Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is an emotional disorder that causes unusual emotional instability in mood and black and white extremes. With BPD your image of yourself is distorted making you feel worthless and flawed. Your anger, impulsivity and frequent mood swings may push loved ones away even though you still desire these loving relationships.

That is, you often experience a “love-hate” relationship with others. You may idealize someone one moment and then abruptly and very dramatically shift your thinking to anger, fury and hate over your perceived slights or even minor misunderstandings. Again, your perception of things seems to be either black or white.

BPD symptoms may include

  • Impulsivity and risk taking behaviors (gambling sprees, unsafe sex, drug use)
  • Fears of being abandoned and alone
  • Feeling as if you are a victim
  • Feelings of fragmentation or lack of identity
  • Difficulty controlling emotions that may change rapidly
  • Inappropriate anger at self or others
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Intense but short episodes of anxiety and depression

Like all personality disorders, psychotherapy is the treatment of choice in helping people overcome BPD. Successful therapy approaches include Cognitive – Behavioral Therapy, Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Transference-focused therapy, and other similar therapies.

People with Borderline Personality Disorder often feel misunderstood, hopeless and helpless. Therapy seeks to help the patient learn better ways to control their lives through increasing self-knowledge, improving the regulation of emotions, and cognitive restructuring or changing the way one thinks. While individual therapy is imperative, group therapy can also be very beneficial. Encouraging the patient to develop healthy social supports through community support groups helps the patient. Providing a structured therapeutic setting that includes establishing well-defined boundaries of the relationship between the patient and the therapist is most important as patients with BPD often try to test the limits of the treating professionals. Finally, medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, and mood stabilizer’s may be helpful in treating the variety of symptoms that the patient may be experiencing.

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