Borderline Personality Disorder as a Maturational Failure of the Right brain
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a severe disturbance of personality-functioning. It is characterised by affect and impulse-control disturbances associated with deficits in emotion regulation, as well as a pervasive pattern in self-image and persistent difficulties in interpersonal relationships. Current models of the aetiology and adaptive dysfunction of BPD are now converging as an attachment disorder that formed in the first years of life. These patients commonly experienced abusive and neglectful developmental backgrounds, a growth-inhibiting relational environment not only for social-emotional development but for early brain maturation.
Models of developmental psychopathology suggest that borderline attachment histories alter the development of regulatory cortical-sub-cortical limbic-autonomic circuits of the early developing right brain. In line with these models, a number of recent neurobiological studies now show right brain and orbitofrontal deficits in BPD patients. The clinical relevance of this documented maturational failure for diagnosis and treatment is discussed in the light of research.