Advocacy & Support for

Borderline Personality Disorder
& Complex Trauma

Coexisting Conditions

On the page we will include resources relating to BPD and coexisting conditions.

The term 'coexisting disorders' (sometimes referred to as comorbidity) describes the presence of two or more conditions occurring in the same person.  These may be other mental health issues or physical illnesses.

The evidence base around this is fortunately increasing.

Coexisting mental health conditions are extremely common in people with BPD, with the symptoms of other diagnoses often overlapping. So it is important that they are diagnosed correctly and managed actively keeping in mind that the existence of another condition does not necessarily mean that they should be treated separately.

The most common coexisting mental health conditions associated with BPD include the following:

  • Major depressive disorder (35-85%)
  • Dysthymic disorder (25-65%)
  • Bipolar affective disorder (5-15%)
  • Generalised anxiety disorder (10-22%)
  • Panic disorder (30-50%)
  • Agoraphobia (10-35%)
  • Social phobia (25-50%)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (35-55%)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (15-25%)
  • Eating disorder (30-50%)
  • Substance use disorder (20-65%)
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (16-38%) (National Health and Medical Research Council 2012, Bateman and Krawitz 2013, Tomko, Trull et al. 2014)

People with BPD can often meet the criteria for another personality disorder with the most common being:

  • Avoidant personality disorder (35-47%)
  • Dependent personality disorder (40-50%)
  • Paranoid personality disorder (20-30%)
  • Antisocial personality disorder (15-25%, likely to be higher in forensic and prison services) (Bateman and Krawitz 2013) (McGlashan, Grilo et al. 2000, Zimmerman, Rothschild et al. 2005, Tomko, Trull et al. 2014).
  • BPD is less associated with schizoid, histrionic and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders (Zimmerman, Rothschild et al. 2005).

It is common for people with BPD to meet the criteria for one or more mental health disorders over the course of their life.

Narcissistic personality disorder

Interview with a Narcissist - Grandiose yet fragile: Virtual conference about Pathological narcissism (mentions self-harm)

Complex PTSD (cPTSD) / PTSD

What is the Difference Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)?: Todd Grande

Borderline Personality Disorder and Complex PTSD: Differentiation and Treatment: Lois W. Choi-Kain,

Developmental Trauma - a term used to describe the impact of early, repeated trauma and loss which happens within the child’s important relationships, and usually early in life.  Resources from Beacon House (UK). 

Many people who have experienced trauma also experience dissociation.  This webinar from McLean Hospital (USA) discusses 'Reducing the Impact of Dissociative Identity Disorder'.

Eating Disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder - Lady Diana, Marilyn Monroe and possibly a patient seeing you  (podcast)

The Embrace Collective - helping Australian school children learn how to embrace their bodies.  

Eating Disorders Victoria - information for people concerned about themselves, or somebody else and clinicians

The Victorian Centre of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) - a state-wide program for the provision of quality services to those with eating disorders and their families. Includes core skills eLearning for GPs and mental health professionals

Working with Eating Disorders and Personality Disorders -  a webinar discussing strategies to conceptualise and work with co-occurring personality disorders and eating disorders.

Substance Use Disorder

Project Air Strategy Webinar/MHPN: Personality Disorders and Substance Use: Tips on effective treatment approaches