Borderline personality disorder

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Many people with borderline personality disorder often hurt themselves.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a type of cluster B personality disorder, a long-term mental illness.

Symptoms[change | change source]

People diagnosed with BPD have strong mood swings. They see things as "all good" or "all bad" (splitting), and are frequently confused about their identity. They usually have a lot of trouble with relationships with people. They have strong emotions which often change quickly. They are often reckless, destructive or self-destructive. Many borderline people are in violent relationships. Because of their behaviour, many are arrested and imprisoned.[1] They are often injured and need hospital treatment.[2]

Diagnosis[change | change source]

Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals diagnose people with BPD using a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). They look at a person's behaviour and how they are feeling. If the person has five or more of the following signs, the DSM-IV-TR says that they have BPD.[3]

  1. Trying very hard to prevent being abandoned
  2. A pattern of trouble in relationships, often thinking that other people are much better or much worse than they really are and changing between the two views.
  3. Being confused about their own personal identity
  4. Being impulsive in ways that are dangerous (such as casual sex, drinking too much alcohol or abusing drugs, not eating or eating too much, driving dangerously)
  5. Trying to commit suicide, or deliberate self-injury (common methods are cutting, hitting, burning or drug overdose)
  6. Mood swings - feeling very happy, sad or anxious, for hours at a time
  7. Feeling empty inside
  8. Feeling very angry, getting into many fights
  9. Having delusions or being paranoid

Comorbidity[change | change source]

Nearly all people with BPD also have other mental health problems, such as: mood disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, eating disorders, anxiety disorders (especially post-traumatic stress disorder), and other personality disorders. Most have or have had substance abuse and/or addictions. Self-harm and suicidal behavior are also common.[4]

Cause[change | change source]

The cause for BPD is not known. There may be several causes for people developing BPD. Some researchers think that it might be caused by trauma in childhood, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect.[5][6][7][8] Many people with BPD were abused when they were children.[9] Modern thinking as demonstrated by functioning MRI scans is that neurotransmitters within the brain are faulty and messages are not conducted in the usual way.

Treatment[change | change source]

Treating BPD is very difficult and takes a long time. Today, most people with BPD are treated with different kinds of psychotherapy. One of these is called dialectical behavioral therapy. In addition to therapy, drugs such as antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers are often used.

References[change | change source]

  1. BPD in prisoners
  2. A briefing for people working in the criminal justice system
  3. 301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder" in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition. DOI: 10.1176/appi.books.9780890423349.3831. Retrieved on 2007-09-21.
  4. "BPD Fact Sheet". National Educational Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder. 2013.
  5. Kluft, Richard P. (1990). Incest-Related Syndromes of Adult Psychopathology. American Psychiatric Pub, Inc.. pp. 83,89. ISBN 0880481609.
  6. Zanarini MC, Gunderson JG, Marino MF, Schwartz EO, Frankenburg FR (Jan–February 1989). "Childhood experiences of borderline patients". Comprehensive Psychiatry 30 (1): 18–25. doi:10.1016/0010-440X(89)90114-4. PMID 2924564.
  7. Brown GR, Anderson B (January 1991). "Psychiatric morbidity in adult inpatients with childhood histories of sexual and physical abuse". Am J Psychiatry 148 (1): 55–61. PMID 1984707.
  8. Herman, Judith Lewis; Judith Herman MD (1992). Trauma and recovery. New York: BasicBooks. ISBN 0-465-08730-2.
  9. Zanarini M.C.; F.R. Frankenburg (1997). "Pathways to the development of borderline personality disorder". Journal of Personality Disorders 11 (1): 93-104.

Other websites[change | change source]