Borderline Personality Disorder – What is it?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition that begins in early childhood, but is often not fully displayed until young adulthood (early to mid 20s). “It is a common disorder with estimates running as high as 10-14 % of the general population,” states Richard J. Corelli, M.D. of Stanford.
The cause of BPD is not fully understood, but some authorities believe it may be a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. These chemicals (neurotransmitters) help balance mood, genetic and environmental influences. This mental health disorder is more common among people whose family members also have BPD. It is also noted that people who have developed this disorder have suffered a major trauma in early childhood. The trauma may be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, neglect or perhaps a stressful or disturbing detachment from a parent.
Borderline Personality Disorder – What are the Symptoms?
Sufferers of Borderline Personality Disorder display symptoms of unstable emotions, impulsiveness, wavering self-image, difficulty controlling anger, intense feelings of rejection/abandonment, and are very often self-mutilating. They also battle emotions of depression, eating disorders, and/or substance abuse. BPD victims frequently cut or burn themselves. Many, especially in the earlier years, have plaguing thoughts of suicide and repeated suicide attempts.
Their erratic behaviors usually result in unstable relationships with others. This intensifies their feelings of emptiness, anger, and guilt-ridden despair. A borderline may also have temporary periods of feeling suspicious of others without provocation (paranoia). Other common features may be displays of temper tantrums and physical fights.
One report from BPD Central quotes a victim of this disorder as saying, “Being a borderline feels like eternal hell. Nothing less. Pain, anger, confusion, hurt, never knowing how I’m gonna feel from one minute to the next. Hurting because I hurt those who I love. Feeling misunderstood. Analyzing everything. Nothing gives me pleasure. Once in a great while I will get “Too happy” and then anxious because of that. Then I self-medicate with alcohol. Then I physically hurt myself. Then I feel guilty because of that. Shame. Wanting to die but not being able to kill myself because I’d feel too much guilt for those I’d hurt, and then feeling angry about that so I cut myself or O.D. to make all the feelings go away. Stress!”
Borderline Personality Disorder – How is it treated?
Borderline Personality Disorder treatment can be difficult, but medications can be used to reduce some of the symptoms. At times a combination of medications is helpful. The most widely prescribed are antidepressants and mood stabilizers. In addition, atypical anti-psychotics may help reduce reckless and impulsive behaviors. It is also noted that after about 10 years of treatment, about half of those diagnosed no longer have the behaviors of BPD.
The majority of those with the disorder become gradually more stable in their emotions, relationships, and jobs when they reach the ages between 30 and 40 years.
If you think you might have BPD, seek medical and emotional help. Refrain from self-diagnosis and instead, seek help from professionals experienced in treating BPD. Many people have also found emotional help from a Christian counselor or local church leader. It is important to know that God loves you and wants to help you. Psalm 91:4 reads, “He [God] will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”