Overlaps and differences in the symptomatology of patients with
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and patients with borderline
Background: Patients with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD) and patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) show
symptomatic overlaps. They both suffer from deficits in emotional
regulation, are impulsive and have problems with their self-concept.
Therefore, a precise diagnostic differentiation is of great importance.
The aim of this study was to find symptom overlaps and differences in
patients with ADHD and BPD. Methods: 80 patients with ADHD, 55 patients
with BPD and 55 healthy controls were examined regarding their ADHD and
BPD symptoms and their degree of emotional dysregulation using
self-report instruments. Results: Patients with ADHD and patients with
BPD did not differ significantly in their expression of emotional
dysregulation. However, the ADHD patients showed higher scores in
impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity, whereas the group with BPD
showed higher scores in self-concept problems and suicidal behaviour.
The two clinical groups showed significantly higher scores in emotional
dysregulation and all other symptom domains compared to the control
group. Conclusion: The symptom overlap in emotional dysregulation yields
implications for both further research and diagnosis of ADHD. Further
studies should define emotional dysregulation consistently in order to
examine the same construct.