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Around 80 percent of people with borderline personality disorder display suicidal behaviors , including suicide attempts, cutting themselves, burning themselves, and other self-destructive acts. It is estimated that between 4 and 9 percent of people with BPD will die by suicide. Living with borderline personality disorder, or being in a relationship with someone who has BPD, can be stressful. It can be very difficult to acknowledge and accept the reality of BPD, but treatment may help. If you are concerned that you, or that someone you care about, may have borderline personality disorder, contact a licensed mental health professional.
Many supportive healthcare professionals are available to help you get started on the path to healing. It is chronic and incurable, but with an accurate diagnosis by a trained professional, commitment to a treatment plan, and positive support, borderline personality disorder can be treated and managed successfully. Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental health condition that causes unstable moods, behaviors, and self-image, as well as impaired functioning in everyday life. Mood changes can be intense and last for a few hours or a few days.
BPD may cause impulsive behaviors and lead a person to have unstable and difficult relationships with others. It is not uncommon for someone with BPD to have co-occurring mental illnesses, like an anxiety disorder or depression. They may also struggle with eating disorders and substance use disorders. The most prevalent symptoms of BPD in most people are related to mood swings and instability and an uncertain self-image.
While the condition can manifest in different ways in different individuals, there are important commonalities that define it. The diagnostic criteria include nine symptoms. To be diagnosed with BPD, an individual must show at least five of these symptoms, and they must be long-standing and pervasive:.
To be diagnosed with BPD, a mental health professional will conduct a psychiatric evaluation that involves asking questions and observing behaviors and responses.
A full diagnosis should also include a medical evaluation to rule out any physical health issues that may be causing symptoms as well as a review of family history of mental illness. A diagnosis should be made or confirmed by a psychiatrist.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Diagnosis of BPD is challenging because many of the symptoms overlap with other mental health issues, like depression. An individual being evaluated may have certain characteristic symptoms of BPD but not draw attention to them. Research into better ways to diagnose BPD and distinguish it from other conditions is underway.
As with so many mental health conditions, the exact cause of borderline personality disorder is not known with certainty. It does seem to have a genetic component, as studies with families and identical twins suggest. It also may be related to environmental factors, like the experience of trauma.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
These include a family history, especially an immediate family member with BPD, trauma or stressful experiences in childhood, such as neglect, and having certain personality traits, like impulsiveness and aggression. There are several other mental illnesses that commonly occur with borderline personality disorder. It is often difficult to make accurate diagnoses because many of the symptoms of these different conditions overlap. Commonly co-occurring disorders include major depression, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders.
These may include other physical or mental illnesses or may be difficulties with otherwise normal activities, such as work or school:. BPD is a treatable condition. With the expertise of mental health professionals, a person diagnosed with BPD can participate in a BPD treatment plan that helps them manage symptoms. Borderline personality disorder treatment can also help an individual have more stable relationships with loved ones. Psychotherapy is one important component of treatment for BPD and can take several forms.
Two types of therapy have been found by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to have the most evidence backing effectiveness:. In addition to therapy, patients with BPD can benefit from medications. There are no drugs specifically approved to treat this condition, but those used for certain mental health symptoms can be used. Mood stabilizers, for instance, help manage mood swings, as they do for patients with bipolar disorder.
Antidepressants can also alleviate mood symptoms, and antipsychotics may help as well. In some situations, a person with BPD may benefit from hospitalization or intensive residential treatment.
Three Steps to Identifying a Borderline Personality | Psychology Today
Being diagnosed with BPD may feel devastating, but it should also provide a sense of hope. It can be frustrating and scary to have some of the feelings that go with this illness, but to have a diagnosis explains those feelings and actions and can lead to treatment.
The prognosis over the long-term for BPD is good, as long as a patient gets treatment and sticks with it over time. With support and treatment a patient can recover quickly and go back to normal activities. The illness is chronic, though, so even when feeling better, treatment must be maintained. Borderline personality disorder is a very serious mental illness with significant repercussions.
This article focuses on the neurobiological aspects of BPD. Two distinct personality traits, impulsive aggression and affective instability, which appear to have strong biological correlates, co-occur in patients with BPD. Each of these traits has been shown to run separately in families of patients with BPD, and when they coincide in a relative, that individual is likely to meet criteria for a diagnosis of BPD. During the past decade, researchers have begun to tease out some key biological correlates of these personality traits.
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Peter L. Franzen, Daniel J. Borderline personality disorder as defined by the DSM-IV encompasses a number of symptoms of other psychiatric disorders, including major depression.
In numerous studies of borderline personality disorder, it has been shown repeatedly that the sleep architecture changes are very similar to those observed in patients with major depression. Subjects with borderline personality disorder frequently have symptoms of depression and have been shown to have abnormalities of other biological markers associated with depression. Daniel J. Zimmerman M. Groves M.
Borderline personality is so named 10 because it seemed to psychoanalysts to lie between the psychoses and the neuroses. Borderline patients are dreaded for their impulsivity, swings from love to hate, and maddening irrationality. They split the world into exaggerated dichotomies of good and evil. An interpersonal middle ground does not exist.
These patients, by some combination of innate rage and inept parenting, cannot find a moderate position in any aspect of mental life. TABLE Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; note: do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in criterion 5. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging e.
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Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats or self-mutilating behavior. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood e. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger e. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
In the past, borderline personality was sometimes held to be a subset of biological depressive illness 15—17 or a variant of traditional diagnoses, such as hysteria, sociopathy, or alcoholism. Of these Axis I—plus—Axis II patients, some have remission of borderline symptoms when their affective disorder is treated or when active alcohol abuse stops, again confusing the validity of the diagnosis. Because it is more closely related to management, differential diagnosis is discussed in a later section.