Borderline personality disorder
People diagnosed with BPD might have strong mood swings, see things as "all good" or "all bad" (splitting), and be 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 or self-destructive. They are often injured and need hospital treatment.
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.
- Trying very hard to prevent being abandoned
- 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.
- Being confused about their own personal identity
- 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)
- Trying to commit suicide, or deliberate self-injury (common methods are cutting, hitting, burning or drug overdose)
- Mood swings - feeling very happy, sad or anxious, for hours at a time
- Feeling empty inside
- Feeling very angry, getting into many fights
- Having delusions or being paranoid
The vast majority of people who have 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. Most borderlines self-harm.
There is no one cause for BPD. Some researchers think that it might be caused by trauma in childhood, such as sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect. Many people with BPD were abused when they were children. 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.
It is very difficult to treat BPD, and it might take many years. Some types of psychotherapy can help, like dialectical behavioral therapy. Some doctors give medicines to patients with BPD, most often antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizers.
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