Borderline Personality Disorder

When people hear Borderline Personality Disorder, several things typically come to mind:

  • Untreatable

  • Manipulative

  • Attention seeking

These are some very common misconceptions about Borderline Personality Disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD, is a mental health condition characterized by an inability to regulate emotions, intense fear of abandonment, unstable interpersonal relationships, distorted self-image, chronic feelings of emptiness, and self-harming behaviors.

Borderline Personality Disorder is thought to stem from chronic childhood trauma and/or neglect, particularly within the first five years of life. Some other risk factors include, a family history of the disorder or other mental health conditions and brain structure differences.

Though this disorder that was once believed to have no treatment, we now have several very effective ways to treat it, and very often, individuals who struggle with this condition will go into remission as they get older and with proper treatment.

One method of treatment is Dialectical Behavior Therapy, a treatment modality created by Marsha Linehan, specifically to treat individuals with BPD. DBT is a skills-based treatment that teaches skills across four modalities, mindfulness, emotion regulation, distress tolerance, and interpersonal effectiveness.

If you’re not sure where to get help, a health care provider can refer you to a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist with experience treating borderline personality disorder. Don’t lose hope, recovery is possible!

If you are not the one struggling with this disorder here are some ways to help a friend or relative with the disorder:

  • Take time to learn about the illness to understand what your friend or relative is experiencing.

  • Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement. Change can be difficult and frightening to people with borderline personality disorder, but things can improve over time.

  • Encourage your loved one in treatment for borderline personality disorder to ask about family therapy.

  • Seek counseling for yourself. Choose a different therapist than the one your relative is seeing.

Wrote by:

D. Belinsky

Mental Health Counselor Intern

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