Borderline Personality disorder: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

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Borderline Personality Disorder also know as BPD, emotional dysregulation disorder is a mental disorder with symptoms including emotional instability, suicidal behavior etc. The people suffering from BPD usually have high rates of self- harm behaviors like cutting, and suicides. But before we get into BPD let us first know about what is personality disorder actually.

What is Personality Disorder?

Personality is the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people. A person sometimes doesn’t believe they have a personality disorder. Their actions and thoughts may seem very natural to them but might cause a problem for the people around them.  Personality Disorders is a type of mental disorder in which a person has a rigid pattern of thinking and behaving.  They have trouble in understanding the situation and the people around them. And this leads to causing problems in work, relationships, and social places.

It usually begins in the teenage years or the early adulthood. As this is considered to be the most critical time for personality building. People might develop odd habits that seemed to interest them. But later could prove dangerous to their well being. Also sometimes we won’t be able to identify the symptoms until the person is in his middle age because they weren’t so obvious before. Generally, the children are not diagnosed with BPD because it is believed that the behaviors might improve as they mature with age.

Borderline Personality disorder : Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Types of personality disorder

The types of personality disorders are categorized into three clusters.

Cluster A Personality: A disorder of odd/eccentric reactions

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder:  It is characterized by a distrust of others, family, friends etc. people with this disorder often judge others intentions as malicious without any evidence.
  • Schizoid personality disorder: It involves symptoms that include being detached from social relationships. Inability to take interest in any activity and limited range of emotional expressions.
  • Schizotypal personality disorder: It features eccentricities in speech, appearance, behavior. Magical thinking or odd beliefs, flat emotions and suspicious response to others.

Cluster B Personality: Disorder of dramatic, emotional or erratic reactions

  • Histrionic personality disorder: Associated with patterns of extreme emotionality and attention seeking behaviors.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder: Associated with an exaggerated pattern of self-image, self-centeredness and low empathy.
  • Borderline personality disorder: Associated with symptoms including emotional instability, suicidal behavior, display of anger, fragile self-image.
  • Antisocial personality disorder: Disregard for rules, norms. Lying stealing, aggression and impulsive behavior.

Cluster C Personality Disorder: It involves anxiety and fearfulness.

  • Avoidant personality disorder: It involves socially inhibited, extreme shyness, sensitive to any form of criticism.
  • Dependent personality disorder: It involves a chronic pattern extreme dependence on the caregivers. Clingy behavior, lack of confidence, fear of being left alone.
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: It is a preoccupation with details, rules, orderliness, perfectionism. It is not the same as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Also Read: What is Trypophobia?- A Fear of Holes! Symptoms, Causes And Treatment

Causes of Personality Disorder

Genes: There are certain personality traits that are passed through our parents. These traits are also called temperament.

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Environment: The surroundings we grew up in, the people we had around us, the relationships we had and the events that took place. Early childhood has a powerful influence upon behavior later in life.

Risk factors involved: There can be many triggering thing that could have happened in a life of a person.

  • The family history of personality disorders or any other disorder
  • Abusive or unstable childhood
  • Getting diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder

Borderline Personality disorder : Symptoms, Causes and Treatments


What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of self-image and behavior. They are seen in the border of psychosis and neurosis. Impulsivity, a chronic feeling of emptiness and identity disturbance are some of the traits they have. The people usually have high rates of self- harm behaviors like cutting, and suicides. It is more common in females than in males.

Symptoms of BPD

The person experiences intense moments of anger, depression, anxiety that either lasts for a few hours or days at a stretch. The recurring episodes of aggression, drug or alcohol abuse is connected with BPD. The thoughts are usually distorted and can lead to self-damage when it comes to making choices related to career or people. They might feel empty or as if there is no one who could understand them. Because of their behavior, they are usually isolated from others. They have an unstable pattern of social relationships. For one moment they might love and admire someone and on the next accuse them of something which is not even valid and thus end up hating them or being angry on them. They often have two states a good or a bad. If they are in a good state they will not have any knowledge about the bad state.

They cannot handle rejection even a smallest of the thing will make them lose their temperament. Because of their inability to make connections they often feel lost or abandoned. They become so vulnerable to the fear of being helpless that they even try to give suicide threats to everyone around them. They also some impulsive behavior like binge eating, overspending, a lot of unprotected sexual activities etc.  Involvement in abusive relationships, multiple legal issues such as divorce or going to jail. BPD generally comorbid with other disorders like anxiety, bipolar, eating disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, substance abuse etc.

Also Read: Meaning of Dreams, Types of Dreams And Dreams Interpretations

Causes of BPD

Both environmental and genetic factors play a role in predisposing the symptoms of BPD. It is more common in people who have BPD in their close family. Studies have shown that people with BPD have a history of abuse or neglected childhood. According to statistics 41 to 71 percent of BPD patients have reported to be victims of sexual abuse, usually by a non-caregiver. It has also been noted that are more likely to be subjected to torture. These incidents have left mark on their minds so hard that they think the only way to avenge is to do the same to other people. This negative thinking becomes so distorted that they end up destroying lives.

Researchers believe that BPD is a result of the combination of an individual’s vulnerability to environmental stressors or neglect as a child or other events that trigger the onset. Studies suggest that people predisposed to impulsive aggression have impaired regulation of the neural circuits that modulate emotion (source). Certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin may not function properly.

Borderline Personality disorder : Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Risk Factors Involved

Heredity: Anyone can be at a higher risk of getting one if the family has any history or in present is showing signs and symptoms of it.

Childhood Events: Anyone who had a terrible past while they were a child often engages in harmful behaviors. Parents who were divorced or abuser of any sort of substance create an unhealthy environment for the children thus leading them to be vulnerable to mental disorders.

Treatments Available For BPD

First, it is diagnosed by a mental health doctor- psychiatrist. Medical histories are examined and then the signs and symptoms present.

  • Psychotherapy/talk therapy or online therapy has always proved to a boon for treating disorders and the same for BPD. It helps you introspect yourself, the things that trigger you, and how to control the emotions. Relationships are the biggest support and improving them is also a step in taking charge of your life.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy that works to replace irrelevant thoughts from the mind.
  • Mentalization-based therapy helps to identify thoughts just at the very moment and create an alternative perspective of the scene.
  • Dialectical behavior therapy includes or group therapy. It uses a skills-based approach and teaches how to manage emotions, tolerates distress and improves relationships.
  • Schema-focused therapy, Transference-focused therapy are also some of them.
  • Antidepressants and mood stabilizers are helpful to control mood swings.
  • Antipsychotic drugs can be used where there are distortions in thinking.

Everything takes time to heal. The distorted pattern they grew from childhood is not easy to mend in a couple of weeks. The repeated counseling sessions with the doctor, therapies taken will considerably help to improve. Some people leave the treatment when they don’t see instant results. But this is not your body suffering from a fever or cold, it is your brain that needs to be treated. So patience is the key. Everyone heals at their own pace. Some medications work wonders for some but might not work for you. Doctors can always combine different medications and make it work.

No, it is not your fault that you had a negative childhood but the power it can hold on you is your choice. Understand that it was not everyone’s fault and not all of them deserve a harsh treatment. It’s okay to be angry but letting it out in an aggressive manner is not okay. Go and see a doctor if you find yourself relating to the symptoms you may not be aware of it but certain things in your life can trigger you.

Instead of getting distant from others, go and talk to them. Let them know what you are facing because they will help you just by being in your life. A healthy lifestyle is a key to a healthy life. Practice coping skills for the intense emotions that you feel. Meditation, Yoga will help calm down the senses. All that has to be done is accept the disorder and take the right steps.

“It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative- whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it”- The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath.

Also Read: What Is Depression? Depression Symptoms, Types, Causes, and Treatments

Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below. Your experience might help someone.

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Shubhangi More
Shubhangi More
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