Borderline Personality Disorder
What is borderline personality disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that causes intense mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and severe problems with self-worth. It can lead to troubled relationships in every area of a person’s life.
Most of the time, signs of the disorder first appear in childhood. But problems often don’t start until early adulthood. Treatment can be hard, and getting better can take years. Problems with emotions and behaviors are hard to improve, but with treatment, most people with severe symptoms do get better over time.
What causes the disorder?
Experts don’t know exactly what causes borderline personality disorder. Problems with chemicals in the brain that help control moods may play a role. It also seems to run in families.
Often, people who get it faced some kind of early childhood trauma such as abuse, neglect, or the death of a parent.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptoms include:
- Intense emotions and mood swings, even aggressive behavior.
- Harmful, impulsive behaviors. These may include things like substance abuse, binge eating, out of control spending, risky sexual behavior, and reckless driving.
- Relationship problems. You may see others as either “good” or “bad” and may shift from one view to the other suddenly, for minor reasons. This can make relationships very difficult.
- Low self-worth.
- A frantic fear of being left alone (abandoned). This fear may lead to frantic attempts to hold on to those around you. Or it may cause you to reject others before they can reject you.
Other symptoms may include:
- Feeling empty inside.
- Problems with anger, such as violent temper tantrums.
- Hurting yourself, such as cutting or burning yourself.
- Suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts.
- Times when you feel paranoid or lose a sense of reality (psychosis).
How is it treated?
Borderline personality disorder can be hard to treat. It’s common for symptoms to return. And many people with the disorder have troubled relationships with their counselors and doctors. Treatment may include the following.
Counseling and therapy
This can be hard, because you condition may cause you to see your counselor as caring one minute and cruel the next, especially when he or she asks you to try and change a behavior. Try to find a counselor who has special training in dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) to treat this disorder.
Medicines, such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics, in combination with counseling or therapy, may be helpful in treating symptoms of borderline personality disorder.
Other healthy habits
Healthy habits, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. These habits can help reduce stress and anxiety. They can also help make your symptoms less severe and less frequent.