Advances and New Directions

By Silvano Arieti; H. Keith H. Brodie | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11

THE DIAGNOSIS AND
TREATMENT OF BORDERLINE
SYNDROMES OF CHILDHOOD

Jules R. Bemporad

Graeme Hanson

Henry F. Smith


¶ Introduction

THE POSSIBILITY of borderline conditions occurring before adolescence is a relatively recent concept in child psychiatry. No such official diagnosis exists for the pediatric population; yet there is a growing body of evidence that a pathological process that is midway between neurosis and psychosis is indeed manifested by child patients. Clinical descriptions of such children have appeared in the literature with growing frequency during the past three to four decades, although, in the older publications, various other diagnostic labels such as "benign psychosis," "severe neurosis," or "atypical child" were used. Perhaps the growing interest in borderline conditions in adults has prompted clinicians to search out similar disorders in children and also to view these seriously disturbed children in new ways. Finally, the extensive work on the borderline syndrome in adults may have given authority to the consideration of an analogous syndrome in younger patients.

In this chapter, the authors will attempt to review the literature on borderline children, present criteria for diagnosis (which due to developmentally different levels of maturity, are different from those of borderline adults), and discuss specific guidelines for treatment.

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