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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 61 (2019) 2, 121 - 125

Review article

Diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in women with suicidality and characteristics of borderline personality disorder

S.A. Bringmann, P.E. Maidman

background In reaction to two patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (bpd) who were admitted for suicidality and whose treatment was stagnating, we hypothesised that these women had an autism spectrum disorder (asd) as an underlying cause for both the persistent suicidality and the characteristics of bpd.
aim To investigate 1. whether bpd characteristics and asd can co-occur, 2. what the phenotype of asd in women is, and 3. how suicidality presents itself in women with asd.
method A search was made in the English, German and Dutch literature up to October 2017.
results In approximately 10% of the women diagnosed with bpd there is asd and vice versa. The phenotype of women with asd can be missed and suicide attempts are frequent in asd.
conclusion In case of atypical presentation and persistent suicidality in women with bpd characteristics, it is relevant to include asd in the differential diagnosis so that treatment can be adjusted accordingly.

keywords autism spectrum disorder, borderline spectrum disorder, suicidality