Borderline Personality Disorder

November 12, 2012

Borderline Personality Disorder

There appears to be no one reason which is to blame for borderline personality disorder, it looks as if it is the combination of biological, genetic, social and psychological factors.

To assess whether or not someone has borderline personality disorder a trained professional in the mental health field, e.g. psychiatrist or psychologist would make the diagnosis which would be based on symptoms experienced and life history. This disorder cannot be diagnosed by blood or genetic tests. GPs can be contacted but they should refer you to the correct professional who will be able to diagnose and recommend treatment.

People who suffer with borderline personality disorder tend not to seek treatment. However, if the disorder is interfering with their daily life and the coping mechanisms which they would normally use are not able to fully function, a person would seek help.

Symptoms of borderline personality disorder tend to manifest by early adulthood, whereby the instability in relationships with others has continued over a period of years as well as earlier difficult social relationships, and this is linked to the self image the person has of themselves. This behavior occurs in all settings and is often partnered by the person’s emotions and feelings changing from one feeling to another. The emotions and relationships can sometimes be described as superficial.

Before any personality disorders can be diagnosed, a person has to be over 18 years of age. This disorder is more common in females – 75% of those diagnosed are women – and 2% of the population is believed to be affected. Sufferers in their 40s and 50s encounter less intense symptoms of borderline personality disorder; therefore it appears age lessens some of the more extreme symptoms. There is some research suggesting if you are a parent who has suffered this disorder there is a slightly increased chance any children you may have could also experience this disorder.

Key characteristics of borderline personality disorder are instability in relationships, unbalanced self image and emotions. Impulsive behavior which can cause harm and can include spending too much, sex, binge eating, substance abuse. Experiencing great anxiety in an effort to avoid the fear of abandonment, whether this is real or imaginary. Developing unstable and intense personal relationships which swing between idolatry and devaluation.

Displays of persistent suicidal behavior consisting of threats, and self mutilation. Instability of emotional behavior relating to the mood, intense episodes of dysphoria, feelings of irritability and feeling anxious which lasts for hours rather than days. Always experiencing a sense of emptiness. Anger issues which consist of feeling extreme anger, lack of control, and showing anger often and being involved in frequent physical fights. Fleeting thoughts which are related to stress and severe signs of disassociation.

Someone who suffers from borderline personality disorder is very sensitive to what is taking place in their environment. Coping with changes which cannot be avoided or a realistic separation can cause the person to experience abandonment fears and feelings of inappropriate anger because this relates to an intolerance of being left on their own and needing to have people with them, and the person may react to this feeling by behaving with impulsive anger. The changes in plans or separation are taken as a personal slight and leave the person feeling bad.

Sufferers from borderline personality disorder also quickly enter into relationships, sharing very intimate details and wanting to spend inappropriate amounts of time with the person, whether lover or caregiver. This behavior can change very quickly from idolizing to putting the other person down because the sufferer feels they are not being cared for enough or the person isn’t there for them.

Some people suffer from changes in their self-image and may want to change aspects of their life in a dramatic fashion, e.g. career, values and types of friends they want to have. They can also change from being a needy person to seeking revenge for treatment they received in the past. Other feelings which can occur is the feeling of not existing at all and this happens when the person feels they have no support or a relationship.

Psychotherapy with a trained therapist in borderline personality disorder is considered to be the main treatment for this, but for some of the specific troubling and debilitating symptoms, medication can be prescribed.

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