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Monday, August 14, 2017

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

borderline personality disorderFriends and family members of individuals with borderline personality disorder often feel frustrated, unsafe and confused, the cause of these emotions being the erratic and abusive behavior of their loved ones. People frequently mistreat individuals with borderline personality disorder, which only exacerbates their symptoms. The first step to treating individuals with BPD and learning how to have effective healthy communication is having compassion and awareness of the challenges of living with BPD.

Borderline personality is often misdiagnosed so it is important to understand the diagnostic criteria, and have an evaluation with a mental health professional.

According to the DSM-5 (diagnostic statistic manual) a person must present with five or more of the following in order to meet the diagnostic criteria for BPD.

1. Desperate efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
2. A pattern of unstable relationships switching between extremes of admiration and hatred.
3. Unstable self-image.
4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (such as spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving or binge-eating).
5. Repeated suicidal behavior and threats or self-harm.
6. Erratic mood swings.
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
8. Intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.
9. Temporary, stress-related paranoid ideation or dissociative symptoms.

One of the main symptoms of borderline personality that impacts all individuals who are diagnosed is intense personal dysregulation. That means this person experiences rapid intense mood fluctuation, have immense difficulty grounding themselves or being able to accurately view reality.

The cause of borderline personality disorder is still unknown however there is a strong correlation between experiences with childhood trauma (sexual, physical or emotional abuse) and developing BPD. The rates of co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorders, eating disorder and depression are incredibly high among individuals with BPD as well.

It has been proven that the most effective course of treatment for borderline personality disorder is long-term treatment with a focus on behavioral modification. In this treatment individuals will learn how to correct maladaptive behavioral patterns, healthy communication and boundaries, tools for emotional regulation, and skills in order to achieve autonomy.

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