A borderline personality disorder and bipolarity are often confused. However, this psychological disorder affects between 2 and 10% of the population, predominantly female. It is estimated to be responsible for 2,000 suicides a year. It occurs mainly in adolescence or early adulthood. It results in sudden mood changes and affects how a person thinks, behaves, and relates to others.
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder
People with borderline personality disorder struggle with important problems:
- Psychological and emotional instability: The patient has very intense and uncontrolled emotions. It can range from a state of mental emptiness to emotional chaos. We talk about psychological instability or emotional disturbance.
- Instability and intensity of interpersonal relationships: The patient falls into immediate idealization or devaluation of the other, and the two behaviors alternate quickly. For the person with BPD, the other can be good and bad at the same time. Relationships are often intense, chaotic, and tumultuous.
- Impulsive behaviors: This can result in instinctive, impulsive, and poorly controlled behaviors such as overspending, drinking alcohol, binge eating, etc. The patient may also have threatening attitudes, suicidal behavior, or recurring self-harm.
- Cognitive or perceptual distortions: The patient has distorted thought patterns and a disturbed perception of reality.
- Mood instability: Situations of dysphoria, anxiety, or constant unmotivated anger can occur. The patient also has identity problems, and the self-image is disturbed.
- A chronic feeling of emptiness.
- A fear of abandonment which can be associated with fleeing situations considered emotionally dangerous,
We can also find the symptoms of borderline disorder in other mental diseases. For example, we must distinguish the borderline disorder from schizophrenia. The two disorders share some psychotic symptoms, with a few differences. In BPD, symptoms are temporary and depend on the patient’s condition or environment. Also, people with BPD have better personal and social functioning than people with schizophrenia.
The causes of borderline personality disorder
According to specialists, many risk factors can cause BPD. There are two main factors: genetic factors and environmental factors.
- Genetic factors: The patient is predisposed to the development of emotional deregulation.
- A difficult childhood or a disabling environment: If the patient evolved in an environment with little or no caring, he was exposed to a continuous devaluation of his thoughts and emotions, he had chaotic and inappropriate interactions, or he had been abused, then he can easily develop a borderline disorder.
A chaotic childhood can cause BPD
Many studies showed that the brain of a person with borderline personality disorder stays on high alert and perceives things as scary and stressful.
BPD treatment: the suitable therapies
Mental health professionals often view a borderline personality disorder as a complex disorder to treat. Recent research shows that treatment based on psychotherapy and drug therapy at the same time can be effective. Both techniques help to improve the patient’s condition. The most used psychotherapies are:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) helps identify and change beliefs, inaccurate perceptions of self and others, and impulsive behaviours. Cognitive-behavioural therapy works on symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and self-injurious behaviours and reduces problems interacting with others. The therapy focuses on consciousness by paying attention to the emotions being felt in the present moment. The patients will thus have a greater capacity to control their intense emotions, manage their stress, and improve their relationships.
- Schema therapy aims to take the patient out of the negative frame in which his childhood locked him up (I am worth nothing, people do not love me, I will be abandoned).
Medicines are prescribed only occasionally in the most symptomatic phases. Over time, various anchors (a long-lasting romantic relationship, becoming a parent, and having a valued job) significantly stabilize the patient’s state.