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Author Topic: What is the cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?  (Read 37378 times)
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It's a strange game when the only move .... is not

« Reply #10 on: June 08, 2008, 10:12:55 AM »

It's also important to remember that not all people with BPD have a history of abuse/neglect/abandonment.  

That's hard to see, because the perspective of BPD is often one of victimization (e.g. they perceive they've been victimized all the time - current and past).  Personality disorders, in general, are a condition where there isn't a clear path of "disease" like:  a + b = personality disorder.  Maybe someday, as brain research gets better.



This board is intended for general questions about BPD and other personality disorders, trait definitions, and related therapies and diagnostics. Topics should be formatted as a question.

Please do not host topics related to the specific pwBPD in your life - those discussions should be hosted on an appropraite [L1] - [L4] board.

You will find indepth information provided by our senior members in our workshop board discussions (click here).

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« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2008, 07:34:23 PM »

So, one of the new and interesting developments in recent science is the field of Epigenetics. What researchers have discovered that environment influences gene expression. This means that there are alot of genes that are more like switches, with two or more positions and that they can be switched on and off by environmental factors. This is may be why some abused people and up ok and others end up with a personality disorder.

So it appears that environment and genetics are two interdependant factors, that may even be flexible throughout life.
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« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2008, 11:04:26 PM »

BPD results from the combination of a sensitive emotional nature (inborn) along with an invalidating environment.  The environment does not have to be abusive in order to be invalidating.  The parent and child may simply be a poor fit.

My niece, for instance, was diagnosed with BPD.  There was some sort of trauma at her birth... a lack of oxygen.  She was developmentally slow, but the doctors did not really acknowledge it.  Anyway, I'm saying she was 'different' and it was difficult to be validating for her.  Just your normal, run of the mill environment was invalidating for her... because she was different from the get go and this was never appropriately addressed and compensated for.
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2008, 05:27:22 PM »

This has been alluded to in this thread, but I'm not sure it has been stated outright.  Environment affects physiology.  Children brought up in more stressful situations, with abuse, war, violence around them, actually produce different (or different amounts of) neurotransmitters and hormones.  Those neurotransmitters and hormones do affect their bodies physiologically and usually permanently.

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« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2008, 08:02:54 AM »


Heritability of borderline personality disorder features is similar across three countries.

Distel MA, Trull TJ, Derom CA, Thiery EW, Grimmer MA, Martin NG, Willemsen G, Boomsma DI.

Department of Biological Psychology, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. ma.distel@psy.vu.nl

BACKGROUND: Most of our knowledge about borderline personality disorder features has been obtained through the study of clinical samples. Although these studies are important in their own right, they are limited in their ability to address certain important epidemiological and aetiological questions such as the degree to which there is a genetic influence on the manifestation of borderline personality disorder features. Though family history studies of borderline personality disorder indicate genetic influences, there have been very few twin studies and the degree of genetic influence on borderline personality disorder remains unclear.

METHOD: Data were drawn from twin samples from The Netherlands (n=3918), Belgium (n=904) and Australia (n=674). In total, data were available on 5496 twins between the ages of 18 and 86 years from 3644 families who participated in the study by completion of a mailed self-report questionnaire on borderline personality disorder features.

RESULTS: In all countries, females scored higher than males and there was a general tendency for younger adults to endorse more borderline personality disorder features than older adults. Model-fitting results showed that additive genetic influences explain 42% of the variation in borderline personality disorder features in both men and women and that this heritability estimate is similar across The Netherlands, Belgium and Australia. Unique environmental influences explain the remaining 58% of the variance.

CONCLUSION: Genetic factors play a role in individual differences in borderline personality disorder features in Western society.
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« Reply #15 on: November 13, 2008, 10:16:33 PM »

Many mental disorders is based on a stress-diathesis model - a combination of risk factors involving genetic, biological factors and environmental stressors eventually reach a "tipping" point where the development of a mental disorder occurs.  

One can have a lot of biological factors and not need many environmental stressors to develop and another individual might have a lot of environmental stressors without quite as many biological factors and still develop the disorder.  

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« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2009, 06:04:38 AM »

Wanted to add this recent information to the discussion:

Possible Genetic Causes Of Borderline Personality Disorder Identified

ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2008) — According to the National Institute of Mental Health, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is more common than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and is estimated to affect 2 percent of the population. In a new study, a University of Missouri researcher and Dutch team of research collaborators found that genetic material on chromosome nine was linked to BPD features, a disorder characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image and behavior, and can lead to suicidal behavior, substance abuse and failed relationships.

“The results of this study hopefully will bring researchers closer to determining the genetic causes of BPD and may have important implications for treatment programs in the future,” said Timothy Trull, professor of psychology in the MU College of Arts and Science. “Localizing and identifying the genes that influence the development of BPD will not only be important for scientific purposes, but will also have clinical implications.”

In an ongoing study of the health and lifestyles of families with twins in the Netherlands, Trull and colleagues examined 711 pairs of siblings and 561 parents to identify the location of genetic traits that influences the manifestation of BPD. The researchers conducted a genetic linkage analysis of the families and identified chromosomal regions that could contain genes that influence the development of BPD. Trull found the strongest evidence for a genetic influence on BPD features on chromosome nine.

In a previous study, Trull and research colleagues examined data from 5,496 twins in the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia to assess the extent of genetic influence on the manifestation of BPD features. The research team found that 42 percent of variation in BPD features was attributable to genetic influences and 58 percent was attributable to environmental influences, and this was consistent across the three countries. In addition, Trull and colleagues found that there was no significant difference in heritability rates between men and women, and that young adults displayed more BPD features then older adults.

“We were able to provide precise estimates of the genetic influence on BPD features, test for differences between the sexes, and determine if our estimates were consistent across three different countries,” Trull said. “Our results suggest that genetic factors play a major role in individual differences of borderline personality disorder features in Western society.”

Journal references:

   1. Distel et al. Chromosome 9: linkage for borderline personality disorder features. Psychiatric Genetics, 2008; 18 (6): 302 DOI: 10.1097/YPG.0b013e3283118468

   2. Distel et al. Heritability of borderline personality disorder features is similar across three countries. Psychological Medicine, 2008; 38 (9): DOI: 10.1017/S0033291707002024


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« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2009, 10:16:46 PM »

Great information Skip. Thanks!

"If your're going through hell, keep going..." Winston Churchill
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« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2009, 07:01:16 PM »

Very helpful Skip!  Is there research data that has measured the prevalance of BPD in children born to BPD mothers?

Of course there are individual cases of BPD children with BPD mothers, but I was wondering if there was national data that provides a % number.
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« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2009, 08:21:54 PM »

Psychopathology in offspring of mothers with borderline personality disorder: a pilot study.

Children of mothers with borderline personality disorder (BPD) were hypothesized to be at greater risk for psychopathology, particularly impulse spectrum disorders, than children of mothers with other personality disorders.

METHOD:Twenty-one index children were compared with 23 children of mothers with a nonborderline personality disorder. Diagnoses were obtained using the Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Episodic Version (KSADS-E) and the Child Diagnostic Interview for BPD (CDIB), and functioning was rated with the Child Global Assessment Schedule (CGAS). Physical, sexual, and verbal abuse, as well as family violence and placements, were also assessed.

RESULTS: The children of the borderline mothers, as compared with controls, had more psychiatric diagnoses, more impulse control disorders, a higher frequency of child BPD, and lower CGAS scores. There were no differences between the groups for trauma.

CONCLUSION:The offspring of borderline mothers are at high risk for psychopathology.

Weiss M1, Zelkowitz P, Feldman RB, Vogel J, Heyman M, Paris J., Can J Psychiatry. 1996 Jun;41(5):285-90.


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