Missed diagnosis and no treatment: BPD’s risk to adolescents

Larry Zeligson is familiar with the problem. His son Ben began life as a happy and funny child with many friends. But when alone with his family, he also began displaying seemingly inexplicable emotional outbursts. “For example,” Larry said, “He’d get on his bike and he couldn’t keep his balance and it would fall over. Most kids would get up and get back on, or maybe cry a little bit. But he would explode and scream and shout and throw the bike on the ground.”

When Ben was eight, things became far more serious when he began expressing thoughts of suicide. Larry reported it to doctors. “They would say, well you know it might be his age, he’ll outgrow it. It’s a little early to even put him in any kind of treatment. Let’s monitor it.”

As Ben grew older, the outbursts continued and his father struggled to get an appointment for him to see a child psychiatrist. “The waiting lists themselves were at least nine months to a year,” Larry said.

Larry began researching on his own and read about Borderline Personality Disorder, and he concluded the symptoms were exactly what he was seeing from his son. He called one Canadian treatment centre, asking if he could get Ben admitted for BPD treatment. “They said to me, well how old is he? And I said he’s 14 going on 15. Right away they said, no, no, we only take 18 year olds. They don’t even diagnose them before they’re 18.”

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