What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder characterized by changing moods and changing self-image constantly as well as impulsive behavior. Someone with BPD has a different way of thinking, way of looking, and different feeling compared to other people in general.

As a result, problems arise in carrying out daily life and establishing relationships with others, such as relationships in the family and at work. This mental disorder generally appears in the period before adulthood. With a treatment of psychotherapy and consuming the drug, the sufferers can get better with age.

BPD - Full Explanation of Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD Symptoms

The symptoms usually appear in adolescence before adulthood. Symptoms that appear can be mild to severe symptoms. The BPD symptoms can be classified into 4 parts, consisting of:

  • Unstable mood. This condition usually lasts for several hours such as feeling empty and difficult to control anger
  • Impaired thought patterns and perceptions. The sufferers suddenly think that he is bad and the feeling of fear will be ignored. So, he does an extreme action
  • Impulsive behavior. This behavior tends to endanger their selves or doing careless and irresponsible actions. For examples are include self-injury, attempting suicide, unprotected sex, alcohol abuse, or overeating
  • Establish an intense but unstable relationship. This condition is characterized by being able to idolize someone and suddenly assume that the person is being cruel or uncaring

Not all people with Borderline Personality Disorder experience all of these symptoms. Some people only experience a few symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of occurrence of the symptoms in each patient vary depending on the condition.

BPD Causes

The exact cause of Borderline Personality Disorder cannot be known clearly. Some risk factors that are thought to trigger BPD are:

  • Environment. A number of negative environmental factors can cause this personality disorder. An example is having a history of abuse and torture as a child or abandoned by parents.
  • Genetic. According to some studies, personality disorders can be genetically inherited.
  • Abnormalities in the brain. According to research, people with this mental disorder have a change in structure and function in the brain, especially in areas that regulate impulses and emotions. The sufferers are also suspected to have dysfunction of brain chemicals or neurotransmitters that play a role in regulating emotions.
  • Certain personality traits. Some personality types are more at risk for developing BPD, for example, aggressive and impulsive personalities.

Although these factors can increase a person’s risk of experiencing BPD, it does not mean that someone will experience Borderline Personality Disorder if they have these risk factors. This is because Borderline Personality Disorder can also be experienced by someone who does not have any of the risk factors above.

BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) - Full Explanation

BPD Diagnosis

The determination of Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis begins with a discussion between the doctor and the sufferers about the symptoms experienced. In addition, the doctor will also ask about the patient’s and family’s medical history, including a history of mental disorders. After finding any behavior that matches with BPD symptoms and rules out other possibilities thorough physical examination, the doctor will establish a diagnosis.

BPD Treatment

After the diagnosis, the patients should inform the diagnosis to their family, close friend, or a trusted person. This is because many symptoms affect the patient’s relationship with the surrounding environment. So, by involving them in handling this condition, it will make the patient’s treatment run more effectively.

There are several types of psychotherapy therapy that can be effective in handling BPD, including:

1. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This therapy is done through dialogue. The aim is that the patients can control emotions, accept pressure, and improve relationships with others. This therapy can be done alone or in a consultation group with a therapist.

2. Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT)

This therapy emphasizes the method of thinking before reacting. MBT helps BPD sufferers recognize their own feelings and thoughts by creating alternative perspectives on the situation at hand.

This therapy is done in the long term for around 18 months and begins with hospitalization to hold individual sessions every day. After a certain period of time, it can be continued with outpatient care.

3. Schema-Focused Therapy

This therapy helps the sufferers recognize the unmet needs in the early life period that can trigger negative life patterns. Therapy will focus on meeting these needs through healthier ways to build positive patterns of behavior. Just like DBT therapy above, this therapy can be done individually or in a consultation group.

BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) - Full Explanation

4. Transference-Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) or Psychodynamic Therapy

This therapy also helps patients to recognize unmet needs which can trigger negative life patterns. Therapy will focus on meeting these needs through healthier ways to build positive patterns of behavior.

5. General Psychiatric Management

This therapy helps to understand emotional problems that occur by considering interpersonal feelings. Therapy can be combined with drug administration, group therapy, counseling to the family, or even individuals.

6. Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem-Solving (STEPPS)

This therapy is group therapy with family members, friends, partners, or caregivers as part of a group that lasts for 20 weeks. This therapy is also used as an additional therapy with other psychotherapy.

Besides that, the use of drugs in BPD therapy is more aimed at reducing symptoms or complications that may arise such as depression and anxiety disorders. The types of drugs used still require a doctor’s prescription, including:

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics
  • Mood balancing drug

In certain cases, people with this mental disorder can go through treatment at the hospital to prevent the tendency to injure their selves or commit suicide.

The recovery process will take a long time and the therapy can last for months to years. Consulting with a psychiatrist who is experienced can help patients develop their personality in a better direction.

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Borderline Personality Disorder Complications

If you do not get appropriate treatment, Borderline Personality Disorder can risk various aspects of the patient’s life such as experiencing conflict relationships that cause stress or divorce, loss of work, facing legal problems, unplanned pregnancy, and death from suicide.

Besides from disruption in life, people with BPD are also at risk of experiencing other mental disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol abuse or drug use
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • PTSD
  • ADHD