To establish the point prevalence of hallucinations in borderline personality disorder (BPD), telephone interviews were conducted with 324 outpatients diagnosed with BPD. Then a subgroup (n = 98) was interviewed in person to investigate the co-occurrence of these phenomena with other psychotic symptoms, comorbid psychiatric disorders, prior childhood adversities, and adult life stressors. For hallucinations in general a point prevalence of 43% was found, with rates for hallucinations in separate sensory modalities ranging from 8-21%. Auditory verbal hallucinations consisted mostly of verbal abuse and were generally experienced as distressing. A significant association was found between the severity of hallucinations on the one hand, and delusions and unusual thought content on the other; this association was absent for negative symptoms and disorganization. The presence of hallucinations also correlated with the number of comorbid psychiatric disorders, and with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) specifically. Childhood emotional abuse and adult life stressors were also associated with hallucinations. The latter three associations suggest that patients with BPD might have an etiological mechanism in common with other patient/nonpatient groups who experience hallucinations. Based on these findings, we advise to treat PTSD and hallucinations when found to be present in patients with BPD.
- AUDITORY VERBAL HALLUCINATIONS
- PSYCHOTIC SYMPTOMS