The Emerging Circadian Phenotype of Borderline Personality Disorder: Mechanisms, Opportunities and Future Directions
McGowan NM., Saunders KEA.
Purpose of Review: We review the recent evidence suggesting that circadian rhythm disturbance is a common unaddressed feature of borderline personality disorder (BPD); amelioration of which may confer substantial clinical benefit. We assess chronobiological BPD studies from a mechanistic and translational perspective and highlight opportunities for the future development of this hypothesis. Recent Findings: The emerging circadian phenotype of BPD is characterised by a preponderance of comorbid circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, phase delayed and misaligned rest-activity patterns and attenuated amplitudes of usually well-characterised circadian rhythms. Such disturbances may exacerbate symptom severity, and specific maladaptive personality dimensions may produce a liability towards extremes in chronotype. Pilot studies suggest intervention may be beneficial, but development is limited. Summary: Endogenous and exogenous circadian rhythm disturbances appear to be common in BPD. The interface between psychiatry and chronobiology has led previously to novel efficacious strategies for the treatment of psychiatric disorders. We believe that better characterisation of the circadian phenotype in BPD will lead to a directed biological target for treatment in a condition where there is a regrettable paucity of accessible therapies.