Borderline Personality Disorder in Young People: Are We There Yet?

J Clin Psychol. 2015 Aug;71(8):778-91. doi: 10.1002/jclp.22205. Epub 2015 Jul 20.


Although borderline personality disorder (BPD) usually has its onset in young people, its diagnosis and treatment is often delayed. The past 2 decades have seen a rapid increase in evidence establishing that BPD can be diagnosed before 18 years of age and that BPD in young people is both continuous with BPD in adults and more notable for its similarities than for any differences. This knowledge has led to the first wave of controlled treatment trials, which have established that early intervention through appropriate BPD diagnosis and treatment leads to clinically meaningful improvements for patients. However, there is still much work to do in terms of treatment development and innovation and overcoming challenges to successful translation of evidence into practice. To advance early intervention for BPD, access to evidence-based treatments needs to improve, the variety of available treatments (including novel pharmacotherapies) needs to increase, treatments need to be matched to individual development and to the phase and stage of disorder, and workforce development strategies need to update knowledge, culture, and practice in relation to BPD in young people.

Keywords: adolescent; borderline personality disorder; early intervention; prevention; treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / diagnosis
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Evidence-Based Practice
  • Humans
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychotherapy / methods*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic