Health - Conditions
By: - at June 8, 2013

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder and How to Deal with It

Man with different emotions

Individuals who suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD) often have mood swings and are unable to control their thoughts and emotions. They are also impulsive and display reckless behavior often. These two symptoms make it hard for them to keep relationships. What are other symptoms of borderline personality disorder and how can victims and their loved ones help?

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
A person with borderline personality disorder possesses at least five of these symptoms.

  • Woman crying in the rainDepression.
  • Uncontrollable or unstable relationships. This includes a lot of misunderstandings and conflict with family members and friends.
  • Unstable self-image or distorted self-worth. This symptom may push one to quickly change plans and goals in life may it be a big or small decision.
  • Impulsive behaviors. People with borderline have the tendency to abuse substances, spend a lot of money at a time as well as binge.
  • Repeated suicidal behavior.
  • Mood swing episodes. Changing in mood may be for a few hours or a few days.
  • Unable to control temper.

Paranoia and stress. Individuals who have this condition may also become paranoid whenever stressed over small things. They may suffer from anxiety over temporary separation from family or loved ones. Aside from that, they are also very sensitive and may falsely think that a person is angry. Negative words have extreme negative effect to borderline individuals.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Suicide
A borderline may have recurring suicide attempts as well as self-harm (also pertained to as self-mutilation). Less than 10% of people who suffer from borderline actually commit suicide. Some people with BPD harm themselves without the desire to die. They self-harm by cutting, hitting, burning, head banging or hair pulling. Individuals who self-harm may not always view this behavior as dangerous to them although it is often life threatening. All individuals who self-harm claim that the behavior helps them release the emotional pain they are suffering from. Some people may not understand but self-harming shifts the focus of the victim from the emotional to physical pain, which is more bearable. Other times, individuals with BPD would self-harm to punish themselves.

When does BPD start and what are its causes?
The workings of the human mindBorderline Personality Disorder, or (BPD) may start as early as childhood. However, most cases are diagnosed during adolescence. BPD can be genetic or can be influenced by the environment. Studies show that abnormal serotonin (a type of a hormone) gene variation causes BPD. Abnormality in serotonin is the reason why sufferers are often depressed, aggressive, moody and impulsive. The abnormality also causes individuals with BPD to perceive pain improperly. When serotonin level becomes low, an individual may become more impulsive and self-destructive. People with BPD have different limbic system structure compared to individuals who are mentally healthy. Individuals who suffer with the disorder have abnormal brainwaves. Other tests also prove that sufferers have impaired sound interpretation, vision and memory.

Some BPD sufferers develop the disorder due to childhood trauma. These traumas can be caused by rejection (especially by parents), verbal and emotional abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse. Almost 70% of the population of individuals who were diagnosed with BPD was sexually abused as a child.

Treatments for BPD
Because of BPD’s link to the physical brain, medical researchers have found that antidepressants such as Prozac can increase the serotonin level and thus temporarily eliminate mood swings, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. However, there are no medications that are currently prescribed to actually treat BPD. Along with antidepressants, individuals with BPD are treated with psychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy”. Different types of psychotherapy include one-on-one or group sessions. Below are four of the major types of psychotherapy often used for BPD.

  • Dialectal Behavior Therapy (DBT) - DBT proved to be one of the best ways to treat BPD. DBT helps sufferers by introducing them to new skills which they can use to control unhealthy emotions. Skills training include emotional regulation skills, distress tolerance skills, interpersonal effectiveness skills and mindfulness meditation skills. Clients are encouraged to apply their new learned skill every day and their advancement is monitored during therapy.
  • Transference-Focused Therapy - This therapy focuses on how a BPD sufferer can have healthier relationships. The BPD sufferer is asked to talk about present events and how he or she reacts or deals with it. In this type of therapy, the therapist barely talks or discusses what the client must do. This way, the client’s emotion can be transferred to the therapist. After the therapist feels the client’s emotions, the therapist can be able to guide the person to establish firm relationships.
  • Mentalization-Based Psychotherapy - This therapy helps BPD sufferers realize and understand his or her own as well as other people’s mental circumstances. The developers of this type of therapy, Peter Fonagy and Anthony Bateman, believe that people who have BPD are unable to mentalize because of their childhood history. The ability to mentalize starts during childhood, and if a person has weak childhood relationships, the development of this ability is disrupted.
  • Schema-Focused Psychotherapy - This type of psychotherapy helps clients to alter their unhealthy and damaging manner of thinking. Aside from that, this therapy can also help people with BPD to effectively control or vent their anger the right way. Schema-focused psychotherapy can also help clients to stop their unhealthy behaviors. Early childhood rejection causes BPD sufferers to have distorted ways of interpreting the events that occur around them as well as debilitated interactions with other people.

How to Deal with the Symptoms of BPD
Knowing the causes of the disorder can help you make your first step to healing. Along with therapy sessions, these are some of the things you can do to help yourself:

  • two women exercising togetherCommunicate with your doctor regarding therapy preferences and stick to it.
  • Keep a strict schedule of sleep as well as meal times.
  • Lessen your stress with regular exercise.
  • Set your priorities and make sure your goals are realistic.
  • Start spending more time with your friends and families and make it a habit to confide to a trusted person.
  • Be open to others by telling them what events can trigger your symptoms. That way, they can help you by trying to minimize the things that can stress you out.
  • Don’t expect that your BPD will be gone immediately. Healing takes time.

You can talk to your personal or family doctor about BPD as well. There are also mental health professionals out there (psychiatrists, mental health counselors, social workers and psychologists) who you can talk to regarding BPD.

How to Deal with someone who has BPD
BPD is like a ripple that affects the people around its sufferer. Getting the right diagnosis of the symptoms is one way of helping someone with BPD. Keep encouraging your friend or relative to stick with the therapy. Aside from encouragements, friends and loved ones of people with BPD will help a lot by giving emotional support, patience as well as understanding. Like the ones with BPD, learning about the disorder can help you understand what your family or friend is going through. Some people make a mistake by ignoring individuals who harm themselves or even mention suicide. Self-mutilation is not people’s way of getting the attention they want. It’s a silent scream for help, do not wait until it is too late!





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