What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental illness and personality disorder that causes constant changing patterns of mood, self-image and behavior. These alternations are marked by relationship problems and impulsive actions. Those with BPD may have intense experiences of anger, anxiety and depression that can last for a few hours or a few months.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder may participate in self-harming behavior and frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends and family. They may exhibit impulsive acts that have dangerous consequences, such as unsafe sex practices, heavy drug use, and reckless driving. Individuals with BPD may have chronic feelings of boredom and intense inappropriate episodes of anger followed by guilt. Another sign of a person with BPD is experiencing dissociative experiences often described as “out of body” feelings where one disconnects from their thoughts and from their body.
Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder
The causes of BPD remain unknown, but psychologists agree that environmental and genetic factors play a major role in whether someone has BPD. It is much more likely for someone to suffer from BPD if a close biological relative has been diagnosed with the disorder. Often a history of abuse, trauma or early abandonment is associated with this personality disorder.
Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most common treatment for those with BPD. This type of therapy focuses on altering negative thoughts and behaviors associated with psychological stress. Another kind of therapy for people with BPD is Anger Management. During anger management patients learn to practice mindfulness, as well as healthy coping mechanisms and ways to avoid triggers that can cause emotional outbursts. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a form of Cognitive Behavior Therapy that aids in acceptance of oneself and changing any negative behavior. Transference Focused Therapy is also used to treat those with BPD. In this therapy, patients reveal the underlying causes of their borderline condition and work on healthier ways to live and interact with those around them.
At D’Arienzo Psychological Group, we do treat those with personality disorders such as BPD utilizing both CBT and DBT techniques. We also help family members and friends that are impacted by Borderlines, and we can assist in developing a plan for intervention if that is warranted.
This article’s content was provided to D’Arienzo Psychological Group by our psychology intern and University of North Florida graduate, Kaela Robertson, BA in collaboration with Dr. D’Arienzo.