What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that affects the way people think and feel about themselves and others. It includes issues with self-image, trouble managing emotions and unstable relationships. People with BPD often have a fear of abandonment, yet their mood swings and impulsiveness make it difficult to sustain healthy relationships. 

Let’s delve further into borderline personality disorder, how common it is, what it looks like and how to treat it. By understanding this information, you can get yourself or a loved one the appropriate support. Keep in mind that many people with this disorder get better over time and lead productive, fulfilling lives. You can, too. 

Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you behave and how you relate to others. There are many symptoms that go along with this disorder, and they can interfere with everyday functioning. 

Here are some common signs and symptoms of BPD: 

  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Pattern of unstable, intense relationships 
  • Rapid changes in self-image 
  • Impulsive and risky behavior 
  • Emotional instability 
  • Chronic feelings of boredom 
  • Dissociative feelings 
  • Wide mood swings
  • Self-harming behaviors 

How Common is Borderline Personality Disorder?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, it’s estimated that 1.4 percent of the adult U.S. population experiences BPD, or about 1 in 100 people. Nearly 75 percent of people diagnosed with the condition are women. Research suggests that men may be equally affected by BPD, but instead they are misdiagnosed as having depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

There is no definitive test for diagnosing BPD. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, schedule an appointment with a medical professional. They will conduct a thorough assessment that looks at medical history, symptoms and even interviews with friends and family. 

The Main Causes and Risk Factors of BPD

Many people who live with borderline personality disorder have gone through traumatic experiences in their lifetimes. And, once you have BPD, you are more likely to self-harm, which is why it’s so important to recognize the signs and symptoms of the disorder. The appropriate treatment can help prevent the risk of self-harm. 

The causes and risk factors associated with BPD are: 

  • Biological factors. Certain genetic and neurological factors are believed to play a role in BPD. For example, a family history of mental health disorders and imbalances of neurotransmitters may be responsible for BPD. 
  • Environmental factors. Traumatic experiences, such as childhood abuse, neglect or unstable family dynamics, can increase the risk of developing BPD. 
  • Neurobiological factors. It’s also likely that certain brain abnormalities can contribute to the onset of BPD, particularly if they affect emotion regulation and impulse control. 

How to Successfully Treat BPD

Borderline personality disorder cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Many people with the condition live rewarding, stable lives with healthy relationships. However, effective mental health treatment is key. This disorder responds best to a comprehensive treatment plan that includes psychotherapy, medications and group, peer and family support. 

It can take time to find the right balance of therapy, medication and group support, so be patient. Spearhead Health offers case management services that can help you find the best path to recovery. We find that clients with BPD typically respond best to the following treatments: 

  • Psychotherapy. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic therapy help clients learn healthier ways to cope. 
  • Medications. Some of the most common medications used to treat BPD are mood stabilizers, antidepressants and low-dose antipsychotics. 

Seek Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder

It can take time to recover from borderline personality disorder, and you may experience times when your symptoms are worse. But it’s important to know that this condition is treatable, and many people go on to live normal lives. 

Spearhead Health has a team of compassionate clinicians, coaches, team members and providers that can help you or a loved one recover from BPD. Contact us today to learn more about our case management services and how we can help you find your unique path to healing!