Skip to main content
Tag

borderline personality disorder Archives - Suzanne Wallach

The Importance of Setting Boundaries in BPD Recovery

BPD Recovery

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic mental health disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). BPD is explained as a mental health condition “in which a person has long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions… [and] these inner experiences often result in impulsive actions and chaotic relationships with other people.” Setting boundaries is crucial in the recovery process for individuals with BPD. While boundaries are vital, they are not always easy to establish, and respecting boundaries can be particularly challenging for people BPD and those close to them. Personal boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits and rules that people set for themselves to safeguard their overall well-being. The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation explains:

  • Healthy boundaries: help people define who they are to ensure relationships are mutually safe, supportive, and respectful.
  • Unhealthy boundaries: are thoughts or behaviors used to manipulate or control relationships.

Boundaries create a standard by which one’s self-worth and integrity is communicated and are, therefore, based on one’s personal values and needs. There are a variety of reasons why setting boundaries in borderline personality disorder recovery is important. Setting boundaries is a form of self-care that involves prioritizing one’s own needs and well-being, which is essential for anyone but particularly important for individuals recovering from BPD.

Individuals with BPD often struggle with intense and rapidly changing emotions. Boundaries provide predictability and stability that can help regulate these emotions and prevent emotional dysregulation. BPD often involves tumultuous relationships due to fear of abandonment and difficulty trusting others. Setting boundaries can foster healthier, more stable connections with others, reducing the chaos and volatility in relationships. Boundaries help create a sense of expectedness and structure, which can mitigate the instability often associated with BPD, reducing stress and anxiety. Establishing boundaries can help individuals with BPD develop a clearer sense of self. By defining their limits, values, and priorities, individuals with BPD can build a stronger and more stable self-identity and develop improved self-esteem. Further, learning to set and enforce boundaries can inspire personal growth and enhance self-confidence.

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.

DBT: A Powerful Therapy For Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, mental health disorder. It is a complex psychological condition that is characterized by pervasive instability in moods, emotions, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships. This instability interferes with one’s ability to function in his or her daily life, long-term planning, as well as an individual’s sense of identity. Individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder often experience swift mood swings, including intense episodes of depression, anger, and/ or anxiety that may range in duration, lasting as short as a couple of hours to several days. The symptoms associated with BPD frequently result in highly unstable patterns of social relationships. This chronic condition is also associated with high rates of self-injury and suicidal behavior. The treatment for BPD often includes long-term participation in psychodynamic models of psychotherapy.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that emphasizes the psychosocial aspects of treatment. It is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and blends Eastern mindfulness techniques (e.g., awareness, mindfulness, and attentiveness to current situations and emotional experiences) to encourage acceptance and change. Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed DBT in the late 1980s as a treatment method specifically designed for chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Since its inception, dialectical behavior therapy has been and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD and has also proven effective in treating individuals with other mental health conditions. DBT is a rigidly structured therapeutic approach that is carried out in three therapeutic settings: weekly individual therapy sessions, weekly DBT skills training group therapy sessions, and as-needed phone coaching. This allows participants to engage in individualized and collective treatment while focusing on the four modules of DBT, which are:

  1. Core mindfulness: the practice of being completely present and aware in the moment.
  2. Distress tolerance: becoming tolerant of pain in difficult situations instead of attempting to change it.
  3. Emotion regulation: decreasing emotional impulsivity, learning to manage and shift intense, problematic emotions.
  4. Interpersonal effectiveness: authentically advocating for one’s own wants and needs in a relationship in a way that is both self-respecting and non-damaging.

The entire DBT program (provided skills modules are not repeated) usually lasts about six months long, as approximately six weeks are allocated to each of the four skills modules. DBT is based on the notion that change can be balanced with self-acceptance. This gives individuals struggling with BPD the opportunity to build meaningful and stable lives. Dialectical behavior therapy aims to help an individual learn strategies, techniques, and tools to effectively manage the symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder, reduce the severity of symptoms experienced, and enhance one’s quality of life.

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.

How Can You Tell If Someone Has Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder

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.

Does My Husband Have Borderline Personality Disorder Test?

Borderline Personality Disorder Test

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic mental health condition that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). BPD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of instability and hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships, instability in self-image, extreme mood fluctuations, and impulsivity…often [causing one to] struggle with relationship issues, lack self-esteem, have a poor self-image, and have an inability to appropriately self-regulate.” 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.” If you are concerned that your husband may be struggling with borderline personality disorder it is helpful to learn about the common signs and symptoms, as there is no specific test for BPD.

Signs and Symptoms

For diagnostic purposes, the DSM-5 list nine primary symptoms for borderline personality disorder. Five of the nine must be detected before a mental health professional can make a diagnosis of BPD, although it is common for sufferers to demonstrate more than five. The nine symptoms are:

  1. Strong, largely irrational fears of abandonment accompanied by frantic, desperate efforts to avoid it.
  2. In the context of relationships, alternating periods of idealization (intense love and admiration) and devaluation (feelings of revulsion and disillusionment).
  3. Persistently unstable self-image and sense of identity.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that can cause damage to self or others (e.g., reckless spending, substance abuse, binge eating, compulsive gambling, unsafe driving, etc.).
  5. Episodes of acute emotional disquiet (irritability, anxiety, or anguish) that last for hours or days.
  6. Chronic feelings of emptiness, meaninglessness, and low motivation.
  7. Explosive, intense bursts of uncontrollable anger.
  8. Outbreaks of dissociative symptoms marked by extreme paranoia, suspicion, and a disconnection from reality.
  9. Suicidal threats and actions and self-harming behavior (e.g., cutting, burning, pulling out hair, scratching the skin until it bleeds, etc.).

The overall symptomatic profile for borderline personality disorder is largely the same for men and women. Nevertheless, there are some differences in the way the symptoms of BPD manifest in the two genders. In general, men with BPD are:

  • Highly sensitive to criticism, and aggressive in response to perceived insults.
  • Overly controlling in relationships.
  • Intensely jealous and possessive.
  • Quick to become disillusioned with others, and openly expressive of their contempt.
  • Subject to instantaneous mood changes.
  • Excessively irritable and prone to episodes of explosive anger.
  • Likely to compensate for feelings of inadequacy through risky, dangerous behavior.

BPD is notorious for being an incredibly challenging mental health disorder to both diagnose and treat. This is partly because BPD symptoms often mimic those of other mental health disorders (e.g., histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar disorder, etc.). Therefore, the only way to truly know whether someone has borderline personality disorder is to undergo a comprehensive evaluation that is conducted by one or more qualified mental health professionals.

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.

How Do I Leave BPD?

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health disorder. It is a serious psychological condition that is characterized by pervasive instability in moods, emotions, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships which interfere with one’s ability to function in everyday life. BPD directly affects how one feels about him or herself, one’s behaviors as well as how an individual can relate to others. As is explained by the Mayo Clinic individuals with borderline personality disorder have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and are often unable to tolerate being alone. Even with the strong desire to have loving, and lasting relationships, the symptoms of BPD (e.g., inappropriate anger, impulsiveness, frequent mood swings, etc.) often push others away. Making the decision to end a relationship with a partner diagnosed with borderline personality disorder can be difficult. To help you end your relationship amicably and leave with integrity consider the following suggestions, provided by Psychology Today:

  • Speak clearly, gently, and with compassion: When communicating it is important to be direct and use short sentences, in a calm and non-threatening voice.
    • Remain calm and respectful: It is common for individuals with BPD to lash out when feeling attacked, frustrated, or rejected. Avoid reacting impulsively and do not be sarcastic, snarky, or demeaning.
  • Avoid blame: The constructive conversations that often occur between two healthy people exploring why their relationship did not work, is unlikely to happen when one of the partners has borderline personality disorder. In attempt to understand why the relationship failed, an individual with BPD is likely to ask what they did wrong. However, rather than accepting their partner’s feedback at face value, they instead hear these explanations as attacks on their character and become defensive or even hostile.
  • Be a source of validation: Whenever possible, acknowledge and validate their feelings, even if you do not fully agree with their beliefs.
  • Set and enforce boundaries as necessary: When you break up with someone diagnosed with BPD, they are likely to lash out at you. You have made the choice to end the relationship and to uphold this decision you must set and maintain clear boundaries by stating what you will and will not accept.

The end of any relationship can trigger a range of emotions and in partners with BPD terminating a relationship can cause particularly charged and heightened emotional reactions. Nevertheless, if there comes a point where you feel it best to end a relationship, although their BPD may be helpful in considering the most effective way to deliver this message to your partner, it is generally best to avoid delay.

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.

How Do You Work With BPD?

BPD

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, BPD is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), as “an illness characterized by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, behavior, and self-image.” The signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder are highlighted in the diagnostic criteria that is outlined in the DSM-5. Due to the illusive nature of its symptoms paired with the fact that many symptoms overlap with other mental health ailments, BPD is notoriously known as one of the most difficult mental health illnesses to both diagnose and treat.

Tips For Working With Clients With BPD

BPD directly impacts the way individuals interpret information, primarily as it relates to others’ intentions. Thus, it is highly common for people with BPD to feel rejected, abandoned, misunderstood, judged, inferior, and isolated. An individual with BPD experiences profound perceptual shifts and disordered reactions to those perceptions, which causes them to constantly precieve events and personal interactions differently than those around them. This can make treating someone with borderline personality disorder complicated. Nevertheless, there are several key principles that have been established and are important to bear in mind when working with an individual diagnosed with BPD. To guide your treatment protocol, experts suggest considering the following strategies:

  • Be compassionate.
  • Demonstrate empathy.
  • Listen to the person’s current experience.
  • Validate the person’s current emotional state.
  • Take the person’s experience seriously, noting verbal and non-verbal communications.
  • Maintain a non-judgmental approach.
  • Remain calm.
  • Remain respectful.
  • Remain caring.
  • Engage in open communication.
  • Be open and prepared to acknowledge both the serious and comical side of life, where appropriate.
  • Foster trust to allow strong emotions to be freely expressed.
  • Be clear, consistent, and reliable.
  • Convey encouragement and hope about their capacity for change.

Treatment for BPD aims to help an individual learn strategies, techniques, and tools to reduce the severity of symptoms while simultaneously cultivating an enhanced ability to effectively manage its associated symptoms.

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.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Fear of Abandonment

Borderline Personality Disorder

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.

5 Things To Remember When You Have BPD

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, mental health disorder. It is a complex psychological condition that is characterized by pervasive instability in moods, emotions, behaviors, and interpersonal relationships. This instability interferes with one’s ability to function in his or her daily life, long-term planning, as well as an individual’s sense of identity. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatment options available for a person diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Still, having a diagnosis of and living with BDP can be challenging. Therefore, it can be helpful to bear the following in mind:

  • You are not manipulative or attention-seeking: A hallmark symptom of BPD is to experience a rapid onset of intense emotions. As a result, people with this condition can quickly become extremely distressed. When someone with BPD is upset, it is because they are genuinely distressed and struggling to cope with those feelings, while trying to manage an incredibly complex mental health condition. You deserve to have your distress listened to, respected, validated, and taken seriously.
  • You are loveable and can be in a healthy relationship: Relationships can feel like a whirlwind at times, because when someone with BPD, especially those struggling with chronic feelings of emptiness or loneliness, develops a real connection, the intensity is akin to any other emotion they experience. Your BPD, emotional sensitivity or mental health difficulties do not mean there is something unlovable about you. On the flip side, people with BPD have a lot of love to give, so much that it can be overwhelming. People with BPD can have successful long-term relationships, lasting for decades.
  • Do not believe everything you read: The is an array of content, across all entertainment platforms (e.g., websites, videos, movies, podcasts, etc.) that depict people with BPD in a negative light (e.g., abusers, monsters, bullies, etc.). Additionally, some books and research papers portray people with BPD as helpless, vengeful, or vindictive. Whilst mental health ailments are becoming better understood and more accurately represented, this shift seems to be occurring much more slowly for personality disorders, such as BPD, and the stigma continues to cause detrimental consequences.
  • You did not cause BPD: Although the cause of borderline personality disorder remains unknown, 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.”
  • You are not alone: Borderline personality disorder is not an uncommon disorder, as an 1.4% of the adult population in America experience BPD.

 

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.

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 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.

Back to top