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Depression and borderline personality disorder

This is a republished version of an article previously published in MJA Open

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness characterised by dysregulation of emotions and impulses, an unstable and inconsistent sense of self and of others in close relationships, and marked difficulties in interpersonal relationships, often accompanied by suicidal and self-harming behaviour.

The instability of emotions and predominance of negative affect that characterise BPD often lead to problems determining whether the patient has major depression co-occurring with BPD, or whether the depressive symptoms are part and parcel of the BPD itself. In this article, we aim to assist clinicians facing this situation to make an accurate diagnosis.

To prepare the article, we searched PsychInfo and MEDLINE databases for articles published between 2000 and 2012 relating to BPD co-occurring with major depression, other depressive disorders, or bipolar disorder. Review articles and those involving randomised controlled trials of treatment were particularly sought. Book chapters relevant to the search criteria were also examined.

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