Borderline personality disorder, also known as BPD, is a mental illness characterized by instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. This instability often disrupts every facet of a person’s life. Although lesser known than schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder (Manic-Depressive illness), Borderline Personality Disorder is far more common, affecting approximately 2% of all adults, mostly young women. For people with this disorder, there is a high incidence of self-injury, as well as a lesser incidence of suicide attempts and successful suicide in more severe cases. People who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder often need extensive mental and emotional therapy. They account for about 20% of psychiatric hospitalizations. However, with the help and support of family, friends, and therapists, many ameliorate their symptoms over time and are able to lead normal and productive lives.
Common Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
- Very brief but extreme episodes of anger, depression or anxiety (unlike major depression and bipolar disorder, BPD is not a condition that lasts for months or weeks at a time)
- Tumultuous relationships with others – People with BPD vacillate between feelings of extreme admiration and rejection. They love you one day but are completely averse to you the next.
- General emotional instability – Borderline personality types can appear normal and friendly until they perceive a threat. This threat can come in the form of an innocent comment by a coworker or the constructive criticism of a family member.
- Confusion concerning self-identity – People with BPD can become abruptly confused about their own sexuality, life goals, career choices, friendships and other values.
- Negative self-image
- Reckless activity
Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder
Although there is no singular cause of Borderline Personality Disorder, a combination of genetic and circumstantial factors is usually cited as the source. Some people may be more likely to inherit BPD because of biological factors, but more often than not, people with this condition also have family histories full of abandonment, physical or emotional abuse, substance abuse and sexual abuse. BPD can sometimes exist alongside other disorders such as Bipolar Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder. However, by itself, Borderline Personality Disorder can sometimes dissolve after adolescence or early adulthood. Either way, it is always a good idea to seek or provide help for someone exhibiting the symptoms of BPD.
Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder
Treatment should be implemented early, as those with Borderline Personality Disorder can ruin relationships and cause themselves or others injury. Psychotherapy is often useful. In a non-judgmental and empathetic environment, a therapist talks with the patient about any issues that may be causing contention or discontent. This can be difficult for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder because of the inherent hurdles of the condition. Someone with BPD may feel threatened by sharing personal information with a therapist. When medications are used, anti-depressants or antipsychotic drugs are often administered. Don’t wait to get help with this condition. If you possibly have BPD or if you know someone who might, seeking treatment could be a lifesaver. There are people who care and who are willing to empathize. If those with BPD could only recognize this, they would be much happier.