Dissociation in Borderline Personality Disorder: A Detailed Look
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The objective of the present study was to assess in detail the whole spectrum of normal and pathological dissociative experiences and dissociative disorder (DD) diagnoses in borderline personality disorder (BPD) as diagnosed with the Revised Diagnostic Interview for Borderlines. Dissociation was measured comprehensively in 21 BPD outpatients using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Dissociative Disorders-Revised, the Multidimensional Inventory of Dissociation (MID), the Dissociative Experiences Scale pathological taxon analysis, and the Somatoform Dissociation Questionnaire. The frequencies of DDs in this BPD sample were as follows: 24% no DD, 29% mild DD (dissociative amnesia and depersonalization disorder), 24% DD Not Otherwise Specified (DDNOS), and 24% dissociative identity disorder. With regard to the dissociative experiences endorsed, almost all patients reported identity confusion, unexplained mood changes, and depersonalization. Even those BPD patients with mild DD reported derealization, depersonalization, and dissociative amnesia. BPD patients with DDNOS reported frequent depersonalization, frequent amnesia, and notable experiences of identity alteration. BPD patients with dissociative identity disorder endorsed severe dissociative symptoms in all categories. Analysis of the MID pathological dissociation items revealed that 32% of the items were endorsed at a clinically significant level of frequency by more than 50% of our BPD patients. In conclusion, the frequencies of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.) DDs in these patients with BPD were surprisingly high. Likewise, the "average" BPD patient endorsed a wide variety of recurrent pathological dissociative symptoms.
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