Do you or does someone you know struggle with negative patterns of relational, personal and emotional behaviors? If so, this might be the sign of a Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition that describes a person’s patterns of negative behavior. Here are seven things you should know about this mental health condition.
1. Defining BPD
BPD is a mental health condition that describes a person who has a pattern of unstable relationships, poor sense of self and extreme emotions. Individuals with a BPD are often very rash, impulsive and dangerous decision makers.
2. How Common is BPD?
Approximately 14 million Americans have experienced a BPD at some point in their life and the condition counts for 20 percent of inpatient psychiatric care. BPDs are most commonly found in women and is usually diagnosed in young adults as it typically depends on established patterns of behavior.
3. How is BPD Diagnosed?
There is no single, straight forward test for a BPD, but it is diagnosed by a mental health professional. Typically, they will conduct an extensive interview and discussion about symptoms, patterns of behavior and family history. An individual must exhibit a combination of symptoms to be diagnosed with a BPD and it can often co-exist with other mental health conditions.
4. Emotional Symptoms
Emotional symptoms of BPDs include quickly fluctuating feelings (ie: over a period of hours) and extreme reactions to simple situations. For example, someone might get very agitated or angry if someone they are meeting is only a few minutes late.
5. Personal Symptoms
Some internal or personal symptoms of a BPD can include rash decision making, a low sense of self worth, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, paranoia or shifting perceptions of self identity. Practically speaking, this might look like a person constantly changing friend groups, values, opinions or careers.
6. Relational Symptoms
A person with a BPD might exhibit relational symptoms that are extremely intense. For example, they might create deep relationships very quickly, building people on a pedestal in the process. Soon after, they might devalue them and expect them to be present whenever they are in need. An individual with a BPD might also have real or imagined fears of abandonment and get extremely anxious when someone is late or cancels an appointment.
7. What Treatment Options are Available?
After being diagnosed by a mental health professional, there are multiple options for treatment. Most often, someone with a BPD will be referred to a form of therapy. Medication is not generally prescribed for BPDs alone, but sometimes if there is a coexisting mental health condition that requires it.
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