Skip to main content
All Posts By

Rahul

Borderline Personality Disorder and Fear of Abandonment

Psychology Today characterizes fear of abandonment as “a lingering feeling of insecurity, contributing to intrusive thoughts, emptiness, unstable sense of self, clinginess, neediness, extreme mood fluctuations, and frequent relationship conflicts.” It is a complex phenomenon that can stem from a variety of sources, including interruptions in the normal development of certain cognitive and emotional capacities, challenges with past relationships, and other problematic social and life experiences. It is important to note that fear of abandonment is a natural part of the human psyche and is hardwired into our survival mechanism. Humans are born into the world and as infants, are fully dependent upon others to survive and thrive. Hence, the idea of being abandoned and left entirely and forever alone should elicit feelings of terror.

 

Psychologists and neuroscientists explain and understand the fear of abandonment through the lens of attachment theories. People with anxious-preoccupied attachment, for example, tend to feel fear of abandonment and rejection more consciously. This leads them to develop persistent emotional and behavioral patterns around these fears more so than people with other attachment styles. Fear of abandonment may cause a person to experience deep feelings of sadness and hollowness when a person to whom they are attached is not physically by their side. It may cause an unexplainable fear that a loved one will be hurt, killed, or disappear suddenly. Although, fear of abandonment itself is not a pathology, it is a core feature of certain mental health disorders.

 

Borderline Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list ten standalone personality disorders and based on similar characteristics, each personality disorder is grouped into one of three categories (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). Borderline personality disorder (BPD) belongs to cluster B, which are characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior. BPD is specifically characterized by “hypersensitivity to rejection and resulting instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, affect, and behavior.” A hallmark of BPD is a pattern of instability in personal relationships. As is explained by Harvard Medical School, “People with borderline personality disorder have a deep fear of abandonment… they compete for social acceptance, are terrified of rejection and often feel lonely even in the context of an intimate relationship.” Even with the strong desire to have loving, and lasting relationships, the symptoms of BPD such as inappropriate anger, impulsiveness, and frequent mood swings often push others away, which reinforces the fear of abandonment.

 

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Are The Signs Of An Eating Disorder?

eating disorder

Eating disorders are complex psychological conditions that are broadly characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. They are defined as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes different types of eating disorders, all of which are categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Each type of eating disorder is associated with different signs and symptoms, as indicated below: 

  • Anorexia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by weight loss and/ or lack of appropriate wait gain in growing children, an inability to maintain an appropriate body weight for one’s age, height, stature, intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of body image (weight and/ or shape). People struggling with anorexia will employ extreme efforts to control their weight and/ or shape, which can significantly interfere with their ability to properly function in daily life. The Mayo Clinic provides examples of common signs of anorexia, some of which include: 
    • Thin appearance
    • Insomnia
    • Extreme weight loss
    • Not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Dizziness and/ or fainting
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Dry and/ or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration
  • Excessively exercising
  • Bulimia nervosa: is an eating disorder characterized by a cycle of overeating (bingeing) and compensatory behaviors (purging) in attempts to undo the effects of the binge eating episodes. Purging could include self-induced vomiting, excessively over exercising, and/ or abusing diuretics. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) provides examples of common signs of bulimia, some of which include:
    • Appears uncomfortable eating around others
    • Fear of eating in public or with others
    • Shows unusual swelling of the cheeks or jaw area
    • Discolored, stained teeth
    • Has calluses on the back of the hands and knuckles from self-induced vomiting
    • Diets frequently
    • Shows extreme concern with body weight and shape
    • Extreme mood swings
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Dizziness
    • Fainting
    • Non-specific gastrointestinal complaints
    • Sleeping problems
    • Muscle weakness
    • Impaired immune system
  • Binge-eating disorder (BED): is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of compulsively eating abnormally large quantities of food (often quickly) to the point of physical discomfort, without engaging in compensatory behaviors. Often binge episodes are followed by emotions of embarrassment, shame, guilt, and/ or distress. The Office on Women’s Health (OASH) provides examples of common signs of binge-eating disorder, some of which include:
    • Noticeable weight fluctuations
    • Depression
    • Eating in secret
    • Anxiety
    • Low self-esteem/ low self-worth
    • Skipping meals
    • Hiding food in unusual places
    • Eating excessive amounts of food in a short period of time
    • Continuing to eat, even when painfully full 
    • Inability to feel satiated
    • Suicidal ideation
  • Rumination syndrome: is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by repeatedly and unintentionally regurgitating (spitting up) undigested or partially digested food from the stomach, chewing it again and either swallowing it or spitting it out. The Mayo Clinic provides examples of common signs of rumination syndrome, some of which include:
    • Effortless regurgitation, typically within 10 minutes of eating
    • Abdominal pain or pressure relieved by regurgitation
    • A feeling of fullness
    • Bad breath
    • Nausea
    • Unintentional weight loss
  • Avoidant/ restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID): is an eating disorder characterized by restricting food intake (e.g., eating smaller amounts) and/ or eliminating certain groups to the point of infringing on one’s exposure to and ability to absorb needed nutrients coming from food. The National Eating Disorders Association provides examples of common signs of AFRID, some of which include:
    • Sudden refusal to eat foods previously eaten
    • Fear of choking, vomiting, pain or nausea due to certain foods or the act of eating
    • Lack of appetite or low appetite without medical cause
    • Very slow eating, easily distracted during eating or forgetting to eat

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Can DBT Help With Anxiety?

anxiety-help

Anxiety is the body’s natural response to stress. Anxiety will manifest differently in different people. The feelings of anxiety can range from mild to severe. While fleeting anxiety is unavoidable, it is not healthy for an individual to experience persistent and debilitating symptoms of anxiety. An individual may be struggling with an anxiety disorder when pervasive anxiety interferes with his or her ability to function in daily life. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) asserts: “Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.” There are currently five distinct types of anxiety disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). They include the following: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder (social phobia). According to the American Psychiatric Association, close to thirty percent of adults in America struggle with an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. 

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy treatment that was originally developed by Marsha M. Linehan, in the late 1980s to more effectively treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). Since its inception, dialectical behavior therapy has been and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD, and its efficacy has also expanded to other ailments. DBT is based on the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) approach that relies on talk therapy and emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. It utilizes a multifaceted approach that consists of weekly individual psychotherapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching between sessions. DBT strives to help individuals learn to identify triggers outside of themselves and pair those triggers with healthy responses and coping mechanisms. This is accomplished through focusing on and cultivating therapeutic skills in four main areas, known as the four modules, which are: 

  • Core mindfulness: focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in the current moment
  1. Distress tolerance: focuses on increasing an individual’s ability to tolerate pain that may arise from difficult situations, as opposed to trying to change and/ or escape it
  2. Interpersonal effectiveness: focuses on teaching techniques that enable a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and simultaneously strengthens relationships
  3. Emotion regulation: focuses on decreasing emotional impulsivity by shifting intense emotion without reacting instinctively to them

An individual that suffers from debilitating anxiety will benefit most from a customized treatment plan. DBT offers both the ability to provide personalized therapeutic support through the individual therapy sessions, as well as peer support in DBT skills training group therapy sessions. Through DBT an individual can learn an array of effective coping mechanisms and anxiety management strategies that can help to prevent, reduce, and even become more resilient towards anxiety.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Is Obesity An Eating Disorder?

Obesity-eating-disorder

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) includes several different types of eating disorders, all of which are categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. While obesity and eating disorders are linked, it would be inaccurate to claim they are one and the same. One publication asserts that “obesity is a heterogeneous condition with a complex and incompletely understood etiology, and thus cannot be considered a mental disorder per se.” Hence, most medical experts do not label obesity as an eating disorder, nor is it included in the DSM-5. 

What Is Obesity?

Obesity is essentially an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to one’s health. Harvard Health explains that the healthy range for body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9, overweight is defined as a BMI of 25 to 29.9, and obesity is defined as a BMI of 30 or higher. Obesity is associated with serious health problems (e.g., diabetes, coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, colorectal cancer, etc.). Although it is not recognized as an eating disorder, obesity accounts for far more morbidity and mortality than all the eating disorders combined because it is much more prevalent. More than 30% of Americans are obese, compared with the 4% of Americans who meet criteria for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder, according to the American Psychological Association. This issue continues to rise and has reached epidemic proportions, as over the past five years, the obesity rate among adults aged 18 and older in the United States has increased an annualized 1.8%, amounting to 33 people per 100 individuals. An estimated 300,000 deaths per year are due to the obesity epidemic, which makes it the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States. 

There are many factors that can play a role in the development of obesity, such as genetic influences, caloric intake, exercise, stress and more. Obesity is a common comorbidity (i.e., the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions) of certain eating disorders. Those who struggle with obesity, for example, may also struggle with anorexia as a method of controlling one’s food intake in the hopes of weight loss. Research indicates that “there is a significant co-occurrence of eating disorders, particularly binge eating disorder, in individuals with higher BMI.” Obesity and eating disorders are each associated with severe physical and mental health consequences, and individuals with obesity as well as comorbid eating disorders are at greater risk of these than individuals with either condition alone. Both obesity and eating disorders require medical intervention.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

How To Recover From An Eating Disorder?

Eating-Disorder-Recovery

There are several different types of eating disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), and each is categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. They are serious mental illnesses that are loosely characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. The three most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences and interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life. Although eating disorders are life-long conditions, with proper treatment and support, a person can learn to effectively manage its symptoms. 

Treatment Process

There are a variety of eating disorder treatment options available. The path of recovery will not be the same for everyone, as everyone is unique with distinct needs. A personalized treatment plan will provide an individual with the highest potential for a successful recovery. Depending on the nuanced needs of the individual, the treatment process could include any combination of the following components:

  • Inpatient treatment: intensive, inpatient treatment can help address severe malnutrition and other physical health complications that have developed from one’s eating disorder, settings may include:
    • Hospitalization
    • Inpatient facility
  • Psychotherapy: there are a variety of therapeutic modalities used to help treat individuals with eating disorders and may be integrated into treatment plans, some of which include, but are not limited to:
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): can be used to help an individual break unhealthy behavioral patterns associated with his or her eating disorder by identifying and replacing dysfunctional patterns.
    • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT can benefit a person diagnosed with an eating disorder by helping to foster self-management skills, lower stress, reduce anxiety, and learn to control destructive eating behaviors.
    • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT focuses on how a person’s communications and interactions with other people affect one’s own mental health. Through interpersonal therapy an individual will learn to resolve and adjust unhealthy interpersonal problems, resulting in a symptomatic recovery.
  • Medications: there are certain medications that may be used in in treatment plans for eating disorders:
  • Anorexia nervosa: the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has yet to approve any medication specifically for the treatment of anorexia nervosa. 
      • Bulimia nervosa: the only medication that is approved by the FDA for the treatment of bulimia nervosa is the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) known as Prozac (fluoxetine). 
      • Binge-eating disorder: The first medication the FDA approved as treatment from binge eating disorder is called Vyvanse (lisdexamfetamine). Antidepressants such as SSRIs (e.g., Prozac) could be prescribed to reduce the frequency of binge eating episodes. Anticonvulsant medications, such as Topiramate, could be prescribed to reduce the frequency of bingeing episodes. 
  • Nutritional counseling: to facilitate weight restoration and body-weight management.
  • Medical care and/ or medical monitoring: to minimize and mitigate possible medical complications that can arise from eating disorders

The treatment plan for an individual diagnosed with an eating disorder will be directly informed by several contributing factors, such as: the exact diagnosis, how long he or she has been actively engaging in unhealthy eating habits, his or her personal health history, and the presence of any co-morbid disorders. The goal of eating disorder treatment is to help an individual find a healthy and sustainable relationship with food. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

How Do I Know If Someone Has Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) list ten standalone personality disorders and based on similar characteristics, each personality disorder is grouped into one of three categories (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). Borderline personality disorder (BPD) belongs to cluster B, which according to the Mayo Clinic are “characterized by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior.” More specifically, the Merck Manual explains that BPD is “characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability and hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships, instability in self-image, extreme mood fluctuations, and impulsivity.” Emotional dysregulation is a term used within the mental health field to denote irrational, poorly modulated emotional responses, which is a core feature of borderline personality disorder.

Borderline personality disorder is not an uncommon disorder, as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) estimates that 1.4% of the adult population in America experience BPD. The cause of borderline personality disorder remains unknown, but the NIH alludes to research that “suggests that genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental, cultural, and social factors play a role, or may increase the risk for developing borderline personality disorder.” Although there are several warning signs that can be indicative of BPD, without a comprehensive evaluation that is conducted by one or more qualified mental health professionals, it is essentially impossible to truly know if someone has borderline personality disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

Every individual is different and has the propensity to exhibit a unique combination of signs and symptoms related to borderline personality disorder. The symptoms of borderline personality disorder typically result in overarching interpersonal relationship complications and impulsive actions. The Mayo Clinic provides examples of signs and symptoms that are commonly exhibited in individuals with borderline personality disorder, some of which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Engaging in risky and/ or impulsive behaviors (e.g., reckless driving, excessive gambling, binge eating, substance abuse, unsafe sex, etc.)
  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Self-injury
  • Severe mood swings (e.g., elation, irritability, shame, anxiety, etc.)
  • Pattern of unstable relationships
  • Irrational displays of anger
  • Distorted self-image
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Stress related paranoia

Some individuals may experience numerous symptoms of BPD, while others may only experience a few symptoms. Research indicates that individuals with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of depression, anxiety and/ or anger that could last from a few hours to several days long. The symptoms that manifest because of borderline personality disorder often mimic those of other mental health disorders (e.g., histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar personality etc.). In fact, BPD is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed mental health conditions in America.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Are The 5 Most Common Personality Disorders?

Personality Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists ten standalone personality disorders. Although each personality disorder has distinct characteristics, each of the different personality disorders is categorized into one of three clusters (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) cluster A personality disorders are characterized by eccentric, odd thinking, or behavior; cluster B personality disorders are characterized by overly emotional, dramatic, or unpredictable thinking or behavior; and cluster C personality disorders are characterized by fearful, anxious thinking or behavior. The personality disorders that make up each cluster share similar symptoms and have overlapping characteristics. Data provided by the Cambridge University Press indicates that the global pooled prevalence of any personality disorder is 7.8%. The most common personality disorders are listed below.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD) belongs to cluster C. OCD is characterized by unreasonable, uncontrollable, or recurring thoughts (obsessions) followed by a behavioral response (compulsions). Obsessions are defined as “repeated thoughts, urges, or mental images that cause anxiety.” Compulsions are defined as “repetitive behaviors that a person with OCD feels the urge to do in response to an obsessive thought.” The International OCD Foundation asserts that OCD equally affects men, women, and children of all races, ethnicities, and backgrounds. OCD often begins in childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood; the average age symptoms appear is 19 years old. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America approximately 2.3% of the population has OCD, which is about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children in the U.S.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) belongs to cluster B. The Mayo Clinic explains that people with NPD “have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others.” The Cleveland Clinic estimates that up to 5% of people have NPD, while other sources assert the prevalence rates of NPD can range between 1% to 15% of the United States population.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) belongs to cluster B. BPD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of instability and hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships, instability in self-image, extreme mood fluctuations, and impulsivity.” The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) estimates that 1.4% of the adult population in America experience BPD.

Paranoid Personality Disorder

Paranoid personality disorder (PPD) belongs to cluster A. The Merck Manual explains that paranoid personality disorder is “characterized by a pervasive pattern of unwarranted distrust and suspicion of others that involves interpreting their motives as malicious.” The Cleveland Clinic refers to studies that estimate PPD affects between 2.3% and 4.4% of the general population, and it is thought to be more common among men.

Schizoid Personality Disorder

Schizoid personality disorder belongs to cluster A. The Merck Manual explains “schizoid personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of detachment from and general disinterest in social relationships and a limited range of emotions in interpersonal relationships.” The American Psychiatric Association estimates that between six and seven million Americans suffer from schizoid personality disorder. The most recent research from the National Institutes of Health on the subject suggests that almost five percent of the population has schizoid personality disorder.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Do Psychologists Do With Addiction?

Psychologists

Clinically referred to as substance use disorder (SUD), addiction, is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a complex, chronic brain disorder. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as “a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence.” An individual struggling with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her cravings (e.g., drugs, sex, gambling, etc.) above all else, which can wreak havoc in every facet of one’s life. Substance use disorder is not developed instantaneously, nor does one’s recovery from addiction occur immediately. In many cases, it is advantageous for individuals struggling with substance abuse and/ or addiction to obtain guidance from a mental health professional.

A psychologist, as explained by the Cleveland Clinic “is a mental health professional who uses psychological evaluations and talk therapy to help people learn to better cope with life and relationship issues and mental health conditions.” There are many different areas in which a psychologist might specialize. Clinical psychologists are qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat individuals experiencing psychological distress and mental illness. When a psychologist is presented with an individual struggling with addiction, it is common practice to develop a customized treatment plan that incorporates one or more therapeutic strategies. Psychologists may perform any combination of the following psychotherapeutic modalities when treating a client with addiction:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): focuses on challenging and changing unhelpful cognitive distortions and behaviors, improving emotional regulation, and developing personal coping strategies to problem solve effectively.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): utilizes four main strategies (e.g., core mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation) for teaching individual’s skills that help with effectively changing their behaviors.
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT): focuses on how a person’s communications and interactions with other people affect his or her own mental health.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR): utilizes guided eye movement techniques to help process one’s memories, thoughts, and emotional associations in relation to abusing drugs and/ or alcohol.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI): is a counseling method that helps people resolve ambivalent feelings and insecurities to find the internal motivation they need to change their behavior.
  • Expressive arts therapy (e.g., play therapy, art therapy, music therapy, drama therapy, sand therapy, etc.): provides an alternative medium to express, process, and integrate one’s thoughts and feelings surrounding the recovery process.

To provide an individual with the highest potential for a successful, long-term recovery, a psychologist will consider all treatment options, and incorporate the best possible therapeutic modalities, that are expressly geared to each client’s personal needs.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Are The Six Major Characteristics Of Addictive Behavior?

Addictive Behavior

Addictive behavior is defined by “compulsive drug use despite negative physical and social consequences and the craving for effects other than pain relief.” Addiction, clinically referred to as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. It is defined as a complex condition in which there is an uncontrolled need for a habit-forming substance resulting in harmful physical, psychological, or social effects. An individual struggling with addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her cravings above all else, and as drugs or alcohol become the central focus of one’s life, he or she will demonstrate a preference for these substances over relationships, school, work, and even life itself. Although there are many common characteristics among the various addictive behaviors, the six most prevalent include the following, provided by Medical News Today:

    1. Preoccupation with substance of choice: An individual will become obsessed with and spend increasingly more time and energy thinking of ways to procure more of their substance of choice, other ways they can use it, etc.
    2. Lack of impulse control: An individual will exhibit an inability to delay gratification or to avoid abusing substances despite potential consequences.
    3. Engages in risky behavior: An individual may take risks to obtain the substance (e.g., trading sex for drugs, stealing to pay for illicit drugs, etc.). While under the influence of certain substances, a person may engage in risky activities (e.g., violence, reckless driving, etc.).
    4. Withdrawal: When a substance that one’s body has become accustomed to functioning with is absent or has less of the substance in his or her system, it will be unable to function optimally, and withdrawal symptoms will ensue. Withdrawal is defined as “a negative reaction to the cessation of a substance, thing, or behavior an individual has become dependent upon.” Symptoms of withdrawal can range from emotional to physical and based on a variety of factors, will differ in severity and duration.
    5. Inability to stop: Despite a person’s serious attempts to give up their addiction, they are unable to stop abusing drugs.
  • Secrecy and denial: A person may become disinterested in spending time with others, as they prefer using substances alone, in secret. They may choose to give up and no longer participate in previously enjoyed pastimes with family and/ or friends. Though an individual may be aware of the presence of a physical dependence, they will often deny or refuse to accept the need for treatment, maintaining they are fully capable of stopping use on their own, anytime they wish.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Triggers A Person With Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists ten standalone personality disorders based on similar characteristics, and each personality disorder is grouped into one of three categories (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). Borderline personality disorder (BPD) belongs to cluster B, which is characterized by “dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable thinking or behavior.” More specifically BPD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of instability and hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships, instability in self-image, extreme mood fluctuations, and impulsivity.” Individuals with a borderline personality disorder often struggle with relationship issues, lack self-esteem, have a poor self-image, and have an inability to appropriately self-regulate. A borderline personality disorder is not an uncommon disorder, as the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) estimates that 1.4% of the adult population in America experience BPD.

Risk Factors

The exact cause of borderline personality disorder remains unknown. There are, however, several contributing factors that have been recognized as possibly playing a role in its development, potentially increasing one’s susceptibility to BPD. These factors may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Environmental factors: growing up in an unstable, neglectful, and/ or abusive environment could increase one’s risk of developing BPD.
  • Genetics: people with a family history (e.g., parent, sibling, etc.) with BPD may be at increased risk of developing a borderline personality disorder. Psychology Today asserts that BPD is approximately five times more common among people with close biological relatives with BPD.
  • Brain factors: some studies have indicated that individuals diagnosed with BPD have structural and/ or functional abnormalities, specifically in the areas of the brain that reign emotional regulation and impulse control. Furthermore, deviations from typical serotonin (hormone that works to stabilize one’s mood, happiness, and feelings of well-being) production could increase one’s vulnerability to BPD.

There is no definitive medical test to diagnose borderline personality disorder. The diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5 indicate that to be clinically diagnosed with BPD an individual must experience five or more symptoms, in a variety of contexts.

BPD Triggers

A trigger, in the context of BPD typically refers to something that precipitates the exacerbation of one’s BPD symptoms. Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that “triggers are external events or circumstances that may produce very uncomfortable emotional or psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, panic, discouragement, despair, or negative self-talk.” While BPD triggers can vary from person to person, there are some types of triggers that are more common in BPD, such as the following examples:

  • Perceived or real abandonment
  • Rejection of any kind
  • Loss of a job
  • Locations that invoke negative memories
  • Reminders of traumatic events
  • Ending a relationship

Many borderline personality disorder triggers arise from interpersonal distress. The symptoms that manifest because of borderline personality disorder often mimic those of other mental health disorders (e.g., histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar personality disorder, etc.). BPD symptoms pervasively interfere with an individual’s ability to function optimally in his or her daily life.

 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, or give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.