Research on Subtypes of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with many different signs and symptoms. In order to be diagnosed with BPD, a person must meet five of a total of nine diagnostic criteria, which means that one person’s BPD may look very different from another person’s BPD.This makes some experts wonder whether different types of borderline personalities really exist.

BPD subtypes in popular media

In popular media and popular psychology books, there has been a lot of discussion about different BPD subtypes.For example, in her book Understanding marginal mothersDr. Christine Lawson described the four subtypes of BPD mothers: Waif (helpless), Hermit (fear/avoidance), Queen (control) and Witch (sadism).

exist A basic family guide for borderline personality disorder Randi Kreger divides BPD patients into low-function/traditional types and high-function/invisible types.

The traditional type is described as having many self-destructive behaviors, requiring frequent hospitalization, and very low function, which means that he or she may not be able to work or go to school. The author calls this self-destructive behavior “action”, and this idea is related to the concept of internalized symptoms.

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In contrast, the invisible type is described as working well in most situations, but performing a lot of “performance” behaviors, such as insulting, criticizing others, or becoming violent. This description is very related to the concept of externalized symptoms.

These BPD subtypes in popular literature are derived from the author’s own expert opinions on the existence of different types of borderline personalities. Recently, researchers have tried to use quantitative methods to describe the subtypes of BPD. Research on this subject paints a more complex picture.

Subtype research

Research on the existence of BPD subtypes is mixed.

Some studies have found that BPD can be regarded as a unified diagnostic entity without a clear subtype. But other studies have identified some subtypes of BPD.

A study examined borderline personality types based on the pattern of co-occurring personality problems, and identified three subtypes of BPD, which map to the three personality disorder clusters in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: cluster A, cluster B And Group C. People in group A tend to be paranoid and eccentric, people in group B tend to have more dramatic or arrogant personalities, and people in group C tend to be more scared.

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Another study examining the BPD subtypes of adolescent boys and girls with BPD found reliable subtypes in girls, but not in boys. Girls with BPD tend to fall into one of the following categories: high-functioning internalization, depression internalization, drama and anger externalization.

The third study found three subtypes of BPD: internalization, internalization of severe anxiety, and externalization of anxiety.Interestingly, these last two studies indicate that the distinction between internalized and externalized symptoms and between high and low functions may be an important issue in BPD, and may have verified some of the topics on this topic to a certain extent. Popular psychology literature.

Due to the inconsistency of the research literature, more research on this topic is needed.

Significance of BPD treatment

At least one study found that individuals with different manifestations of BPD may respond differently to treatment. In this study, individuals with severely disordered internalization subtypes did not see improvement in symptoms after treatment, while individuals with anxiety externalization and internalization subtypes did.

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This suggests that the prognosis of BPD may vary depending on the subtype to which the individual belongs. However, before we can make any definite decisions about different treatment responses, more research is needed.


Research on Subtypes of Borderline Personality Disorder
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