When everything feels unstable from your mood to your relationships and from thoughts to actions; even your identity and frequent change in likes and dislikes occurs without any solid reason – be realistic and try to understand your condition. Being on a roller-coaster ride of unstable emotions, confusion about your self-image, goals, and wavering sense of identity displays a very severe mental state commonly known as Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. In this blog post from LKKG, we are discussing BPD, its symptoms, test, and treatment.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Medically, BPD is defined as a severe mental illness characterized by inescapable instability in IQ, behavior, moods, self-image, and interpersonal relationships. This unstable state of mind disrupts a person’s personal life, long term planning, professional experience, and their sense of self-identity. Generally, people with BPD tend to be compassionate, and small things can trigger intense reactions.
The inability to self soothes and emotional volatility due to BPD leads to impulsive or reckless behavior and relationship turmoil. BPD is a severe condition. Many people with this mental condition self-harm and attempt suicide. Some other mental health conditions are also common in people with BPD:
- Bipolar disorders
- Generalized anxiety disorders
- Misusing alcohol and drugs
- Antisocial personality disorder
- An eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia
Signs and symptoms of BPD:
BPD manifests in different ways, but mental health professionals have a group the BPD symptoms in 9 different categories. A person with at least five of these BPD behavior symptoms is considered as BPD patient. The symptoms usually began in adolescence and affected many areas of a person’s life.
1. Fear of desertion:
In this condition, people often terrified of being abandoned. They even go to extreme measures to stop real or imagined rejection or separation from their loved ones. A person with BPD makes their relationships intense and unstable, maybe they idealize someone for a moment, and suddenly they start denying and believing that the person is cruel or careless.
They may fight, beg, cling, track the movements, or physically block their loved ones from leaving. But, this behavior generates the opposite effect, and people drive away from the person with BPD.
2. Confused about self-image:
The sense of self is typically unstable in person with BPD. They cannot judge their own identity and personality well. Sometimes they consider themselves some sort of angel or a right and kind-hearted person, but other time they start hating themselves or even find their self as an evil.
They show disordered thinking or perception patterns, perceptual, or cognitive distortions. That’s the reason they change; they frequently switch their jobs, goals, values, religion, friends, lovers, or even their sexual identity.
3. Feel suspicious:
BPD promotes suspiciousness or paranoia in a person about other motives. Under extreme situations or stress, they may experience dissociation or may less touch with reality. Feelings of being foggy or spaced out are common in BPD conditions.
4. Wobbly Relationships:
People with BPD show intense, short-lived, and unstable relationships. They have no middle ground in their relations, either they are perfect or extremely horrible. They display rapid swings in their behaviors from love to anger, idealization to devaluation, and from care to extreme hater.
5. Self-destructive Nature:
People with BPD usually get engaged in sensation seeking and harmful behaviors. They make risky decisions and feel better at the moment. Reckless driving, gambling, shoplifting, binge eating, unsafe sex, and the use of drugs and alcohol are the activities they feel pleasure in.
6. Extreme anger:
Short temper and intense passion are also common symptoms in people suffering from BPD. Yelling, screaming, throwing things, being angry to them self or completely consumed by rage are the issues they experience almost every day.
People with BPD make attempts to hurt themselves occasionally like cutting vein or trying to burn their self. Deliberate self-harm and suicidal behaviors are prevalent in people with BPD. Thinking about suicide, making suicidal gestures, and actually carrying out suicide is suicidal behaviors.
8. The feeling of emptiness:
People with BPD consider their selves empty as they have void or hole inside them. In extreme conditions, the person finds themselves nobody or having no identity. To avoid this uncomfortable feeling, they consume lots of food, try drugs, and sex, but nothing works in actual to give them relief.
9. Wide Mood Swings:
Unstable moods and behavior promote wide mood swings. These mood swings can last form a few hours to a few days. These emotional swings are not like depression and bipolar disorder, and they pass reasonably quickly.
What causes Borderline Personality Disorder?
The exact causes of BPD are not clear. But many factors can lead to BPD. Distressing childhood experiences, particularly related to caregivers, are mainly linked to BPD. These childhood traumatic experiences include:
- Physical and sexual abuse
- Parental insensitivity
- Physical and emotional negligence
- The early separation between parents
- Brain problems
- According to some studies, BPD can also be genetic
Brain conditions of people with BPD:
BPD brain goes through very complicated things, and many of these mysteries are still need to untangle. Generally, people with BPD brain remains on high alert. Things appear more scary and stressful to them than they do to other people.
Their fight-or-flight mood trips so smoothly, and as it turns on, it quickly hijacks the rational brain of a BPD patient. They react under primitive survival instincts, and usually, these reactions are not appropriate to the situation at hand.
We know after reading it, the first thought appears in your mind is that there is nothing we can do for people with BPD. After all, what anyone can do if your brain acts differently. Man is the most beautiful creation of the Lord with extreme will power, and we can change our mind. Whenever we practice a self-soothing technique or a new coping response, we create a new neural response.
We can also grow our brain matter with some treatments like mindfulness meditation. With regular practice, these pathways will become more automatic and robust. The only thing a person needs to deal with BPD is the dedication and genuine commitment to the ways to think, feel, and act to cope with BPD.
Diagnosis of BPD:
Borderline personality disorder can be challenging to diagnose because of its similarities to other medical conditions, especially mood disorders. BPD is usually made in adults because what appears to be the signs and symptoms of BPD may go away as children and teenagers become mature. The diagnosis of BPD is based on:
- Medical history and exam
- Discussion about signs and symptoms of BPD
- A detailed interview with a mental health provider or a doctor that includes Borderline Personality Disorder Test.
- Complete psychological evaluation, including complete questionnaires.
Types of Borderline Personality Disorder:
A borderline personality disorder is divided into four sub-types:
- Discouraged borderline personality disorder
- Impulsive borderline personality disorder
- Petulant borderline personality disorder
- Self-destructive borderline personality disorder
Is BPD treatable?
For an extended period, BPD was regarded as an incapacitating lifetime disorder, and it was a misconception that the recovery from BPD was not possible. Here the point to think is that the personality disorder is not a character judgment. In medical terms, personality disorder means a unique pattern from an individual to relate with the world in a significantly different way. Many people with BPD do get better so rapidly with the right treatment and positive support.
Healing from BPD is all about changing and breaking the dysfunctional patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving that are the causes of distress. No one can change their lifelong habits at once, but following a technique of ”pause, reflect, and then act”, there is hope to create a difference. At first, it feels uncomfortable and unreal, but with time it becomes easy for people with BPD to stay calm and maintain their emotional balance.
Stigmas attach with personality disorders:
In psychology, ”personality” is referred to the patterns of thinking, feeling, and then behaving or expressing. Our different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving make all of us unique from one and other. These are the factors that make people describe us as ”shy”, ”meticulous”, ”fun-loving”, ”caring”, or ”outgoing”.
All these factors of personality are intrinsically connected with the identity of a person, and that’s the reason the term ”personality disorder” might leave us feeling like something is fundamentally wrong with a person. When a person realizes that he/she does not act in a way that most people behave, it starts causing problems with them in almost every area of life. The relationships, career, and feelings get completely transformed.
Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder:
For the treatment of BPD, talk therapy is generally the first choice. Borderline Personality Disorder treatment involves one to two sessions with a mental health counselor within a week. Excellent communication, trust, and a comfortable environment between therapists and people are essential features for active, successful BPD treatment.
This talk therapy is more effective in managing and decreasing anger, self-harm, and suicide attempts with an overall improvement in social adjustments and brain functioning.
While the feeling of emptiness, unstable relationships, and fears that others might leave are often hardest to change symptoms of BPD. People with improved symptoms of BPD may still face issues related to co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse, depression, post-traumatic disorder, and an eating disorder.
Other treatments used to manage Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):
There are several treatments for BPD that are often used when talk therapy does not show effective results:
· Good Psychiatric Management (GPM):
Patients with several personality disorders can be treated with treatment in which mental health professionals are provided with an easy to use the toolbox.
· Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT):
This is also a kind of talk therapy that helps people to identify and understand what others might think and feel.
· Dielectric Behavioral Therapy (DBT):
This therapy mainly focuses on the concept of mindfulness. DBT teaches skills to people with BPD to improve relationships by managing stress, controlling intense emotions, and reducing self-destructive behavior.
This therapy seeks equilibrium between accepting and changing behavior. This therapy includes individual therapy sessions, phone coaching, and skill training in a group setting.
Medication is not the treatment for BPD, but it can help to treat conditions accompany BPD.
People with BPD usually spent most of their time fighting against their emotions and impulses. The most important tip for dealing with BPD is the acceptance of emotions that is a hard task to complete.
Accepting the emotions does not mean accepting them or let yourself remain to suffer. It means to accept your mental state and never tries to fight, avoid, deny, or suppress your feelings, but properly deal with them. Self-help is, in itself, a complete treatment to deal with BPD.
Some essential tips for doing self-help can be:
- Calm inside emotional storm by observing emotions from outside. Focus on your physical sensations and do something that stimulates one or more of your senses at a time.
- Reduce the emotional vulnerability and take care of yourself by avoiding mood-altering drugs, eating a nutritional diet, quality sleep, and regular exercise, minimizing stress, and practicing relaxation techniques.
- Try to tolerate distress and learn to control impulsivity and regain control of your behavior.
- When you feel overwhelmed by destructive urges, try to distract yourself by doing something to keep you busy like watching TV, involve yourself in work, call a friend or your therapist, or do some relaxing activities like yoga or take a long walk.
- Improving interpersonal skills is also an excellent way to cope with BPD. Stop considering different possibilities, put a stop to rejecting yourself, and take responsibility for the role that you play in a relationship.
BPD or any other mental disorder is not a curse, but it is also similar to other physical health issues. Considering these conditions, something extraordinary can create more difficulties in handling these problems.
No one can treat a person with BPD unless that person accepts his mental state first and then wish to control it. If you find someone with BPD around you, don’t avoid or neglect that person, but try to make them realize their condition positively and help them to be a useful part of society by providing them care, love, and respect.
What is your stance about BPD? Please do share with us your thoughts and suggestions in the comments section below. Here is another article on dependent personality disorder. You can learn more about it.