Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health illness that is characterized by highly unstable emotions, thoughts, and self-identity. People who are suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder experience a rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts consistently. This results in a lack of control over their emotional outbursts, reckless behaviors, and unstable relationships.
Those with Borderline Personality Disorder also tend to be extremely sensitive about little things. Once they start reacting to a situation, they can have difficulty calming down from their intense emotions of anger and some may tend to become violent.
Borderline Personality Disorder begins in early adulthood and is only diagnosed in adults. Even though young children and teenagers may sometimes show signs of this disorder, most of them are exhibiting only signs of emotional immaturity and their behaviors change as they mature.
Are There Known Causes?
Like most mental health issues, there isn’t one clear thing that causes a person to develop a borderline personality disorder. Therefore, the exact cause of Borderline Personality Disorder remains undetermined.
It’s believed that it’s out of a combination of biological or natural causes and environmental factors (mostly from childhood). These include genetics, family history, traumatic life events in childhood, experiencing abuse and neglect, hostile environments, being in abusive relationships, and other factors of similar nature.
These factors may heighten a person’s chance of developing BPD, but it doesn’t always follow that those who experience these types of events in their lives or have a genetic predisposition towards developing this disorder, will automatically follow suit.
There may also be some brain abnormalities that are common amongst patients diagnosed with BPD. Some brain chemicals responsible for emotional regulation, like serotonin, do not function as well as they should.
Their brain is on constant alert and their fight-or-flight switch doesn’t work properly. When it gets triggered by even a very minor event, it goes into overdrive leading to heightened emotions and stress responses.
They may have had traumatic childhood experiences and memories of abuse and neglect. These can also potentially trigger the development of this disorder.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of BPD?
Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of this disorder:
- Feelings of intense sadness, anger, or anxiety that can last for hours or extended periods of time.
- The tendency to see themselves negatively. They may even think they are bad and say things like, ‘I am bad.’ Some may feel they do not exist.
- Fear and anxiety of being abandoned or separated. It can leave them with a constant feeling of emptiness within.
- They anticipate being rejected by others.
- Lack of trust in other people.
- Experience constant turmoil in relationships with family, friends, and close relationships. Relationships are difficult for them.
- Lack of stability in terms of how they see themselves.
- Their goals and values can change a lot as they are in a constant state of unknowing.
- Self-harming actions, self-injury, suicidal thoughts, and tendencies.
- Risky behaviors, such as binge eating, drug use, gambling, drinking excessively, etc.
- Aggressive behaviors including loss of temper, physical violence, extreme anger, offensive sarcasm, bitterness, and other inappropriate behaviors.
Is There Any Treatment?
All hope is not lost for those who have Borderline Personality Disorder. Finding the right qualified physician, psychologist or psychiatrist will help evaluate the person’s struggles and help in their diagnosis, which will aid in their treatment of this mental illness.
The best natural treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy or talk therapy can only be successfully done with a qualified mental health physician or therapist. Other forms of treating Borderline Personality Disorder may include medications such as antidepressants or mood-stabilizing drugs.
In cases where patients demonstrate self-harming tendencies, doctors may suggest psychiatric hospitalization or clinic confinement. This would be in times when they feel the need to keep the patient safe from bodily harm.
Even though recovery may not be instant, or complete recovery never reached, getting help as soon as possible is the best form of treatment.