Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is a mental health condition that is characterized by difficulty managing behaviors, emotions, and relationships with others. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), approximately 1.4% of the United States population have symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Unlike many other mental health conditions, the vast majority of individuals who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are women, with 75% of all cases being female. Men also receive borderline personality disorder diagnoses, however, it is very common for them to obtain an incorrect diagnosis of depression, PTSD, or other mood disorders.
Personality Disorders vs. Mood Disorders
There is no doubt that personality disorders and mood disorders (such as depression and bipolar disorder) are some of the most common mental health conditions experienced by Americans throughout the country. However, it is important to understand that while these two types of conditions may seem to share many similarities, they are very different from one another. Consider the following:
- Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, impacts an individual’s ability to properly regulate their emotions and behaviors, leading to interpersonal consequences. Mood disorders like depression affect an individual’s general mood and demeanor, but do not impact their behaviors and relationships in the same dramatic way that borderline personality disorder does.
- Mood disorders are widely believed to be primarily caused by biological makeup, whereas most personality disorders (including BPD) are usually caused by environmental factors like abuse and other forms of trauma.
- The primary symptom related to mood disorders is periods of emotional highs and/or lows. The primary symptoms related to borderline personality disorder are feeling unstable about oneself and difficulty managing behaviors.
The most important thing to consider when attempting to decipher between personality disorders and mood disorders is to be aware of what the symptoms of each condition are. Those with a borderline personality disorder will exhibit symptoms much different than those of someone with a mood disorder.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
There are a number of troubling symptoms of borderline personality disorder that an individual can experience. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) follows specific criteria in order to make a diagnosis of BPD, including the following:
- Frantic efforts to prevent being abandoned in life
- Patterns of unstable and intense relationships with others characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
- Disturbance of identity, specifically persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
- Impulsivity with at least two issues that are potentially self-damaging, such as binge eating, substance abuse, or gambling.
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, threats, or self-harm
- Irritability or anxiety that lasts a few hours to a few days
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Problems controlling anger
- Stress-related paranoia or severe dissociative symptoms
Therefore, untreated individuals living with borderline personality disorder can experience a number of negative consequences as a result of this condition.
Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental health condition. While it can be treated, there are many people who do not seek the appropriate care needed to experience relief from their symptoms. As a result, a number of distressing effects can develop in their lives, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Tumultuous home environment – Because of symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, paranoia, and more, individuals with BPD can easily develop a tumultuous home environment for themselves and those who they live with. Instead of home being a safe haven, it instead can become the center of chaos for everyone who lives there.
- Poor self-esteem – A person’s self-esteem is traditionally very low when dealing with BPD. Poor self-esteem can lead to feelings of worthlessness and emptiness and cause an individual to withdraw from others.
- Suicidal tendencies – When BPD is going untreated, suicidal tendencies and behaviors can run rampant. This is extremely dangerous not only because it can result in death, but also because those who have BPD often struggle with impulsivity. Suicidal feelings and impulsivity are a recipe for disaster.
- Interpersonal problems – It can be difficult, if not impossible, for some people with BPD To have healthy relationships with others. Therefore, they tend to lack a support system of loved ones and the benefits of positive relationships with others. This can feed into poor self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, and frequent episodes of chaos.
The longer that BPD goes untreated, the more likely it becomes for affected individuals to suffer these and other consequences. Obtaining effective treatment as quickly as possible is ideal for those dealing with this particular mental health condition.
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
Like most mental health conditions, borderline personality disorder is treated with a combination of therapy and medication. The most common therapies that are applied when treating BPD can include the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Transference-focused psychotherapy
- Schema therapy
Additionally, some medications have proven to be effective in treating symptoms of BPD. While there is no specific medication designed to treat borderline personality disorder, most patients benefit from including an antipsychotic or anticonvulsant into their overall treatment plan.
Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment in Florida
If you or someone you love is struggling with symptoms of a personality or mood disorder, contact Neuroscience Institute. Our team of professionals is dedicated to helping you or your loved one get the care needed so that control can be regained. Do not wait any longer. Call us today to learn more about how we can help.