Unpredictable moods, intense fear of abandonment, and struggles with self-identity: welcome to the world of borderline personality disorder. Despite being a common condition, BPD is still shrouded in stigma and misconceptions. But what is it really like to live with BPD? Imagine feeling like you’re on a never-ending roller-coaster of intense emotions, constantly oscillating between love and hate, joy and despair.
Living with Borderline Personality Disorder can feel like being trapped in a whirlwind of emotions, with no escape in sight. It’s a condition characterized by intense emotional experiences, impulsive behavior, and a pervasive fear of being abandoned. But what lies beneath the surface-level symptoms? In this article, we’ll uncover the realities of Borderline Personality Disorder and explore the challenges faced by those living with this condition.
We will explore the symptoms, causes, and treatment options for Borderline Personality Disorder from a psychological perspective.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition. It is characterized by intense and unstable emotions, impulsive behaviors, and difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) belongs to Cluster B of personality disorders, which is characterized by dramatic, emotional, or erratic behavior. We’ll talk more about other Cluster B personality disorders i.e., Antisocial Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and Histrionic Personality Disorder in our upcoming articles.
People with Cluster B personality disorders often struggle with relationships, emotional regulation, and impulsivity, and may engage in behaviors that are harmful to themselves or others. It is important to note that a diagnosis of a personality disorder should only be made by a qualified mental health professional after a thorough evaluation.
But why are we talking about Borderline Personality Disorder?
Here are some facts to start with:
1. Borderline personality disorder affects roughly 2% of the overall population.
2. It affects more women than men.
3. 90% have at least one other mental diagnosis, with 40% having two.
4. Mood and substance-related problems, as well as antisocial personality disorder, are common in families.
5. The disease is five times more common in family members. The prevalence of borderline personality disorder is higher among mothers of borderline individuals.
6. The prevalence of borderline personality disorder in the general community is 1.6% and 20% in the inpatient psychiatric population.
What is the cause of Borderline Personality Disorder?
Researchers believe that BPD is a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors. Some of the factors that may contribute to the development of BPD include:
Studies have shown that BPD is more common in people who have a family history of the condition, suggesting that genetics may play a role in its development.
2. Childhood trauma:
People who have experienced childhood trauma, such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment, may be more likely to develop BPD.
3. Neuro-biological factors:
Research has shown that people with BPD may have differences in brain structure and function, particularly in areas of the brain that regulate emotions.
4. Environmental factors:
Environmental factors, such as a lack of support or instability in early childhood, may also contribute to the development of BPD.
Diagnosis & Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition) outlines the diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) as follows:
A. A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., substance abuse, binge eating, reckless driving, or unsafe sex).
5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats, or self-mutilating behavior.
6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety, usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
B. The pattern is stable and of long duration, and its onset can be traced back at least to adolescence or early adulthood.
C. The pattern causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
D. The pattern is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g., Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia, or another Psychotic Disorder) and is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance or a medical condition (e.g., traumatic brain injury).
It is important to note that only a qualified mental health professional can make a diagnosis of BPD based on these criteria, and a thorough evaluation is necessary to rule out other potential causes for the symptoms. Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder
Treatment Options for Borderline Personality Disorder
Treatment for BPD typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Some of the most common treatment options for BPD include:
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT):
DBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on helping people with BPD develop skills to regulate their emotions, improve relationships, and manage impulsive behaviors.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It can be helpful for people with BPD who struggle with distorted thinking and low self-esteem.
It is the treatment of choice, although it is difficult for both the therapist and the patient. Patients easily regress, act out their impulses, and show labile or fixed negative or positive transferences, which are difficult to analyze.
May be useful to control impulses and angry outbursts and reduce sensitivity to criticism and rejection. Social skills training is useful to improve interpersonal behavior.
Intensive psychotherapy in the hospital setting is useful on both an individual basis and a group basis.
Medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics help stabilize mood and reduce symptoms of BPD.
Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep, can help manage symptoms of BPD.
Joining a support group can provide a sense of community and understanding for people with BPD.
Here are some famous personalities who were diagnosed with BPD
It is critical to highlight that a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) should only be given by a skilled mental health professional following a comprehensive evaluation. It is not appropriate to guess or diagnose persons without their agreement.
However, several prominent persons have openly disclosed their experiences with BPD or have been diagnosed with it by mental health professionals:
Pete Davidson: Comedian and actor Pete Davidson has been honest about his issues with bipolar disorder, depression, and substance addiction, and he has utilized his platform to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health.
Angelina Jolie: She has openly discussed her issues with self-harm and emotional dysregulation, both of which are indicators of BPD.
Brandon Marshall: Former NFL player Brandon Marshall has become a champion for mental health awareness, particularly among athletes after his BPD diagnosis in 2011.
Amy Winehouse: Amy Winehouse, the late singer, had a history of substance misuse and emotional instability, which some mental health doctors believe was suggestive of BPD.
Honey Singh: An Indian rapper, has struggled with mental health concerns in the past, though he has not publicly declared any specific diagnoses. In 2014, he took a sabbatical from his music career to seek therapy for what his family described as “bipolar disorder” and “alcoholism.” In a subsequent interview, he revealed that he had suffered from depression and anxiety and that he had turned to drink and prescription medicines to cope with the rigors of celebrity.
You can read more about 50 Famous Celebrities Who Have Opened Up About BPD
Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex and often challenging mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. Intense and unstable emotions, impulsive behaviors, and difficulty in maintaining healthy relationships are some of the key characteristics of BPD. While the exact cause of BPD is not fully understood, researchers believe that a combination of genetic, environmental, and neuro-biological factors may contribute to its development.
Treatment for BPD typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are two common forms of psychotherapy which help people with BPD manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Medications such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics help stabilize mood and reduce symptoms of BPD.
It is important to remember that living with BPD can be challenging, but it is possible to manage symptoms and live a fulfilling life. Seeking help from a mental health professional and developing healthy coping strategies can make a significant difference in managing symptoms and improving overall well-being.
In summary, Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental health condition that can be challenging to live with. It is important to seek help from a mental health professional if you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of BPD. With the right treatment and support, it is possible to manage symptoms and live a fulfilling life.