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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of ten personality disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Each of the ten personality disorders is categorized into one of three clusters (cluster A, cluster B, and cluster C). The personality disorders that make up each cluster share similar symptoms and have overlapping characteristics. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) cluster A is characterized as odd or eccentric personalities; cluster B is characterized as dramatic, emotional, or erratic personalities; and cluster C is characterized as anxious or fearful personalities. Borderline personality disorder belongs to cluster B and is specifically characterized by “hypersensitivity to rejection and resulting instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, affect, and behavior.” Borderline personality disorder is associated with a diverse range of signs and symptoms. There is no way to definitively tell if someone has BPD without a proper diagnosis.

Differential Diagnosis

Borderline personality disorder is known as a differential diagnosis. A differential diagnosis implies that there are other possible diagnoses, and requires the diagnostician to differentiate between these possibilities to determine the actual diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan. To begin the diagnosis process, an individual must undergo a physical exam, including a complete medical history. Although there are currently no laboratory tests or scans used to detect or diagnose BPD, some tests (e.g., blood tests) may be used in the diagnosis process to check for any underlying health conditions that may be causing symptoms. If no signs of physical illness are determined, the process continues with an assessment conducted by a mental health professional that specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses (e.g., psychiatrist, psychologist, etc.). Mental health experts rely on the diagnostic criteria provided in the DSM-5.

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria 

According to the DSM-5, borderline personality disorder is diagnosed when an individual experiences “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood” and must experience five or more of the following symptoms in a variety of contexts:

  • Emotional instability.
  • Feelings of emptiness.
  • Efforts to avoid abandonment.
  • Impulsive behaviors.
  • Identity disturbances.
  • Inappropriate, irrational and/ or intense bouts of anger.
  • Transient paranoid and/ or dissociative symptoms.
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships.
  • Suicidal and/ or self-harming behaviors.

BPD is notorious for being an incredibly challenging mental health disorder to both diagnose and treat. The cause of borderline personality disorder remains unknown. However, the National Institute of Mental Health (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.” Recent research suggests that 1.6% of the population in the United States has BPD, which is equal to over four million Americans.

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.

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