- Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects around 1.6% of the population, mostly women.
- It is characterized by intense and unstable emotions, difficulty regulating moods, feelings of emptiness, insecurity, and worthlessness.
- It is believed to be caused by genetic and environmental factors, such as trauma or an invalidating environment.
- BPD is comorbid with many other mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, substance abuse disorders, physical health conditions, and eating disorders.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition often misunderstood. It affects around 1.6% of the population and is widespread in women. Despite being one of the most common personality disorders, it is also one of the most stigmatized. With an estimated 10% of individuals diagnosed with BPD dying by suicide, increasing awareness about this disorder is essential. Here’s the breakdown of the symptoms, causes, comorbidities, and treatment options for BPD.
BPD is characterized by pervasive instability in emotional regulation, self-image, interpersonal relationships, and impulsive behavior. People with this disorder often experience intense and unstable emotions and have difficulty regulating their moods.
They often feel empty and have a deep sense of insecurity and worthlessness. They also struggle with maintaining stable relationships and may experience intense conflict, idealization, and devaluation of others. Individuals with BPD may be impulsive and engage in risky behaviors, such as substance abuse, binge eating, gambling, or reckless driving.
The exact causes of BPD are not yet known, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or abandonment, is thought to play a role in the development of BPD. An invalidating environment may also contribute to BPD, where emotions and thoughts are disregarded and invalidated. Research has also found that BPD is associated with abnormalities in brain structure and function, particularly in areas involved in emotion regulation.
BPD is comorbid with various mental disorders. Here are some of them:
One of the most common comorbidities of bipolar disorder is anxiety disorder. People with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk for developing anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Both bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders share similar symptoms, and anxiety can make it challenging to manage bipolar symptoms. To manage stress, individuals with bipolar disorder may benefit from therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
Another comorbidity of bipolar disorder is substance abuse. People with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse disorders like alcohol and drug addiction. Substance abuse can exacerbate bipolar symptoms and make it challenging to manage the disorder. Individuals with bipolar and substance abuse disorders may benefit from a dual-diagnosis treatment program that simultaneously addresses both conditions.
Physical Health Conditions
Bipolar disorder has also been linked to several physical health conditions. Individuals with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This is likely due to lifestyle factors like poor diet, lack of exercise, and medication side effects. To manage these comorbidities, individuals with bipolar disorder should prioritize healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular medical checkups.
Another comorbidity of bipolar disorder is eating disorders. Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, are common in individuals with bipolar disorder. It is believed that the impulsivity associated with bipolar disorder may increase the risk of developing disordered eating behaviors.
The main problem with individuals having both BPD and eating disorders is that it increases the facility of the disorder. They can develop physical diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Because of this, individuals with BPD are urged to visit a local center for eating disorders. The center can diagnose and treat their eating disorder to reduce the risk of developing physical illnesses. It might also help deal with their BPD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive and repetitive thoughts or behaviors. People with bipolar disorder and OCD may experience additional symptoms like increased irritability and impulsive behavior related to their OCD symptoms. To manage OCD symptoms, individuals with bipolar disorder may benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy and medication.
The good news is that there are effective treatments available for BPD. Psychotherapy is often the first-line treatment for BPD, with dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) being the most commonly used approach. DBT is a cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on teaching skills for emotion regulation, mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance.
Medication may also treat symptoms like depression, anxiety, or mood swings. It’s important to note that BPD is a chronic condition, and recovery can take time and effort.
A borderline personality disorder is a severe mental health condition that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. It’s essential to seek help and treatment if you are experiencing symptoms of BPD. With the proper support, individuals with BPD can live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives.