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What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

A borderline personality disorder is a mental health complication that affects the way you think, perceive, and feel about yourself and others, which leads to various problems in many aspects of your everyday life. It creates problems including self-image issues, problems in managing emotions and behaviour, and a pattern of unstable relationships. With borderline personality disorder, you suffer from a severe fear of abandonment or instability, and you might face problems tolerating being alone. Your abnormal anger, impulsiveness, and regular mood swings might push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships. Borderline personality disorder normally starts in early adulthood which seems to be worse in young adulthood and might gradually get better with age.

What are the Types of Borderline Personality Disorder?

The types of borderline personality disorder include:

1. Discouraged Borderline Personality Disorder

Discouraged BPD is also known as Quiet BPD. People suffering from this type of borderline personality disorder are generally fearful of abandonment and due to this they tend to take extreme actions to avert imagined and real abandonment.

In comparison to people with other forms of BPD, people with discouraged BPD don’t keep their emotions open and it has been noticed that they blame themselves instead of others.

2. Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder

People with BPD act in dangerous ways. They mostly behave this way without any concern for other people or possible consequences.

3. Petulant Borderline Personality Disorder

People with this type of borderline personality disorder might appear angry at one moment and sad or sulky the next and suffer from mood swings. They might also feel unworthy or unloved. It can result in an unhealthy desire for control and relationship challenges.

4. Self-Destructive Borderline Personality Disorder

People with self-destructive BPD battle with suffering from self-hatred and usually feel bitter about it. They might be suffering from self-harm behaviours and also indulge in drug or alcohol abuse. They might have suicidal tendencies also.

What are the Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Symptoms of borderline personality disorder often include:

– A severe fear of abandonment, and might go to extreme measures to prevent real or imagined separation or rejection.

– A pattern of unstable intense relationships, like idealising someone one moment and then all of a sudden believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel.

– Quick changes in self-identity and self-image such as changing goals and values, and imagining yourself as not being a good person or as if you don’t exist at all.

– Periods of stress-related paranoia along with losing contact with reality, which can last from some minutes to some hours.

– Impulsive and risky behaviour, including drug abuse, reckless driving, unprotected sex, or damaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a good relationship.

– Suicidal threats or behaviour or self-injury, mostly a response to the fear of rejection or separation.

– Extensive mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, including intense happiness, sadness, irritability, anxiety, or shame.

– Ongoing feelings of emptiness

– Inappropriate and intense anger, like suddenly losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or indulging in physical fights

What are the Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Like most of the other mental health disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully clear. Along with the environmental factors — including a history of child abuse or neglect — borderline personality disorder might be connected to:

– Genetics

Studies have suggested that personality disorders might be inherited or strongly linked with other mental health disorders other family members might be suffering from.

– Brain abnormalities

Changes in a few specific parts of the brain involved in emotion regulation, aggression, and impulsivity. Additionally, some brain chemicals that help in regulating mood, like serotonin, might not be functioning properly.

What are the Risk Factors of Borderline Personality Disorder?

The risk factors of borderline personality disorder might include:

– Hereditary predisposition

If you have a close relative with the same or a similar disorder then you have an increased risk of developing borderline personality disorder.

– Stressful childhood

It has been found that a large number of people with the disorder have been sexually or physically abused or neglected during childhood. Some people have lost or were separated from someone when they were young or had parents or have parents or caregivers with substance misuse or other mental health issues. A few have been exposed to hostile conflict and unstable family relationships.

What are the Complications of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder can create problems in several areas of your life. It can adversely affect your relationships, jobs, studies, social activities, and self-image, resulting in:

– Frequent job changes or losses

– Not completing an education

– Several legal issues, like jail time

– Failed relationships, marital stress or divorce

– Self-injury, including cutting or burning, and regular hospitalisations

– Getting involved in abusive relationships

– Unplanned pregnancies, road rage, sexually transmitted infections, and physical fights because of impulsive and risky behaviour

– Suicide

Additionally, you might suffer from other mental health disorders, including:

– Depression

– Alcohol or other substance misuse

– Anxiety disorders

– Eating disorders

– Bipolar disorder

– Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

– Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

– Other personality disorders

How Borderline Personality Disorder is Diagnosed?

Personality disorders, including borderline personality disorder, can be diagnosed depending on:

– Have a detailed discussion with your doctor

– Psychological evaluation that might include filling out questionnaires

– Medical history and exam

– Discussing your signs and symptoms

Borderline personality disorder can be usually diagnosed in adults, not in children or teenagers and it’s because what seems to be signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may fade away when a child is grown up and matured.

What are the Treatment Options Available for Borderline Personality Disorder?

The treatment options for borderline personality disorder usually include:

Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is usually suggested and the aim of treatment is to assist you uncover the motivations and fears linked with your thoughts and behaviour and to aid you in learning to relate to others more positively.

Types of therapy that might help treat borderline personality disorder include:

– Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT)

It has been developed specially for people with BPD which aims to help you accept the reality of your life and your behaviours, along with helping you learn to change your life, which includes unhelpful behaviours. Skills to help you control intense emotions, decrease self-destructive behaviours, and improve relationships are taught.

– Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

It is a structured, goal-oriented type of therapy where your therapist or psychologist assists you in taking a close look at your thoughts and emotions. You are made to understand how your thoughts are affecting your actions. Through CBT, you might unlearn negative thoughts and behaviours and learn to adopt healthier thinking patterns and habits.

– Group therapy

It is a type of psychotherapy where a group of people meets to describe and discuss their problems together under the supervision of a therapist or psychologist. Group therapy might help such people to interact with others more positively and effectively express themselves.

Medications for BPD

Medications are not usually prescribed as the main treatment for BPD because the benefits of prescription medication for borderline personality disorder are unclear.

But in some instances, you might be recommended medications to treat certain symptoms or co-occurring mental health conditions. Medications are helpful to treat anxiety and depression, control mood swings, or aid in controlling impulsive behaviour. Antipsychotic (neuroleptic) drugs might help some people suffering from this condition.

Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

You should be aware that borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition and like all mental health conditions you should seek help as soon as symptoms appear as it might help reduce the disruptions to life. There are treatment plans available to help people with BPD to manage their thoughts and behaviours.

If you are suffering from borderline personality disorder then your family members can often experience stress, depression, grief, and isolation, and in such cases it’s important to take care of your mental health.

Whom to Consult?

If notice that you have symptoms of borderline personality disorder or feelings of hurting yourself with suicidal thoughts then you should contact a mental health provider and discuss your issues with them.

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