Borderline Personality Disorder and Somatoform Disorders

Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by difficulties with emotion regulation. Persons with BPD may have intense emotions, histories of suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts or self-harm, and intense relationships characterized by conflict and/or fears of abandonment. The somatoform disorders (also known as somatic symptom disorders) are mental health disorders that manifest as physical symptoms, but are unexplained by a medical condition (or better explained by another mental illness). This includes hypochondriasis.

A recent meta-analysis examined the overlap in the two disorders. The authors examined 34 studies from 1980 to the present, and looked at persons who had symptoms of both disorders. Among persons diagnosed with BPD, they found that about 30% also had a somatoform disorder. Among persons diagnosed with a somatoform disorder, 14% also had BPD.

Tanner Oliver