A Quick Guide to Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

emotionally unstable personality disorder guide

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental condition characterised by recurring instability in moods and behaviour. BPD is marked by impulsive behaviour that affects interpersonal relationships. The subject may go through episodes of anger, listlessness, and stress. These may get over in a few hours or persist for days. BPD often occurs with concomitant mood disorders, eating disorders, substance addiction, and suicidal tendencies.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

1.       Manic behaviour to counter actual or perceived neglect by friends and family.
2.       Mood swings that influence relationship with friends and family.
3.       Lack of self-esteem or a distorted perception of self.
4.       Acts of self-harm and display of suicidal tendencies.
5.       Feeling chronically depressed or lonely.
6.       Having difficulty in controlling anger.
7.       Paranoia.

There is no saying what may trigger these symptoms. Minor events such as temporary separations over vacations can distress or anger the subject and fill his mind with paranoid thoughts. People with BPD react more strongly to words that convey negative feelings. A thorough mental check-up by a qualified psychiatrist is essential to determine if the symptoms are indeed of BPD or another mental illness. The treatment regimen to be followed depends upon an accurate diagnosis. A licensed mental health professional will ask questions to learn about the individual’s and family’s medical history. All steps necessary to avoid misdiagnosing and under diagnosing the condition should be taken.

While medical science is still not clear about the causes of BPD, there is a line of thought that suggests genetic, environmental and social events as risk factors for triggering BPD.

A person with a history of the condition in first-degree biological relatives is likelier to get borderline personality disorder. Unstable relationships and traumatic childhoods can lead to BPD. Brains of people who suffer from BPD show differences in structure and working, especially those parts that regulate impulses and emotions.

Researchers are focusing on learning about biological and societal risk factors as these may facilitate earlier detection of the condition – in teens and adolescents.

Over the years, treatment for BPD has evolved so that today people under medical care report milder symptoms and lower rates of occurrence. Friends and family of the subjects must be patient because symptoms can take time before they resolve to an appreciable degree.

The main mode of treatment for BPD sufferers is psychotherapy. It may be given separately to individuals to in a group setting. It is important that the therapist establish a relationship of trust with the subjects. Different therapies used to treat BPD include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, Schema Focused Therapy, and Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving.

Therapy is supplemented by medication that aims to resolve specific symptoms such as depression. Since there is a risk of self-harm and suicide, doctors should exercise caution in prescribing drugs. Family should administer the doses so that the subject does not attempt to take a lethal overdose.

In some cases, inpatient care may be suggested until the symptoms become less severe and the subject’s condition is visibly alleviated.

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