People suffering with personality disorders can be very difficult to live with. There are a variety of different psychological problems that people can be afflicted with, but one of the least understood is borderline personality disorder (BPD). Most people probably know somebody with this condition.
Here is what you should know about borderline personality disorder and the symptoms of those diagnosed with the illness.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is a very complex disorder that is difficult to define. Nobody knows exactly why people develop it, but most clinicians believe that it stems from years of neglect or abuse.
The symptoms of BPD often mimic those of bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other personality disorders. This manifestation is classified as a cluster B personality disorder and many borderlines are concurrently diagnosed with other personality disorders. In fact, the symptoms of BPD are almost identical to narcissistic personality disorder, which makes it very difficult for most clinicians to tell the difference. People with the condition tend to be reckless, self-conscious and have a chronic fear of abandonment.
Symptoms of BPD
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Illness (DSM-IV) uses a number of symptoms to help diagnose people suffering from BPD. Here are some general guidelines psychiatrists use to ascertain whether or not somebody is suffering from it.
Fear of Abandonment
The most prevalent symptom of BPD is a chronic fear of abandonment. Most cases of BPD are people who were either neglected or emotionally abused for years. They are terrified that people will leave them and go to drastic lengths to keep from being abandoned.
Lack of a Core Identity
A person suffering from borderline personality disorder does not have a sense of identity. Borderlines are easily devastated by people who they perceive to have harmed them.
Inconsistent Interpersonal Relationships
People with BPD tend to feel either extreme love or extreme hate. They also tend to fall in and out of love with people very quickly. This can make it very difficult to understand where you stand in their lives.
People with BPD tend to create their own world. They have a firmer grasp on reality and speak much more articulately than people with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. Therefore, their delusions are usually much more believable.
People suffering from borderline personality disorder engage in very risky and dangerous behavior. Some of the behaviors they often exhibit include:
- suicide attempts
- alcohol and other substance abuse
- criminal behavior
- financial problems
These problems can be partly due to emotional instability and partly due to a need to have others support them.
People with BDP tend to be very unstable. They are prone to suffering from depression, anxiety and have frequent outbursts of anger.
BPD is a Unique Condition
Borderline personality disorder is a disorder that is very difficult to understand. Most people suffering from it are misdiagnosed with other problems, so it is difficult to know how prevalent it really is. BPD is most commonly misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or narcissistic personality disorder.
Borderline and narcissistic personality disorders are believed to exist on the same continuum. The key differences are that borderlines lack a sense of identity and tend to be much more likely to engage in self-harm.
People suffering from BDP can be very stressful to deal with and ruin the lives of the people closest to them. They can be reckless or physically violent and often manipulate friends and family members.
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About the Author: Kalen is an education writer who focuses on the motivations of criminals and people suffering from personality disorders. He also talks about the benefits of pursuing criminal justice graduate programs and a master of health administration.