Differentiating between borderline personality disorder and autism spectrum disorder
evidence and practice    

Differentiating between borderline personality disorder and autism spectrum disorder

Chris Gordon Clinical Lead for Personality Disorder, Personality Disorder Service, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Yeovil, England
Mark Lewis Personality Disorder Locality Lead, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Wells, England
David Knight Nurse Specialist in Autism, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Bridgwater, England
Emma Salter Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Specialty Doctor, Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Bridgwater, England

Why you should read this article
  • To enhance your knowledge of the similarities and differences between borderline personality disorder (BPD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

  • To assist you in developing effective treatment and management plans for people with BPD and/or ASD

  • To understand the complexities involved in diagnosing and managing people with co-morbid BPD and ASD

One of the main issues that people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience is that they find emotional and relational interactions challenging.

This article reviews the available literature on the similarities and differences between BPD and ASD, and aims to raise awareness of the complexity of co-morbid presentations. This is important because, if a person’s diagnosis is inaccurate or incomplete, their treatment may be ineffective or inappropriate. The authors provide practical guidelines to assist front-line mental health practitioners in diagnosing BPD and/or ASD, thereby enabling them to develop appropriate and effective management plans. These guidelines were drawn from the available literature and the authors’ experience in clinical practice. When BPD and ASD co-occur, a formulation approach should be used to provide person-centred care, rather than an assessment approach that simply defines the issues a person is experiencing.

Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1456

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

chris.gordon@sompar.nhs.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Gordon C, Lewis M, Knight D et al (2020) Differentiating between borderline personality disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Mental Health Practice. doi: 10.7748/mhp.2020.e1456

Published online: 17 March 2020