What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Experiencing emotional and psychological distress can be confusing and scary. Some mental disorders have overlapping symptoms with each other which is why it’s important to never self-diagnose. A mental health professional uses a book that helps guide him or her to diagnose clients. The latest edition of the book guide for mental disorders is the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder specifically a personality disorder identified by the DSM. It was formerly under the Axis II of the DSM-IV but using the axes is now obsolete. BPD in men and women is now featured under the Cluster B of Personality Disorders, along with Antisocial Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Here are BPD facts you should know to help you understand what is BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder:

BPD Shows Pervasive Instability in Different Life Areas

The BPD DSM criteria indicate that for you to be diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder, there should be an observed pattern of instability with your interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affect. These unstable behaviors usually begin by early adulthood and are consistent in different areas of your life in relationships, cognition, and behavior.

Symptoms are Present

In the BPD DSM criteria, you are diagnosed having BPD if there are at least five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Intense or chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Doing frantic behaviors to avoid the feelings of real or imagined abandonment
  • Having intense feelings about people in your life whom you either idealize or devalue
  • Having impulsive, inappropriate, and intense anger which may be difficult to control
  • Unstable self-image or identity
  • Impulsive in at least two or more self-damaging behavior: Spending money, being extremely sexually active, reckless driving or binge-eating are examples of self-damaging behaviors
  • Repeatedly threatens others with suicidal or self-harm behaviors and gestures
  • Having reactive and unstable moods that last a few hours
  • Experiences dissociation or depersonalization during periods of extreme stress

It is Highly Genetically Common

One of the BPD facts is that BPD in men and women is five times more likely to develop among first-degree relatives. While it can be extremely common, every mental disorder is a product of biological and environmental factors. You may come from a family with a member diagnosed with BPD but that doesn’t mean you automatically have one.

In terms of biological sex, about 75% of those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are females.

It Can Exist With Other Mental Disorders

The BPD DSM Criteria shows symptoms that also occur with other mental disorders which makes BPD in men and women possible to co-exist with other mental disorders like depressive disorders, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorders.

Mental health professionals when diagnosing someone with BPD are very cautious in giving an additional diagnosis because certain features of BPD in men and women may be attributable to another mental disorder.

It is Treatable

Among all of the mental disorders in the DSM-V, personality disorders are very hard to cure. Individuals with BPD and other personality disorders have lived their whole life having abnormal thoughts and behaviors that prevent them from functioning and thinking normally. That is one of the challenges of being diagnosed with a personality disorder. With unhealthy belief systems inculcated in your mind, it takes discipline and therapy to correct certain belief systems and replace them with healthy ones.

Despite the difficulty you may face in recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD symptoms can be treatable and can be less invasive in your life if you engage in continuous treatment. Treatments for individuals with BPD usually revolve around Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or other types of psychotherapy, taking medications, and establishing behavioral changes or lifestyle changes.

If you think you or someone you love is struggling with BPD, it is very important to seek help and consult a mental health professional. Living with BPD can be hard. The next step you can do to make it less hard is engaging in treatment; Butlr Health also offers teletherapy to make psychotherapy available to you anywhere and any time.

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