An estimated 1.6% of people in the United States suffer from borderline personality disorder. It’s not as uncommon as you might think.
Living with BPD is challenging. The condition makes it difficult to maintain healthy relationships, take care of responsibilities, and even take care of yourself. The stigma against people with BPD doesn’t help. If you or a loved one is experiencing signs of borderline personality disorder, continue reading or take our free BPD quiz to learn more.
Borderline personality disorder, otherwise known as BPD, is a cluster B personality disorder.
Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by unpredictable or impulsive behavior. Patients have “big” emotions and unpredictable thought patterns. Aside from borderline personality disorder, these conditions also include:
All of these mental health conditions are considered “difficult to treat.” There’s a lot of stigma against people with cluster B personality disorders. Many people mistakenly believe that there’s no way to improve the condition or reach remission.
Because of this, many people with borderline personality disorder never receive treatment. They may be unable to find a therapist that’s willing to take on a patient with BPD. They may also be afraid of attracting attention. This makes it hard for them to find the care that they need.
Many people mistake borderline personality disorder for bipolar disorder. While these conditions are similar and can be comorbid (more on that later), they are not the same. BPD is not a mood disorder even if it looks like one.
There are several theories regarding why people develop borderline personality disorder.
No one is born with borderline personality disorder. It’s something that happens over time. That said, there may be a genetic component that makes some people more likely to develop this condition than others. People with close family members who have borderline personality disorder, for example, may be at a higher risk of developing it.
It’s also possible that BPD is a result of living in a home with another person with a personality disorder. Untreated personality disorders can cause chaos in a family home.
Environmental factors likely contribute to BPD. People who experienced various types of trauma are at a greater risk of developing BPD.
It’s possible that there’s a difference in the brain development of people with BPD. Certain areas of the brain may be underdeveloped, causing BPD symptoms.
Although there are commonalities and differences between unique cases of borderline personality disorder, generally the disorder is grouped into one of four different types of BPD.
Some of these different types of BPD are more common than others, although all four generally share in a range of symptoms. These four types of borderline personality disorder are:
Many of the signs and symptoms of BPD mimic symptoms of other mental health conditions. If you notice one or several of these symptoms in yourself, it doesn’t mean that you have BPD. It may be helpful to get an evaluation.
Borderline personality disorder causes discord in relationships. People with BPD may find that they’re unable to maintain consistent and healthy relationships. They return to unhealthy relationship patterns frequently.
They’re often unwilling or unable to leave unhealthy relationships due to an intense fear of abandonment.
It’s common for people with borderline personality disorder to experience extreme mood swings. Their feelings are “bigger” than normal. In medical terms, these are referred to as BPD episodes.
People with borderline personality disorder display “black and white thinking.” This means that they have a hard time seeing people (even themselves) as complex and gray. They’ll switch back and forth between idealization and devaluation depending on the situation.
Other signs of borderline personality include:
Borderline personality disorder is one of the more dangerous mental health conditions. Contrary to popular belief, people with BPD are bigger threats to themselves than others.
Up to 10% of patients with borderline personality disorder will die by suicide. This is one reason that treatment for BPD is so essential. Extreme emotions and impulsivity combined with suicidal ideation create a huge problem.
Due to their impulsivity, people with BPD often engage in risk-taking behavior. They have risky sex that could result in an unplanned pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases. They may be more likely to use illicit drugs either due to impulsivity or in an effort to self-medicate.
Most people with BPD also suffer from other comorbid mental health conditions. Up to 96% of patients also struggle with a mood disorder.
Almost half of all patients with BPD also display signs of PTSD (which makes sense considering BPD may result from childhood trauma).
Treating borderline personality disorder is difficult, but far from impossible. The hardest part is often getting the patient to seek treatment in the first place. Many people with BPD resist treatment or quit halfway through if they don’t have proper support.
Psychotherapy (namely, dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT) is the best course of action for BPD. It’s an intensive therapy method that teaches patients important coping skills. It allows patients to regulate their emotions and cease impulsive behaviors. Because this therapy style is so intense, many people get better results when they seek BPD treatment through a residential treatment facility.
Some mental health professionals will prescribe medication to patients with BPD. There’s no one “right” BPD medication. Patients with BPD can benefit from antipsychotics, anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers.
It’s challenging to live with borderline personality disorder, but there is help available to you. If you’re ready to start healing, it’s time to seek treatment.
We want to help you on your healing journey. If you need treatment for BPD in Orange County, Acera Health is here for you. We use a combination of treatment methods to help you learn the skills that you need to move beyond your disorder.
Contact us for more information and start your path toward wellness today.