What Is BPD Mental Health? Borderline Personality Disorder Explained
BPD is a serious mental illness that affects many people around the world. It’s important to understand the symptoms so you can help those affected by it. In this article we’ll discuss what BPD is, its symptoms, causes, and treatments.
Last Updated on November 28, 2021 by Ellyssa

Do you ever wonder if there’s something wrong with you? Do you think you might have depression or anxiety?

If you answered yes to either question then you should read this blog post.

BPD is a mental illness that affects around 2% of adults. In this blog post I’m going to explain what BPD is, how it affects those who suffer from it and how you can get better.

What Is BPD Mental Health?

So really – what is BPD mental health?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD), also called emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD), is a personality disorder characterised by a long-term pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships, distorted self-image and strong emotional reactions. The stressors that promote the volatile symptoms of BPD can come from outside or inside and often vary from person to person.

What does a person with BPD look like?

It is easy to understand how this emotional volatility and inability to self-soothe leads to relationship problems and impulsive, even reckless, behaviour. People with borderline personality disorder can have either perfect or terrible relationships, with perceptions changing rapidly due to anger, hatred and devaluation. Many people with borderline personality disorder exhibit sensation-seeking behaviour that can be harmful, especially when they are angry. Many people with borderline personality disorder act impulsively, have intense emotions and suffer from dissociation and paranoia when they are particularly distressed.

National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder This group provides education while promoting public awareness and understanding to reduce stigma, promote research and improve the quality of life for those affected by borderline personality disorder.

What Is BPD Mental Health?

How do I know if I have borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

A person with borderline personality disorder (BPD) usually shows symptoms after they have reached their late teens or early twenties. Stressful or troubling experiences can trigger or exacerbate symptoms. With time, symptoms usually decline or disappear completely.

The number of symptoms of BPD varies from person to person. Some may be manageable while others are severe.

Note: It’s easy for people to confuse bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder (BPD) due to their similar symptoms.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Frequent and intense mood swings: People who have BDP may experience abrupt changes in how they feel about themselves, others, and the world around them. It is frequent and sudden for uncontrollable emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, hatred, sadness and love to change. If you’re upset, you may lash out at others and have difficulty controlling your emotions.
  • Fear of abandonment: People with Borderline Personality Disorder are often uncomfortable being alone. There is a strong fear of rejection or abandonment. If you have BPD, tracking your loved ones’ whereabouts or stopping them from leaving might be on your mind. You might also avoid rejection by avoiding close contact with people.
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships: Many people with BPD have trouble maintaining relationships. If you have BPD, relationships with your friends, your spouses and family members could often be chaotic and unstable.
  • Impulsive and dangerous behavior: A person with BPD is likely to be involved in reckless driving, fights, gambling, substance abuse and unsafe sexual activity. It’s also common to struggle to control their own destructive behavior.
  • Self-harm: With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you may cut, burn, injure yourself (self-injury) or even consider suicide. In fact, you might often feel shame or guilt and have a distorted perception of yourself. As a result, many people with BPD undermine their own progress. Some people may purposefully fail a test, ruin relationships, or get fired from their jobs.
  • Depression: The feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common among people with BPD, as well as sadness, boredom, unfulfillment or “emptiness.”
  • Paranoia: If you have BPD, you may be worried that people don’t like you or don’t want to spend time with you. This is because when afflicted by BPD, you may experience confusion, sensory overload, or an out-of-body experience.
What Is BPD Mental Health?

What does BPD mean for mental health?

Many people with borderline personality disorder experience unstable or chaotic personal relationships and have difficulty keeping their jobs. If you experience any of the above signs and symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder, please consult a mental health professional. People with borderline personality disorder have difficulty regulating their emotions, controlling their behaviour and maintaining stable relationships. People with other mental disorders (such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders) are at higher risk.

Although many people with BPD take medication, there is very little research to show that it is helpful for every single case. It really depends on your body and situation. So, please consult medical professionals and feel comfortable before moving forward with using medication for BPD.

Causes of BPD

The cause of borderline personality disorder isn’t fully understood, although researchers believe there are several factors at play. Some possible causes include:

  • Genetic predisposition – A person’s genes could make him or her more likely to develop BPD. For example, having one parent with BPD increases the risk of developing BPD.
  • Early trauma – Experiencing abuse or neglect during childhood can increase the likelihood of developing BPD later on.
  • Neglectful parenting – Parents who don’t provide enough care and attention to their children may pass along some of these traits to them.
  • Family history – Having a first-degree relative with BPD increases the chance of developing the condition.
  • Brain development – Researchers think that certain brain structures in areas such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex may not be developed properly in people with BPD.
  • Psychological struggles – People with BPD tend to have psychological issues, including low self-esteem, feelings of emptiness, mood swings, and poor impulse control.
What Is BPD Mental Health?

When to see a doctor for borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

You should seek help if you experience any of these signs or symptoms of borderline personality disorder:

  • Feeling empty or hopeless
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Having trouble making decisions
  • Being unable to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Experiencing sudden shifts in mood, including becoming anxious or depressed
  • Trouble controlling impulsive behaviors, like gambling, substance use or sexual activity
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts or attempts

What complications come with borderline personality disorder (BPD)?

People with BPD face a range of difficulties in their lives. The result can be negative effects on intimate relationships, jobs, school, social activities, and self-image, such as:

  • Losing or changing jobs frequently
  • Not finishing school
  • Getting into trouble with the law, such as jail time
  • Divorce, stress in relationships, or conflict in marriage
  • Cuts and burns, and frequent hospitalizations due to self-injury
  • Being in relationships that involve abuse
  • Pregnancies that are unplanned, transmissions of sexually transmitted infections, motor vehicle accidents, and physical fights resulting from impulsive and risky behavior
  • Attempted suicide

In addition, you may have other mental health disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or other substance misuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
What Is BPD Mental Health?

How to get diagnosed with BPD

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, BPD can be diagnosed when a person exhibits at least five out of nine symptoms. These include:

  1. unstable and intense relationships
  2. self-harming behaviors such as cutting or burning oneself
  3. recurrent suicidal thoughts or attempts
  4. feelings of emptiness or boredom
  5. frequent episodes of depression
  6. anxiety
  7. anger management problems
  8. impulsivity
  9. dissociation

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) cannot be diagnosed with a medical test. To rule out health conditions that may cause your symptoms, your provider may perform a physical exam or order a blood test.

BPD is diagnosed through multiple interviews between you and your healthcare provider. A family member or friend may also be interviewed.

Your symptoms, relationships, behaviors, and mental health history will be discussed during the interview.

BPD is commonly accompanied by other mental health conditions. You and your healthcare provider will work together to understand your unique symptoms and overall health.

What Is BPD Mental Health?

Treatments for BPD

The best treatment for borderline personality disorder depends on what’s happening in your life and what’s affecting your thinking and feeling. Treatment may include psychotherapy, medication and lifestyle changes.

Treatment for BPD focuses on helping patients learn how to regulate their emotions, manage interpersonal relationships and develop healthy coping skills. It includes individual therapy, group counseling and medication management.

Medication can help stabilize moods and improve functioning.

BPD can be treated with medication, but there is not a single medication that is designed specifically to treat the core symptoms of the disorder. Instead, several medications can be used off-label to treat a variety of symptoms. The symptoms of mood swings and dysphoria can be alleviated by mood stabilizers and antidepressants. Furthermore, low-dose antipsychotic medication may be helpful for some patients who experience disorganized thinking.

Individual psychotherapy involves working with a therapist to identify problems and work through those issues.

For people with Borderline Personality Disorder, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychodynamic therapy are the first treatments of choice. The key to long-term improvement for people with BPD is often learning how to cope with emotional dysregulation in a therapeutic setting. 

Group therapy provides social support and helps you understand what others might be going through.

Note: If someone exhibits impulsive or suicidal behavior, they may need short-term hospitalization to ensure their safety.

What Is BPD Mental Health?

Quick meditations for Borderline Personality Disorder

These meditations are designed to help those suffering from borderline personality disorder cope with their condition.

Light as a feather meditation

  1. Sit comfortably with your feet flat on the ground and your hands resting on your knees.
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  3. As you inhale, feel yourself filling up with energy.
  4. As you exhale, let go of any tension or anxiety.
  5. Feel yourself becoming lighter and more relaxed.
  6. Continue to do this until you feel completely calm.
  7. Open your eyes and continue with your day.

5-minute energy revival meditation

  1. Sit comfortably with your spine straight and your hands resting on your knees.
  2. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  3. Notice how your chest rises and falls with each breath.
  4. Feel your lungs expand and contract.
  5. Let your mind wander freely.
  6. You can think about anything you like, but try not to get lost in thoughts. Just notice them without judgment.
  7. As you continue to inhale and exhale, notice how your heart beats faster and slower. It’s beating because your blood is flowing throughout your body.
  8. Your heart is pumping blood throughout your body so that all parts of your body receive oxygen and nutrients. The more relaxed you feel, the stronger your heartbeat will become.
  9. After several minutes, gently open your eyes and notice how refreshed and energized you feel.

In Sum

In sum, it’s important to know that BPD is a manageable condition that can be improved with treatment.

If you’re struggling with BPD, please visit this really helpful website at www.bpdhelp.com for information and resources.

I hope this post was helpful in answering your questions about what is BPD mental health!

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What Is BPD Mental Health?

References:

  • my.clevelandclinic.org
  • Borderline personality disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM-5. 5th ed. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association; 2013. https://dsm.psychiatryonline.org.
  • Borderline personality disorder. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml.
  • Skodol A. Borderline personality disorder: Epidemiology, clinical features, course, assessment, and diagnosis. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search.
  • Skodol A. Treatment of borderline personality disorder. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search.
  • Newlin E, et al. Personality disorders. Continuum: Lifelong Learning in Neurology. 2015;21:806.
  • Borderline personality disorder. National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder/Overview.
  • Starcevic V, et al. Pharmacotherapy of borderline personality disorder: Replacing confusion with prudent pragmatism. Current Opinion in Psychiatry. 2018;31:69.
  • Veterans Crisis Line. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. https://www.veteranscrisisline.net/. Palmer BA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.
  • National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Systems training for emotional predictability and problem solving (STEPPS). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://nrepp.samhsa.gov/Legacy/ViewIntervention.aspx?id=243.