Borderline Personality Disorder

Multiple Faces of Borderline PersonalityBPD consists of characteristics that many people experience in various times of their life.   As you read this article, you may feel you have tendencies toward borderline personality disorder.  It is natural and not warrant to diagnosis.  If you think it is more than just a phase , seek a professional, licensed psycho-therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  It is never wise to self diagnose and just as a newly diagnosed, cancer patient may seek a second opinion, it is adviceable to do the same.  The purpose of this article is to educate, inform, and broaden awareness, not diagnose or treat.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is 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. Unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsivity and self-damaging behavior (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
  5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. Marked reactivity of mood (e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety
  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

People who have BPD report a history of abuse, neglect, and separation as a child.  They have an insecure sense of self; frequent changes in jobs and turbulent relationships.  When they feel threatened they lash out with retaliatory responses, self-mutilation, and self-sacrifice, even at the expense of self or others.

Attitudes towards family, friends, or loved ones can change from admiration to devaluation with intense anger or dislike.

BPD are driven by such defense mechanisms as splitting, projection, and projection identification, omnipotent denial, and magical thinking.  The borderline personality is dominated by shame/ blame defenses and persecutory, abandonment, and annihilation anxieties.

BPD have been shown to have abnormalities in the brain that control aggression and impulsivity.

BPD makes up at least 2% of the general population.

BPD comprises 20% of the inpatient psychiatric populace.

BPD makes up 11% of the outpatients in the mental health system.

An estimated 10% of BPD patients die by suicide (Source YouTube)

A mnemonic for BPD is PRAISE:

P – Paranoid ideas

R – Relationship instability

A – Angry outbursts, affective instability, abandonment fears

I – Impulsive behavior, identity disturbance

S – Suicidal behavior

E – Emptiness

BPD can be treated successfully with the proper therapeutic alliance.  It takes time, consistency, and stability in the relationship so the BPD can form trust.

Dialectical behavior Therapy  is a comprehensive individual or group approach that was created specially to treat BPD.  The modality teaches the client how to take better control of their lives, emotions, and themselves through self-knowledge, emotion regulation, and cognitive restructuring.

BPD encompasses many characteristics that people feel during different stages of their life.   It is a debilitating disorder but there is available treatment and healing with the help of a professional therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.  There is a better way to live and many resources are available online, mental health organizations, and school systems.


2 thoughts on “Borderline Personality Disorder

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