Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that affects almost 2 percent of the population. It affects how a person thinks about others and themselves.
What about borderline personality disorder treatment? This article will help you learn more about this disorder: what causes it, who gets it, what its symptoms are, and how it is treated.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
According to the Mayo Clinic:
Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions, and impulsiveness.
For instance, someone with BPD may fear being abandoned or alone. Yet, they often push others away with frequent mood swings and anger.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are based on how the person perceives themselves and others. It also relates to how they feel and react to these feelings:
- Fear of being abandoned. People with borderline personality disorder may try to avoid rejection or abandonment, even if the threat isn’t real. They may even go to extreme measures to prevent this perceived threat.
- Unstable relationships. A person with BPD may have a history of relationships that were unstable. They may be absolutely committed to someone only to think that the person doesn’t care or is mean to them.
- Changes in identity. Someone with a borderline personality disorder may shift their values or goals. They may see themselves as someone who doesn’t exist or is a bad person.
- Paranoia. A person with BPD may spend time apart from family or friends for a length of time and have stress-related paranoia.
- Risky behavior. A person with this disorder may engage in behavior that is considered risky, reckless, or impulsive. This includes things like extramarital affairs, gambling, drug abuse, ending relationships, quitting jobs, or spending sprees.
- Self-injury. This includes suicidal threats as well as self-harm.
- Feeling empty inside.
- Vast mood swings. These may last hours or can last for days. The feelings may rotate through anxiety, happiness, shame, and irritability.
- Inappropriate anger. This includes starting fights, being sarcastic, losing temper, or being cruel.
According to Psycom:
Around 80 percent of people with borderline personality disorder display suicidal behaviors, including suicide attempts, cutting themselves, burning themselves, and other self-destructive acts. It is estimated that between 4 and 9 percent of people with BPD will die by suicide.
This does not mean that everyone who has borderline personality disorder will harm themselves, but the statistics are important to note and be aware of.
What are the Statistics?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, borderline personality disorder mostly affects women. In fact, around 75 percent of people with this mental health disorder are female.
The overall statistics show just under 2 percent of the population has BPD. Yet, some believe that a more accurate number is around 6 percent of the population.
What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?
Just like for many mental health disorders, there is not one specific cause of BPD. Instead, research shows that a combination of two factors triggers this mental illness:
- Genetics. This mental health disorder is shown to be hereditary, or at the very least, linked to genetics.
- Brain abnormalities. Research shows that people with this disorder have changes in the parts of the brain that regulate emotions. This is linked to aggressive behavior, impulse control, and regulating emotions. Another factor is that there are specific chemicals that may be functioning wrong. One such chemical is a mood regulator called serotonin.
There are, of course, risk factors. These include things like a hereditary disposition and a stressful childhood. Those who have family members with BPD are more likely to have it themselves. And while having a stressful childhood does not mean you will get borderline personality disorder, many who have BPD have had difficult childhoods.
What is the Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder?
While Harvard Health Publishing mentions the difficulty in treating BPD, this does not mean it is not treatable. They concluded in their published article:
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a challenge to treat not only because it is complicated and stigmatized, but also because its symptoms reflect ingrained patterns of thinking and behavior.
Yet, there are treatments that are helpful in minimizing some of the symptoms of this mental health disorder.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one type of treatment option meant to change the way a person with BPD thinks. This includes conscious behaviors and thoughts.
There are also certain medications that help, but these are used for other symptoms, not the core symptoms of borderline personality disorder. For example, a person may take antidepressants for depression or medication meant to help with anxiety. Yet neither is specifically for borderline personality disorder.
A Tailored Plan of Treatment
The best type of treatment for any mental health disorder is one that is customized for the individual. No one treatment plan is a fix-all for everyone. The human mind is a complex thing, and its disorders must be treated individually.
At Transformations, that is exactly what we specialize in. Our customized treatment plan has a variety of treatment options. These include:
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Behavioral therapy
- Individual, group, and family therapy
- Experiential treatment such as music therapy or adventure therapy
- Holistic treatment
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EDMR)
Borderline personality disorder is hard on the patient, but it is hard on the family as well. With a treatment plan focused on each individual, the symptoms may be minimized. If you or someone you care about has BPD, contact us so we can help.