The borderline personality disorder is one of the most challenging mental health conditions to treat since the symptoms tend to reflect deep-seated patterns of thinking and behavior. Also, the disorder is highly stigmatized and very complex. While BPD is heterogeneous in nature and causes different symptoms in various clusters of patients, there are three main clinical characteristics. These include impulsiveness when interacting with people, emotional volatility, and a sense of self that tends to impair relationships with others. Also, research shows that people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder also tend to have other co-occurring mental health issues. Read on for more to learn more facts about BPD.
Defining Borderline Personality Disorder | What Is It?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition typified by continuing mood swings, behavior, and self-image. The specific symptoms associated with BPD can sometimes lead to increased impulsivity, causing issues in interpersonal relationships. Episodes of depression, unexplained anger, and anxiety are also common among people struggling with BPD.
As the media increasingly focuses on borderline personality disorder, people’s understanding of BPD is growing. However, numerous myths still persist regarding BPD, creating a stigma that tends to keep people away from looking for therapy.
In essence, borderline personality disorder or BPD implies a mental health complication typified by chronic impulsivity and mood instability. People struggling with BPD have a hard time regulating their moods and tend to have unexplained intense anger outbursts and regular overactions whenever they are criticized. The relationships held by those struggling with BPD are often volatile, and the individuals tend to struggle with thoughts of self-harm and suicidal ideation.
While the cases of BPD are frequent, there is some good news. The disorder is treatable with proper diagnosis and therapy.
Explaining The Factors Causing BPD
In truth, the precise cause of borderline personality disorder is yet to be determined. However, recent studies imply that various genetic, environmental, physiological, cultural, and social factors interact to increase the risk of BPD.
Research shows that genetic factors play an important role in the likelihood of getting borderline personality disorder. That means that those with a history of BPD in their families are at a more elevated risk of developing the BPD.
The brain structure also plays a role in the causation of borderline personality disorder. Evidence suggests that a majority of those with BPD have similar structural features or changes in the brain, particularly in sections tasked with controlling emotions and impulses. Research is ongoing to determine whether the changes in the brain are factors causing BPD or the result of the disorder.
Social and Environmental Factors
Another risk factor in the incidence of BPD is the physical and social environment. Most people who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder also report having gone through a traumatic life event. That could be in the form of abandonment, physical or verbal abuse, or considerable hardship during childhood. Some of those with BPD were exposed to frustrating and unstable relationships and hostilities.
Understand, however, that while these factors may elevate a person’s risk of borderline personality disorder, they don’t have to result in BPD. In the same way, some people without any of these risk factors may still develop BPD.
How Prevalent Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is quire prevalent in the United States, with about six percent of the population struggling with the disorder at some stage in their lives. While there have been more diagnoses of the disorder among women compared to men, research has failed to establish a direct link between gender factors in BPD. Also, evidence suggests that people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder tend to have co-occurring mental health problems compared to the general population, including PTSD, major depression, and substance addiction.
Signs And Symptoms Of Borderline Personality Disorder
Persons with BPD show some symptoms that are characteristic of the disorder, including mood unpredictability and a lost sense of self. In most cases, their interests and motivation can change rapidly. They also tend to look at things using extreme lenses, and their judgments of issues can change suddenly without cause. Someone considered a close friend on the day may be categorized as an enemy in an instant.
Some telling symptoms of BPD include:
- Attempt to prevent imagined or actual abandonment;
- Patterns of unstable relationships with connections oscillating between extreme affection and utter dislike;
- Damaged or unstable sense of self and value;
- Self-injuring habits like cutting;
- Risky behavior like substance abuse and unsafe sex;
- Thoughts about suicide;
- Volatile moods;
- Prolonged feelings of emptiness;
- A tendency to disassociate;
- Misplaced feelings of anger and problems controlling emotions.
Please note that these are just a few signs of borderline personality disorder. Also, not everyone with BPD will show the signs, as symptoms vary from case to case.
Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: What Are The Options?
In the traditional sense, BPD was generally considered a disorder that was hard to treat. However, thanks to evidence-based therapies, many BPD patients diagnosed with the disorder today experience fewer and less severe signs and live healthy and fulfilling lives. It is imperative for persons struggling with BPD to obtain credible and evidence-based care from competent therapists. Here are some notable and effective treatment alternatives.
It is a critical component of the treatment of any mental health disorder, including BPD. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), for instance, was one of the very first treatment modalities found to show efficacy in the management of BPD. It involves the use of elements of cognitive behavior therapy to change the beliefs and thoughts of the affected persons. The BPD treatment includes mind-body relaxation and components of CBT.
Family therapy has also proven to have some level of effectiveness when it comes to the treatment of borderline personality disorder. This is important because BPD has been shown to affect family dynamics and relationships with loved ones. It is not uncommon to find the families of those diagnosed with BPD feeling overwhelmed. Family therapy helps loved ones to gain the required skills to support those they care about.
Medical professionals with specialization in BPD believe that drug medications should form an essential part of the effective treatment of the disorder. Although there are no precise drugs approved for treating BPD, research has found some medications useful for managing some symptoms. Medications can also be useful for treating mental health illnesses that occur alongside the borderline personality disorder.
Some notable drugs used for managing symptoms in persons diagnosed with BPD include mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs.
How To Find A Competent Therapist For BPD
The secret to benefiting from borderline personality disorder therapy is to find a credible and competent professional. Here are some tips to consider when looking for the right professional to help with managing BPD.
- Consider experience with managing BPD;
- Ask about professional licenses and do some research;
- Consider training in talk therapy or any other treatments for BPD.
Understand that, while treatment of BPD is possible, it takes time. It requires that one learns to manage his or her thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. Treatment will help you with improving your life outcomes and relationships, so investing your time will be worth the effort in managing the disorder.