Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
|May 4, 2009||Posted by healthsmartmom under Brain Health, Health Issues|
One of the most controversial diagnoses in psychology today is borderline personality disorder, or BPD. Doctors often debate over exactly what this disease is, what causes it, and how to treat it.
The easiest way to describe borderline personality disorder is to compare it to bipolar disorder. Both of these illnesses are characterized by extreme mood swings and impulsive risky behavior; however, the swings in someone with bipolar disorder can last weeks to years, while the swings in someone with BPD will have swings lasting hours or at most days. Like people with bipolar disorder, those with BPD often have issues keeping a job and maintaining stable social relationships.
Another defining factor for BPD is how people who suffer from this disorder view the world. They tend to see everything around them as black and white, good or evil – there is often no in-between. However, just as their mood and anxiety level changes on a regular basis, so does their perception of what is good or bad. For example, if a friend does a nice thing for them one day, they will adore them and think they are a wonderful person. However, they may hate the person the next day for some perceived slight.
People with BPD also apply this view of good and evil to themselves and often look down on themselves as being not good enough and being an evil or bad person. Many times they simply feel worthless or as if they don’t exist at all. This often leads to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. They also often change their mind on their own values and life path. This leads to frequent changes in major life choices, including their career path.
While the true cause of Borderline Personality Disorder is unknown, it is thought to stem from a traumatic experience, particularly physical or sexual abuse in childhood or early adulthood. This is because so many people with BPD have been victims of abuse. In fact, when the disorder was originally conceived, it was thought to be a type of post traumatic stress disorder.
Like many mental health disorders, different people with borderline personality disorder will have different symptoms. To be defined as borderline personality, a patient must exhibit five or more of the following symptoms: unstable self image, suicidal behavior, impulsive behavior, fear of abandonment, inappropriate anger, feelings of emptiness, intense mood swings, paranoia, and a pattern of unstable relationships.
Because there are so many symptoms and diagnosis only requires five, two people with the same disorder could have completely different symptoms. That’s another reason why this disorder is so controversial.
While the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is very controversial, those who advocate that this is a true disorder contend that it is much more common than other more well-known disorders. It’s estimated that 2% of the population could suffer from BPD and that it accounts for 20% of hospitalizations for mental disorders.
While this disorder is still being researched and studied, there has been progress in treatment with medication and therapy. Many people with this disorder have learned to live productive and happy lives.