Borderline Personality Disorder
One of the most misunderstood mental health disorders is a personality disorder called Borderline personality disorder also known as BPD. BPD was discovered by Psychiatrists in the 1930s. Even in first discovery the illness was categorized as neurosis and psychosis, and psychiatrists saw this as a thought disorder. They compared BPD to schizophrenia and delusional thinking.
In today’s society we have a much better understanding of what BPD actually is. Now it is known that borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia are not related at all. It is an emotional regulation and not a thought disorder as originally described.
Even with the progression of insight on BPD, there is still a stigma attached to the disorder and it is still easily misunderstood by society. Symptoms could suggest another disorder but people will categorize BPD with people who are resistant or difficult. Clinicians understand that BPD is often linked with trauma, dissociative disorders and PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
Describing Personality Disorder
According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) Borderline personality disorder is one of ten personality disorders listed. Most personality disorders develop before adulthood but are not seen as mental health conditions at first and mistaken for expressions of identity and personality defects. Clinicians refer to the symptoms of BPD as traits and many people do not meet the criteria for a full diagnosis of Borderline, but will have BPD traits.
Borderline personality disorder is defined as having problems with impulse control, emotional regulation and interpersonal relationships. In order to have a full on BPD diagnosis, four of the BPD “traits” must be seen in the DSM-5.
Frantic avoidance of real or imagined abandonment
Significant and persistent identity disturbance or an unstable sense of self
Recurring self-harm or suicidal behavior
Inappropriate fits of rage, anger, and difficulty controlling temper.
Emotionally unstable, irritability and anxiety.
Impulsive in areas of risk, such as substance abuse and sexual relations.
Unstable and intense relationships where the significant other is devalued and alternately idealized.
Dissociative symptoms and stress induced paranoia
Chronic feelings of emptiness
Post traumatic stress disorder and borderline personality have some similarities a main reason being both have trauma as root causes. Sudden environmental changes often cause intense emotional reactions from people who have BPD the same as people who have PTSD.
There are many emotional distressors that is experienced from someone who had BPD. For those with borderline personality disordor who aren’t receiving treatment there is a large risk of both self-harm and suicide attemps. Correct treatment for BPD can allow an individual to live a happy and normal life with their disorder.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
The symptoms of BPD vary in each individual. There is a wide range of how individuals express their disorder. Some people are elaborately and dramatic about self-harm, where others can be quiet and creative about how they express their self-harm episodes. There are many people who on the surface seem fine, but deep down struggle with feelings of emptiness and have intense distress in emotions that goes unseen. All BPD personality disorder symptoms do share a common pattern. When interpersonal conflict occurs, the intense emotions that come with BPD arise and usually cause issues. Many of those with BPD are self-harming, it is not every diagnosis but most. The overwhelming amount of emotional pain causes them to cause physical pain on themselves as an act of showing others the pain they are suffering.
Signs and symptoms of BPD:
Sudden and frantic outbursts of disproportionate rage or other intense emotions
Frequent and dramatic changes in hobbies and interests.
Mood cycles that do not follow a pattern of depressive and manic episodes. The mood changes happen throughout the day frequently.
Treating loved ones really great, then really bad for no common reasons, relationships that follow a pattern of idealization and devaluation.
Dissociative behaviors and symptoms ranging from numbing behaviors to severe depression without warning.
Always seeking sense of safety or comfort in their close relationships.
The connection between these symptoms can be better understood when borderline personality disorder is considered in light of its roots in childhood and adolescent trauma.
Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder
There are three main categories of how BPD is caused:
Biology and differences in brain function
Genetic factors and inherited traits
Psychosocial experiences and stressors
Most people with borderline personality disorder can see origins in all three of the above areas. Family history of mental disorders is a huge part of BPD origin. People who have relatives that suffer from borderline are five times more likely to have the disorder. The emotionally sensitive temperament is likely to have been experienced in childhood. Just biological and genetic factors are not enough to cause the disorder, trauma is typically always added to the equation.
Diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder
Clinicians diagnose borderline personality disorder through interviews and observation. There are instances where people seek help themselves to understand the causes of their emotional distress. There are targeted questions that are asked to identify BPD traits in an individual. In some cases, after a suicide attempt or extreme self descructive cases where hospitalization is done the diagnosis can come from a medical professional within the hospital.
Because of how many times BPD has been misdiagnosed, there are probably people out there who do not have the disorder but have been diagnosed with it. Others may be diagnosed with a different disorder when they really do have borderline personality. The most common misdiagnosis are PTSD and bi-polar. If you look into all the symptoms of both properly misdiagnosis should not happen but there are still many cases that do.
Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Addiction
Self medication with drinking and drugs is common for those who suffer from borderline personality disorder. Many of those who suffer from substance addiction and abuse see drinking and drugging as a way to ease their mental health issues. The self-medicating on drugs and alcohol often goes unnoticed until the substance use consumes all aspects of their life. If you or someone you know has been having these types of behaviors; professional treatment is needed as soon as possible.
The best way to ensure recovery for those suffering from a co-occurring disorder in an individualized treatment program. At The Beaches Treatment Center all of our therapists are master’s level clinical staff who are experts in specialized treatment for patients who have co-occurring disorders. Our intensive co-occurring disorder treatment programs are created to treat both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder together in one individualized treatment care plan.
The concurrent disorder treatment therapies we utilize at The Beaches Treatment Center are: 12-Step, EMDR Trauma, Creative Arts Therapy, Yoga, Mindfulness, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy- these are provided both one-on-one and in peer group therapy sessions.