Misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder as borderline personality disorder: Clinical and economic consequences
We report the case of a 26-year-old patient with bipolar spectrum disorder who was misdiagnosed with borderline personality disorder. In spite of trials of various psychotropic drugs and frequent, prolonged hospitalizations, the patient had remained chronically symptomatic. Following a detailed examination of the longitudinal illness course and confirmation of the diagnosis of bipolar spectrum disorder, antidepressants were discontinued and the patient was treated with lamotrigine and quetiapine. This treatment resulted in sustained euthymia and cessation of deliberate self-harm in addition to a significant reduction in utilization of health resources.
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ABSTRACT: The association between mood disorders and personality disorders (PDs) is complicated clinically, conceptually, and neurobiologically. There is a need for recommendations to assist clinicians in treating these frequently encountered patients.
The literature was reviewed with the purpose of identifying clinically relevant themes. MedLine searches were supplemented with manual review of the references in relevant papers. From the extant evidence, consensus-based recommendations for clinical practice were developed.
Key issues were identified with regards to the overlap of PDs and mood disorders, including whether certain personality features predispose to mood disorders, whether PDs can reliably be recognized if there is an Axis I disorder present, whether personality disturbances arise as a consequence or are a forme fruste of mood disorders, and whether personality traits or disorders modify treatment responsiveness and outcome of mood disorders.
This paper describes consensus-based clinical recommendations that arise from a consideration of how signals from the literature can impact clinical practice in the treatment of patients with comorbid mood and personality pathology. Additional treatment studies of patients with the comorbid conditions are required to further inform clinical practice.
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ABSTRACT: Objective: There is much debate over whether borderline personality disorder (BPD) belongs to the bipolar spectrum. The diagnosis of bipolar disorder (BD) in BPD patients, and conversely, BPD in BD patients is common, indicating prevalent co-morbidity, as well as potential misdiagnosis in either group. BD and BPD are often indistinguishable given the core characteristics of emotional dysregulation and impulsivity that feature in both. However, it may be argued that the manifestation of these characteristics in the two groups is different, and that the symptoms are driven by distinct aetiological factors. The primary objective of this paper was to examine where potential areas of discrimination lie between BD and BPD. Methods: A literature search was conducted using MEDLINE and PubMed databases to identify studies that have researched BD and BPD across the recognised domains of emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, childhood trauma, and their putative neurobiological substrates. Results: Research comparing BD and BPD patients on self-report measures is limited, and no studies have examined their neurobiological underpinnings in the same design. One possible differentiating variable is childhood trauma which shapes the circumstances in which emotional dysregulation and impulsivity are triggered, the types of behaviours exhibited, and the frequency and duration of mood states. There is growing evidence that childhood trauma not only predisposes individuals to both disorders, but also modulates the clinical expression and course of bipolar illness, particularly rapid cycling BD, a form of bipolarity that resembles the clinical profile of BPD, yet presents quite distinctly from other BD subtypes. Conclusions: This paper provides an overview of BD and BPD with respect to emotional dysregulation, impulsivity, childhood factors, and neurobiological substrates. Based on findings predominantly within the independent areas of BD and BPD, it tentatively provides an integrated behavioural, aetiological and neurobiological approach for investigating the question of whether BPD belongs to the bipolar spectrum.
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