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Clinical study of the relation of borderline personality disorder to Briquet's syndrome (hysteria), somatization disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and substance abuse disorders [published erratum appears in Am J Psychiatry 1997 Jan;154(1):139]
Am J Psychiatry 1996;153:1598-1606.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: The criteria for borderline personality disorder seem to select patients with very high rates of Briquet's syndrome (hysteria), somatization disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and substance abuse disorders. This study was undertaken to determine whether systematic assessment of patients with borderline personality disorder would reveal characteristic features of that condition which would distinguish it from these other disorders. METHOD: Eighty-seven white female patients (75 in St. Louis and 12 in Milan, Italy) who had borderline personality disorder according to both the DSM-III-R criteria and the Revised Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines were further examined with the DSM-III-R Checklist and the Perley-Guze Hysteria Checklist to determine their patterns of psychiatric comorbidity. RESULTS: Every patient had at least one additional DSM diagnosis. Patients in St. Louis and Milan averaged five and four additional diagnoses, respectively. Eighty-four percent of the patients in St. Louis met criteria for either somatization disorder, Briquet's syndrome, antisocial personality disorder, or substance abuse disorders. Patterns of comorbidity for panic (51%), generalized anxiety disorder (55%), and major depression (87%) in St. Louis were consistent with those in other studies. CONCLUSIONS: The data indicate that the boundaries for the borderline condition are not specific and identify a high percentage of patients with these other disorders. Furthermore, the comorbidity profiles closely resemble the psychiatric profiles of patients with these disorders. If the borderline syndrome is meant to include all of these disorders, its usefulness as a diagnosis is limited. Until the fundamental features of borderline personality disorder that distinguish it from the others are identified, it is recommended that clinicians carefully assess patients for these other diagnoses. Efforts should be made to change the borderline personality disorder criteria by shifting away from overlap with the criteria for the other disorders.

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