Do patients with personality disorder have altered pain sensitivity?
This relationship has most frequently been studied in patients with borderline personality disorder. Early studies conducted in mental health settings suggested that patients with borderline personality disorder have an insensitivity to pain. However, more recent studies of patients in the primary care setting suggest that patients scoring high on borderline personality scales tend to have higher sensitivity to pain and exhibit greater levels of pain catastrophizing. One recent study suggests that this discrepancy may be linked to self-injurious behaviors, with patients who have engaged in such behavior reporting lower levels of acute pain in a cold pressor task compared with borderline personality disorder patients who had not engaged in such self-injurious behavior.