Borderline personality disorder requires understanding and treatment.
Story: Ed White
Often misunderstood, personality disorders are common. If not treated, they can have a traumatic effect on a patient. One such disorder is borderline personality disorder, or BPD, which was recognized in 1980. BPD is characterized by unstable moods and an inability to develop healthy relationships. Affected persons behave naturally until a stressful situation occurs, unlocking the condition.
What causes borderline personality disorder?
Research is still in the early phases, but scientists found BPD is dependent on genetic and environmental factors. They believe the key to understanding BPD lies hidden in the genes that govern impulse control and emotions. Social and cultural factors may increase the chances of developing BPD.
What symptoms point to BPD?
To receive a diagnosis, a person must frequently display at least five of these symptoms:
- Loss of connection to the real world, such as feeling isolated from one’s own self, having paranoid thoughts related to stress.
- Experiencing anger without proper reason and/or finding it difficult to control anger.
- Feelings of boredom or emptiness.
- Changes in mood and behavior that may last a while.
- Suicidal or self-harming behavior, such as cutting.
- Acting dangerously or impulsively with no thought to consequences.
- Perceiving oneself in a distorted or unrealistic way.
- Unable to form healthy relationships.
- Switching from loving to hateful behavior.
- Overreacting to minor situations.
How is BPD treated?
The primary treatment is psychotherapy. To properly help the patient get over BPD, treatment must also prevent it passing to offspring. If necessary, patients may be hospitalized, which takes away external issues. Psychotherapy must be conducted regularly, with distinct and achievable aims.
If treatment reveals other issues such as drug or alcohol dependence, they also must be addressed or psychotherapy will not achieve its intended effect. Effective therapy helps the patient learn to speak freely and easily about feelings leading to a healthy view of themselves. Eventually, the patient should overcome relationship problems and control moods and emotions.