Self-harming behavior (SB) is one of the diagnostic criteria for borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, it is not exhibited by all individuals with BPD. Furthermore, studies examining the neural correlates of SB in BPD are lacking. Given research showing that BPD patients have difficulty habituating to affective stimuli, this study investigated whether anomalous amygdala activation is specific to BPD patients with SB. The authors used fMRI to compare amygdala activation in BPD patients with SB (n = 15) to BPD patients without SB (n = 18) and healthy controls (n = 32) during a task involving pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant pictures, presented twice. BPD patients with SB demonstrated greater amygdala activity during the second presentation of unpleasant pictures. Results highlight neurobiological differences in BPD patients with and without SB and suggest that anomalous amygdala habituation to unpleasant stimuli may be related to SB.
- Borderline personality disorder
- Self-harming behavior