Helping mothers with the emotional dysregulation of borderline personality disorder and their infants in primary care settings

Aust Fam Physician. 2017 Sep;46(9):669-672.


Background: Six per cent of patients who present to primary care have borderline personality disorder (BPD). Mothers with full or partial features of BPD, often undiagnosed and perhaps previously functioning adequately enough on the surface, may rapidly be-come emotionally dysregulated by the normal needs of an infant. Family and maternal functioning can rapidly destabilise. Management of patients with BPD in primary care may be challenging.

Objective: The objectives of this article are to provide primary care practitioners with relevant information on current knowledge of BPD and its management when mothers with BPD are caregivers to an infant.

Discussion: Useful guidelines for general practitioners that can help women who are emotionally dysregulated with infants include: keeping the diagnosis in mind openly discussing BPD diagnosis where relevant providing psychoeducational material and ongoing support to the woman and her familyreferring to specialised services for BPD referring to standard maternal-child health services and specialised .infant mental health services ongoing communication with other services and supervision for the practitioner.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Borderline Personality Disorder / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mental Health Services
  • Mothers / psychology*
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / etiology