Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder | Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental illness that brings about disruptions in mood, self image and behaviour. Know how to deal with borderline personality disorder from our expert psychologist of My Fit Brain.

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Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder | Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health disorder that is related to unstable emotions and moods, relationships, and behavior.

It affects the way of feeling and thinking about yourself and others plus causes a crisis in work, family, social life. Some people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have high functioning, but for many, daily life can be difficult.

This disorder is very common in adults and teenagers that are characterized by impulsiveness, extreme mood swings, and people suffering from this disorder experience the problems of anxiety, depression, and anger. For most people with Borderline Personality Disorder, symptoms begin in early adulthood and the condition becomes worse at a young age and may gradually improve with age.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

a girl with borderline personality disorder looking down with white and black beautiful hairs

The following are the signs and symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. It includes changes in self-identity that includes the shifting of goals and seeing yourself as if you don't exist. 
  2. Fear of abandonment, and going to extreme measures to avoid a deep, even real or imaginary separation or rejection. 
  3. The wide mood swings last from a few hours to a few days, which may include intense pleasure, shame, irritability, or anxiety. Unreasonable intense anger, such as often losing one's temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical quarrels.
  4. Difficulty in trusting due to an irrational fear of other people's intentions.
  5. A pattern of unstable intense relationships means idealizing someone for a moment and then suddenly believing that he is cruel or does not care enough.
  6. Threats of suicide or behavior or self-injury, often in response to the fear of isolation or rejection.
  7. Periods of loss of contact with reality, from a few minutes to a few hours. 
  8. Impulsive and risky behavior, such as reckless driving, gambling, unprotected sex, binge eating or drug abuse, or the success of sabotage by abruptly quitting a job or ending a positive relationship. 
  9. Feelings of emptiness

Common co-occurring disorders

A borderline personality disorder is hardly diagnosed on its own and the following are the common co-disorders

  1. anxiety disorders
  2. depression or bipolar disorder
  3. eating disorders
  4. substance abuse

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

A girl hiding her face black and white picture

A cause behind borderline personality is difficult to identify but the following are the causes of it: 

Family History

Family plays a very important role in this if parents or siblings have this disorder, then there is a high risk of developing this disorder in other family members.

Brain Activity

It is not clear that brain activities are the causes or risk factors of this disorder. But studies have shown that this disorder can cause functional and structural changes in the brain.

Environmental, Social, and Cultural Factors

Environmental, social and cultural factors are also the cause of borderline personality disorder such as abuse, adversity, abandonment, hostile conflicts, and illicit relations.

Negative Experiences

Negative experiences from childhood such as trauma, childhood abuse, neglect, or separation from their caregivers can also be a cause of BPD. However, we can't say that all people suffering from this disorder had one of these childhood negative experiences.

Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder

One or more treatments for BPD such as psychotherapy, medication, or hospitalization can be recommended by mental health professionals.

1. Psychotherapy

The main treatment for BPD is Psychotherapy. Therapists do group sessions to teach people with a borderline personality disorder how they can interact with others and express themselves effectively.

The following are the therapies that can be recommended by your mental health professional.

2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): 

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of psychotherapy that tells how our thoughts can lead to behaviors and actions. In this therapy, people learn to cope with strong emotions. DBT teaches many skills that help in the following:

  • Reduce self-destructive behaviors
  • Improve relationships
  • Control intense emotions

3. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT):

CBT identifies the behaviors, misconceptions, unhealthy beliefs that may occur about you or others. This helps to reduce anxiety, angriness, insecurity, and also helps to reduce suicidal behaviors. 

4. Schema-Focused Therapy:

Schema-focused therapy is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on the fact that there can be unmet needs in childhood that lead to unhealthy ways of thinking about the world. This therapy focuses on healthy ways of challenging these misleading beliefs and behaviors and thinking and coping.

5. Metallization-Based Therapy:

Metallization-based therapy not only helps in treating anxiety and depression but also in treating social functioning. This therapy helps the client not only in recognizing their thoughts and feelings but also helps in recognizing the thoughts and feelings of others.

6. Transference-Focused Psychotherapy:

Transference-focused psychotherapy focuses on the concept of transferring emotions from an initial relationship with an individual currently.

This theory focuses on the relationship between the therapist and client so that they can know how a client is related to others. When a person starts to respond more effectively with their other relationships, then the therapist can then use this awareness.

orange and medicines in a white plate for borderline personality disorder

7. Medications

Medication is not the primary treatment for borderline personality disorder. However, in many cases, medication can be recommended by a psychiatrist to treat the following symptoms:

  1. Depression
  2. Mood swings
  3. Other co-occurring mental disorders

Medication not only helps in resolving mental health issues such as anxiety or depression but also helps to reduce the symptoms of BPD.

The following are the common medications prescribed for BPD:

  1. Antidepressants:  It mainly helps with feelings of anxiety and depression.
  2. Antipsychotics: It mainly helps with impulsivity, anger,  and paranoid thinking.
  3. Mood stabilizers: It mainly helps with emotional reactivity and impulsivity.

8. Hospitalization

Your doctor may also recommend you to stay in a hospital to get treatment when your symptoms are severe. If you do suicidal behavior or think about harming yourself or others then you can be hospitalized.

Coping up with Borderline Personality Disorder:

a psychiatrist helping a client coping up with borderline personality disorder - client is lying down with closed eyes and the psychiatrist diagnosing her.

The following steps can be followed by you to cope with the symptoms of BPD:

1. Seek appropriate treatment

If you notice the symptoms of BPD in your loved one, then it is necessary to seek help from the mental health professionals such as a social worker, psychiatrist, psychologist, and mental health counselor.

2. Get an accurate diagnosis

There are many symptoms of BPD that can be experienced by people from time to time.  Only licensed mental health professionals can diagnose these symptoms because mental and physical conditions can overlap these symptoms.

Finally, I can say that this includes self-image issues, a pattern of unstable relationships, and difficulty in managing emotions and behavior. You should not be discouraged if you have a borderline personality disorder because people with this disorder get better with treatment over time and can learn to live a satisfying life.

About Author
Nishtha Dhull

Nishtha Dhull

Happiness Coach Hisar, India
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