Personality disorders are going
undiagnosed in the NHS and in the prison service, the chair of the
NICE Borderline Personality Disorder Group has said.
Speaking at a landmark conference in London
today, psychiatrist Dr Tim Kendall calls for more training to help
mental health professionals recognise and treat personality
disorders, and to help with prevention by helping parents and
children at an early stage.
The conference on the roots and origins of
personality disorder in childhood has been organised by the Royal
College of Psychiatrists' Education and
Training Centre. It is being held on the day that NICE (the
National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) launches two
new sets of guidance on borderline personality disorder and
antisocial personality disorder.
Dr Kendall, who is also joint director of the
National Collaborating Centre for Mental
Health, said: “Two million people in the UK are affected by
personality disorder and, as a group, cost a great deal to the NHS,
to society and to the individual. However, personality disorders
are not being recognised and are often undiagnosed within the
NHS and the criminal justice system.
“Personality disorders have often been thought
of as untreatable and frequently stigmatised by professionals and
the public alike. This is simply wrong. People with personality
disorders can be helped, especially adults and adolescents with
borderline personality disorder, and there is more and more
evidence that helping children and their parents early on can
prevent the progression to personality disorders in later
Personality disorders are most frequently
characterised by disturbed interpersonal relationships, a history
of fractured families, emotional neglect and, at times, abusive
experiences. They are commonly associated with a wide range of
other mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, alcohol
and drug misuse, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress
Dr Kendall added: “People with personality
disorders are a very vulnerable group whose needs for health and
social care have been ignored and shunned for far too long; and far
too little has been done to help children and there families in
prevention programmes at an earlier stage. That is why this
conference is so timely and so important. Unless attitudes change
within prisons, the health service and amongst the wider
public, this long-suffering group will continue to
For further information, please
McLoughlin in the Communications Department.
Telephone: 0203 701 2544 or 07738 349070
The Roots and Origins of Personality Disorder conference, London, 28 January 2009
Note to editors:
The Roots and Origins of Personality Disorder conference is the first in a series of three children’s mental health conferences being organised by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 2009. Forthcoming conferences will focus on ADHD (30 April 2009) and depression (2 July 2009).