into adulthood.25Thus, it is possible that all three factors – nega-
tive environmental factors, ADHD severity and lack of treatment
in childhood – contributed to the higher rate of persistence of
ADHD that we observed in our sample. One could expect ADHD
in childhood, especially when untreated, to have a negative impact
on educational achievement, but we did not find differences in
achievement among those with and those without ADHD. One
intrepretation is that strong predictor variables such as sexual
abuse, emotional neglect and physical neglect, which were equally
distributed between the two patient groups, might have a greater
impact on educational level than co-occurring ADHD.
Adult ADHD and Axis I and II disorders in borderline
Interestingly, we found an influence of adult ADHD symptom-
atology on co-occurring disorders among our participants. Both
Axis I and Axis II disorders (specific phobias and somatisation,
a tendency towards panic disorder and anorexia nervosa, paranoid
personality disorder, elements of schizoid and dependent person-
ality disorder) were associated with a greater likelihood of adult
ADHD. In contrast, Axis I and II disorders were less consistently
associated with the presence of childhood ADHD.
History of childhood ADHD and severity of borderline
Our findings also revealed that participants with more severe
current symptoms of borderline personality disorder were more
likely to report childhood ADHD. The cause of the association be-
tween childhood ADHD and more severe borderline symptoma-
tology in adulthood is not clear. In ADHD, various genetic and
neuroimaging studies support a genetic and neurobiological origin
largely associated with the central dopaminergic and noradrenergic
systems.27Furthermore, other organic causes such as pregnancy
and delivery complications, maternal smoking and alcohol misuse
during pregnancy have been identified as risk factors for ADHD
in offspring.28Adverse family environment variables such as low
social class and family conflicts are thought to be important risk
factors for the exacerbation of ADHD symptomatology rather
than for the development of ADHD. In contrast, adverse events
such as sexual or physical abuse in childhood are well documented
as serious risk factors for the development and severity of border-
line personality disorder.29–32Thus, one could speculate that
childhood ADHD associated with severe negative childhood ex-
periences predispose to the development of borderline personality
disorder in adulthood in a subgroup of individuals. In our sample,
women with borderline personality disorder retrospectively diag-
nosed with childhood ADHD (WURS-k 546) reported a higher
rate of emotional abuse in childhood than those with WURS-k
scores 546. These groups, however, did not differ in terms of
other negative childhood experiences (e.g. physical or sexual abuse
or neglect). Our findings regarding emotional abuse are consistent
with those of a recent study33that found that emotional abuse and
neglect were more common among adults with ADHD compared
with a control group. Therefore, the higher rate of emotional
abuse of our participants with childhood ADHD symptomatology
may have led to even more severe borderline symptomatology in
As reported by Watson et al (2006)34and by Simeon et al
(2003)35dissociative features are primarily correlated with emotional
abuse and neglect as well as physical abuse in borderline personality
disorder. In these studies, however, participants with the disorder
were not screened for co-occurring ADHD. Thus, our findings of
a more severe borderline symptomatology as well as the enhanced
stress-related dissociative symptoms among women with borderline
personality disorder retrospectively diagnosed with childhood
ADHD could be explained by the increased risk of having been
emotionally abused in childhood.
The precise mechanism for the high association between ADHD
and borderline personality disorder found in our study is not clear.
The high co-occurrence of these disorders may be due to overlap-
ping clinical features and diagnostic criteria of the two disorders.
In particular, intense anger and difficulty controlling anger (border-
line personality disorder criterion 8) may overlap considerably with
ADHD features. However, transient stress-related dissociative symp-
toms or paranoid ideation are not part of ADHD criteria. Moreover,
the scales used for the assessment of ADHD (WURS-k, ADHD–CL)
mainly focus on core symptoms of ADHD such as persistent inat-
tention, distractability and hyperactivity, which are also not part
of the current diagnostic criteria of borderline personality disorder.
Thus, further studies investigating the influence of the
relationship between ADHD and adverse events in childhood on
borderline symptom severity in adulthood are warranted.
Some study limitations must be considered. First, ADHD
symptoms, severity of borderline personality disorder and nega-
tive childhood experiences were assessed using self-report ques-
tionnaires, and we did not investigate data reliability. Thus, the
influence of current mood state or severity of symptoms on our
data cannot be conclusively excluded. Second, this was not a pro-
spective study; childhood ADHD was assessed retrospectively by
the WURS-k. Thus, it is unclear whether childhood ADHD would
be similarly associated with symptoms of borderline personality
disorder or co-occurring disorders if childhood ADHD symptoms
had been assessed in childhood. Nevertheless, to avoid an overes-
timation of ADHD diagnosis in childhood, we used a very
conservative cut-off score (546), as described previously by
Fossati et al (2002),7and the prevalence of childhood ADHD re-
mained high. Third, we used a self-report measure (rather than a
structured interview) of adult ADHD symptomatology based on
DSM–IV criteria for ADHD (the ADHD–CL). There are, however,
no specific DSM–IV criteria for adult ADHD, and the SCID–I
does not include questions for diagnosing adult ADHD. To avoid
an overestimation of co-occurring adult ADHD diagnoses, we
used a very conservative cut-off score. Using these criteria, we
found persistence rates comparable to those published by Kessler
et al (2005),25which led us to conclude that these participants
most likely had persisting adult ADHD. The conservative cut-off
Philipsen et al
scores and the applied scales for the assessment of ADHD, which
mainly detect the core features of inattention and hyperactivity,
speak against a merely methodologically based association of
ADHD and borderline personality disorder.
Finally, the findings of our study are based on observations
from only female and treatment-seeking participants recruited
from the out-patient departments of our two clinics. Therefore,
the study results cannot be generalised to all people with border-
line personality disorder.
Our findings indicate that childhood ADHD is associated with
greater emotional abuse in childhood as well as more severe border-
line psychopathology in adult women with borderline personality
disorder. Thus, ADHD in childhood may be considered a risk factor
that predisposes to borderline personality disorder in adulthood in a
subgroup of patients. Clinicians should be aware of childhood
ADHD and co-occurring adult ADHD among patients with border-
line personality disorder. Future treatment development might focus
on whether different interventions are needed for subgroups of
patients with borderline personality disorder who either have
current ADHD or reported childhood ADHD. In addition, the
effect of methylphenidate and noradrenergic psychopharmaco-
logical agents should be systematically investigated in patients
with borderline personality disorder and co-occurring ADHD.
Alexandra Philipsen, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University
Medical Center, Freiburg; Matthias F. Limberger, MA, Department of
Psychosomatic Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim; Klaus Lieb,
MD, Bernd Feige, PhD, Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, University
Medical Center, Freiburg; Nikolaus Kleindienst, PhD, Ulrich Ebner-Priemer, PhD,
Johanna Barth, MA, Christian Schmahl, MD, Martin Bohus, MD, Department of
Psychosomatic Medicine, Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim, Germany
Correspondence: Professor Martin Bohus, Central Institute of Mental Health
Mannheim, J5, D-68159 Mannheim, Germany. Email: martin.bohus@zi-
First received 27 Jan 2007, final revision 2 Aug 2007, accepted 23 Aug 2007
The results of this paper partially stem from Johanna Barth’s and Matthias Limberger’s dis-
sertations which are in preparation at the Medical Faculty of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universita ¨t
Heidelberg. The study has been funded by the Borderline Personality Disorder Research
Foundation, New York.
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The medical certificates of admission papers
The views above expressed respecting the validity of medical certificates we have at length supported by declining to take any steps to procure
the amendment of certificates which we felt convinced were without legal defect. The question has been brought to issue under the following
circumstances. M____ A____ and C____ L____, two female patients, suffering from mania, were admitted into the Devon County Asylum, on the
3rd of September, 1857, upon the following medical certificates:—
I, the undersigned, James Malachi Madden, being a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and being in actual practice as a
Surgeon, hereby certify, that I, on the thirty-first day of August, at her lodgings, Ballast Quay, in the parish of St. Leonard in the County of Devon,
personally examined M____ A____, of Broadclist, a domestic servant, and that the said M____ A____ is a person of unsound mind, and a proper
person to be taken charge of and detained under care and treatment, and that I have formed this opinion upon the following grounds, viz.:
1. Facts indicating insanity observed by myself; Irritation of the brain, with severe pain in the upper part of the head.
2. Other facts (if any,) indicating insanity communicated to me by others; Incoherency of talking, using horrible expressions, wandering about
night and day, abusing every person (informed by the nurse in attendance.)
(Signed,) (Name,) JAS. M. MADDEN,
(Place of abode.) Heavitree, Exeter
Dated this third day of September, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven.
Sched. (F.) No. 3.
I, the undersigned, James M. Madden, being a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons, London, and being in actual practice as a Surgeon,
hereby certify, that I, on the second day of September instant, at her mother’s house, in Heavitree, in the county of Devon, personally examined
C____ L____, milliner, and that the said C____ L____ is a person of unsound mind, and a proper person to be taken charge of and detained under
care and treatment, and that I have formed this opinion upon the following grounds, viz:
1. Facts indicating insanity observed by myself; Improper and foul expressions, such as ‘‘bloody hell’’ and ‘‘cut throats,’’ epilepsy 9 years ago.
2. Other facts (if any,) indicating insanity communicated by others; False impressions, and occasionally violent, and roaming about (informed
by the mother.)
(Signed,) (Name,) JAS. M. MADDEN,
(Place of abode.) Heavitree, Devon
Dated this third day of December, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven.
On the copies of these admission papers being sent to the Office of the Commissioners in Lunacy, they were returned to the Clerk of the
Asylum, with the facts observed by the medical man, underlined with red ink, and marked ‘‘too vague,’’ ‘‘improper expressions no proof of
insanity.’’ On this we directed the Clerk to return them to the Commissioners with the following letter:—
Sched. (F.) No. 3.
COPY.] Devon County Lunatic Asylum,
(A) Exminster, 22nd Sept, 1857.
M____ A____ C____ L____
Sir,—I am desired by Dr. Bucknill to return you the enclosed admission papers, and to communicate to you his opinion that he was justified in
admitting the patients upon them, since the facts stated, as observed by the Certifying Medical Practitioner, appear to him fully to satisfy the
requirements of the act.
I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,
(Signed,) WILLIAM MORGAN, Jun., Clerk.
To John Foster, Esq., Secretary Commissioners in Lunacy.
To this, the following reply was returned from the Commissioners’ Office:—
COPY.] Office of Commissioners in Lunacy,
10, Whitehall Place, (S.W.,)
M____ A____ C____ L____
Sir,—I am directed by the Board, in reply to your letter of the 22nd inst., to state that they retain their opinion, that the certificates relating to
these patients are not such as legally justify their detention in the Devon Asylum; and they request that this opinion may be kept in view, in case
any proceedings should be taken hereafter in reference to the subject.
I am, Sir, your obedient Servant,
23rd Sept., 1857.
Mr. Wm. Morgan, County Lunatic Asylum, Exminster, near Exeter
The circumstances and correspondence having been brought before the Board of Visitors at their next meeting, the following resolution was
passed, and there the matter at present rests.
‘‘A correspondence having been laid before the Committee, between the Commissioners in Lunacy and the Clerk, relating to the certificates
in the cases of M____ A____, and C____ L____,
‘‘Resolved: that in the opinion of the Visitors, the certificates appear to be correct; and the patients being of unsound mind, the Visitors do
not consider it their duty to discharge them.’’
J. C. B.
Researched by Trevor H. Turner, Consultant Psychiatrist, Homerton Hospital, London
Asylum Journal of Mental Science, January 1858, vol. IV, 315–316.
The British Journal of Psychiatry (2008)
192, 123. doi: 10.1192/bjp.192.2.123