Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is associated with symptoms of impulsivity, mood swings, and patterns of instability. These symptoms are also associated with several other mental disorders, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and even major depressive disorder (MDD).
While borderline personality disorder can easily coexist with any of the above – and often does – it’s still an entire mental health disorder on its own. Therefore, it requires its own diagnosis as well as its own treatments.
In this article, we’re going to explore what it means to have a borderline personality disorder diagnosis and what separates it from other mental health disorders.
Read on to learn more.
Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is a very complex mental health condition. BPD is characterized by intense and unstable emotions as well as high levels of insecurity and self-doubt which cause a pattern of having unstable relationships.
On a deeper level, BPD makes a person feel unstable in every aspect of their lives. From their moods, their way of thinking, their likes and dislikes, their behavior, how they view their relationships, and in more extreme cases, their overall identity. Many individuals with BPD have described the condition to the effect of having an exposed nerve ending, meaning that they’re easily triggered into suffering by even the smallest things, creating a cloud of confusion to their sense of self.
BPD is a mind and body condition, with symptoms that begin to manifest in the early teenage years. The symptoms of BPD typically include the following:
- An intense fear of abandonment, leading the individual to revert to extreme measures to avoid any kind of separation or rejection.
- A pattern or history of unstable yet intense relationships. For example, going from idealizing a partner to suddenly feeling that they don’t care or are cruel in a matter of moments.
- Rapid or extreme changes in self-identity and self-image. This would include changing goals and values or the individual viewing themself as “bad” or as if they don’t exist at all.
- Frequent periods of stress-related paranoia resulting in a loss of grip with reality that can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
- Impulsive or risky behavior, including heavy gambling, unsafe sex, reckless driving, spending sprees, binge drinking or eating, substance use, or even suddenly ending a relationship or leaving a job.
- Threatening self-harm or suicide, usually in response to the fear of separation or rejection.
- Intense mood swings that can last from a few hours to a few days, which often include grandiose feelings of happiness, irritability, anxiety, or even shame.
- Persistent feelings of emptiness or lack of meaning.
- Having anger management issues resulting in the frequent loss of temper or being inappropriately sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights.
Treating Borderline Personality Disorder
Since BPD doesn’t always occur on its own, effective treatment depends on any related disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD, and so on. This would typically include forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy in addition to prescription medication to help regulate the individual’s mood.
However, in the early 1990s, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) was developed and has since been proven effective in treating BPD. DBT is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy with components of group therapy skills training and individual psychotherapy to better understand the individual’s triggers and teach them how to cope with those triggers so they may learn to effectively regulate and cope with their emotions.
As you can see, BPD is a serious condition, whether it’s accompanied by related disorders or standing on its own. That’s why it’s so important to get a proper evaluation to determine if an individual is showing symptoms of BPD or a closely related mental health condition.
We can help you with that. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the treatments we offer and how we can make mental healthcare attainable for you or your loved ones.