This video examines the similarities and differences between Complex PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder. Most traumatic events (e.g., car accidents, natural disasters, etc.) are of time-limited duration. However, some people experience continuous trauma that repeats for months or years. Individuals who experience chronic trauma often report additional symptoms in addition to formal PTSD symptoms, such as changes in their self-concept and the way they adapt to stressful events. These issues often mimic features or criteria associated with BPD.
Complex PTSD, or Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified, is used to describe the symptoms of long-term trauma. Research indicates that 92% of individuals with Complex PTSD/DESNOS also met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, Complex PTSD was not added as a separate diagnosis classification to the DSM-5.
Because people who experience chronic trauma often have additional symptoms not included in the PTSD diagnosis, MHP may misdiagnose PTSD or only diagnose a personality disorder consistent with some symptoms, such as Borderline or Dependent Personality Disorder.
It’s important to understand whether symptoms are characteristic of PTSD or if the individual has co-occurring PTSD and a personality disorder.
Daniel J. Fox, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist in Texas, international speaker, and award winning author. He has been specializing in the treatment and assessment of individuals with personality disorders for over 15 years in the state and federal prison system, universities, and in private practice. His specialty areas include personality disorders, ethics, burnout prevention, and emotional intelligence.
He has published several articles in these areas and is the author of:
The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook: An Integrative Program to Understand and Manage Your BPD –COMING SOON–
Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic and Histrionic Workbook: Treatment Strategies for Cluster B Personality Disorders (IPBA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award Winner):
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Toolbox: 55 Practical Treatment Techniques for Clients, Their Parents & Their Children:
The Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment of Personality Disorders:
Dr. Fox has been teaching and supervising students for over 15 years at various universities across the United States, some of which include West Virginia University, Texas A&M University, University of Houston, Sam Houston State University, and Florida State University. He is currently a staff psychologist in the federal prison system, Adjunct Assistant Professor at University of Houston, as well as maintaining a private practice that specializes in the assessment and treatment of individuals with complex psychopathology and personality disorders.
Dr. Fox has given numerous workshops and seminars on ethics and personality disorders, personality disorders and crime, treatment solutions for treating clients along the antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personality spectrum, emotional intelligence, managing mental health within the prison system, and others. Dr. Fox maintains a website of various treatment interventions focused on working with and attenuating the symptomatology related to individuals along the antisocial, borderline, narcissistic, and histrionic personality spectrum (www.drdfox.com).
Dr. Fox’s website:
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Cattane, N., Rossi, R., Lanfredi, M. and Cattaneo, A. (2017). Borderline personality disorder and childhood trauma: exploring the affected biological systems and mechanisms. Biomedical Central, 17: 1-14.
Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books.
Markowitz, J. C., Petkova, E., Neria, Y., Van Meter, P. E., Zhao, Y., Hembree, E., & Marshall, R. D. (2015). Is Exposure Necessary? A Randomized Clinical Trial of Interpersonal Psychotherapy for PTSD. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(5), 430–440.
Roth, S., Newman, E., Pelcovitz, D., van der Kolk, B., & Mandel, F. S. (1997). Complex PTSD in victims exposed to sexual and physical abuse: Results from the DSM-IV field trial for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 10, 539-555.