Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is essentially a disorder of emotional dysregulation and those of us who are experts in the field would like to see it renamed as such. Those at risk for developing BPD are genetically and neurologically predisposed to a greater sensitivity to life events, particularly interpersonal events. If this greater sensitivity is combined with an early invalidating or abusive family environment, the person is at higher risk of developing the disorder. Alternatively, if the family cannot teach the sensitive child to manage or regulate his or her emotions, general life experience may also foster the development of BPD or BPD traits.
People with BPD tend to react emotionally more frequently, more intensely, and for a longer period of time than those who do not suffer from the disorder. This in turn can lead to interpersonal problems, cognitive distortions, identity confusion, emotional unpredictability and impulsivity.
People with BPD experience some or all of the following symptoms:
1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
3. Identity disturbance or unstable sense of self
4. Impulsivity in two areas that are potentially self-damaging (for example, spending, sex, drug or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, reckless driving)
5. Recurrent suicidal behaviors, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
6. Emotional instability and moodiness
7. Chronic feelings of emptiness
8. Inappropriate, intense anger or lack of control of anger (temper, constant anger, physical fights)
9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
Psychologists who offer Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), Mentalization-Based Therapy, Schema-Focused Therapy and Psychodynamic Psychotherapy (transference-focused) offer the hope and chance of recovery to those who suffer from BPD.