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Diagnostic Criteria

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So what is the DSM?

The DSM – The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – is a handbook considered to be the authoritative, definitive guide to the diagnosis of recognised mental disorders for health care professionals in the US, the UK, and most of the world. It contains descriptions, symptoms and other factors for diagnosing mental disorders and facilitates communication in a common language, and consistent reliable diagnoses to aid research into mental disorders. It also supports the study and development of future medications and treatments.

The DSM was first published in 1952 and is periodically revised to take forward new research and knowledge into mental disorders.

At what age is BPD recognised?

A personality disorder is a type of mental illness and to be diagnosed particular criteria must be met. With personality disorders, the symptoms have usually been present for a long time. BPD is not usually diagnosed before adolescence. It has been suggested that BPD symptoms can sometimes improve as time goes on or even disappear altogether. This is not always the case however as BPD can continue to affect sufferers well into later life. The full range of BPD symptoms most commonly appear during the teenage years and early adulthood. Diagnosis is difficult in children, and in some individuals the symptoms may not become obvious until mid to late life.

How often does BPD present, does it affect everyday living?

After the symptoms of BPD start, they may increase in frequency, severity and range, especially if they are left untreated. These symptoms have an overall negative affect on the sufferer’s life and often occur sporadically during stretches of otherwise fairly normal behaviour. Episodes are frequently triggered by stressful situations such as separations, changing schools, starting college or a new job, arguments with people close to the sufferer such as parents and partners, moving house etc.