Living with Borderline Personality Disorder

A guide to help you recognize, offer a loved one support, and get treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

The mood swings and unpredictable behaviors of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be terrifying, but effective treatment offers hope for a happy and stable life.

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What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by intense emotional experiences, unstable relationships, and impulsive behaviors. It is a disorder of emotional dysregulation, often leading to significant distress for both the individual and those close to them. Having Borderline Personality Disorder distorts your way of thinking, and how you feel and interact with others, and can interfere with your functioning in everyday life.

Key points

  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition characterized by intense emotional experiences, unstable relationships, and impulsive behaviours.

  • Extreme emotional fluctuations, erratic behaviours, and distorted perceptions of reality can make it incredibly difficult for people with BPD to maintain reliable employment, have healthy relationships, and function normally in everyday life.

  • Psychotherapy, medication, and support groups are highly effective in helping people live with BPD. In extreme cases, short-term hospitalization is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety of the person with BPD, and those around them.

  • Showing compassion, understanding, care, and patience to a loved one with BPD can make all the difference to someone suffering from BPD.

  • With the right treatment, you (or your loved one) CAN live a happy, healthy, and meaningful life even with BPD!

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Symptoms and side effects of Borderline Personality Disorder

The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder vary between individuals, but typically include:

  • Intense mood swings, often without a clear trigger.
  • Unstable relationships, alternating between idealizing and devaluing others, leading to turbulent relationships.
  • Intense fear of abandonment, and extreme efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by friends or family.
  • Spontaneous and careless actions, like engaging in dangerous driving, substance misuse, or excessive eating.
  • Self-harm and suicidal ideations, which may or may not include suicide attempts.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness, boredom, and lack of direction or purpose.
  • Difficulty controlling anger, leading to frequent outbursts or ongoing resentment.
  • Paranoid thoughts, which can be transient or dissociative, are often triggered by intense feelings of stress.

Unfortunately, someone who has BPD is disproportionately more likely to struggle with relationship issues, job instability, and often even conflict with law enforcement officials.

Risk Factors for Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder can affect anyone, but certain genetic and environmental factors may increase your risk of developing BPD. If you experienced chaotic family relationships or if you experienced significant adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, or abandonment, you’re more likely to develop BPD. Additionally, having a family history of BPD or other personality disorders also increases your risk of developing the condition.

How is Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosed?

Borderline Personality Disorder is diagnosed by a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, after thoroughly investigating your symptoms, medical history, and behavioral patterns. Your mental health provider will recommend the treatment they think is most beneficial for your circumstances, with ample opportunities for discussion and reevaluation as needed to help you find the treatment that feels right for you.

5 strategies you can use to support a loved one with BPD

It’s never easy to see someone you care about struggle with Borderline Personality Disorder, but showing kindness, compassion, and patience are the best ways to show that you truly care about them!

Here are some beneficial actions you can take:

  1. Learning about BPD to understand their experiences and challenges.
  2. Encourage their efforts to seek and continue treatment. Offer to accompany them to appointments if that will make it easier for them to get treatment.
  3. Establish clear, consistent boundaries to take care of yourself, and to maintain a healthy relationship with them.
  4. Stay calm, and avoid reacting defensively to emotional outbursts or accusations. Remember, their emotional outbursts are a symptom of their disorder, not their real feelings about you.
  5. Show emotional empathy, active listening, and validation (compassion) for their experiences. You might not be able to change their reality, but feeling cared about can make all the difference!

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Treatment options for Borderline Personality Disorder

The most effective treatment for BPD typically includes a combination of therapy and medication.

Psychotherapy: Such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is often highly effective at treating BPD.

Medication: While there are no medications specifically for BPD, antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or antipsychotics are often found to be very effective in helping people manage their symptoms.

Support Groups: Peer support groups can provide additional emotional support and coping strategies.

Hospitalization: In cases of severe symptoms or risk of self-harm, short-term hospitalization may be necessary to ensure the safety and protection of the person affected and anyone in their immediate surroundings.

Borderline Personality Disorder responds well to treatment

Following highly effective developments in treating this disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder is a challenging but treatable condition. With the right support and treatment, people with BPD can lead happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. Understanding, patience, and professional guidance are key to managing the complexities of this disorder and living the best quality of life you possibly can!

Reach out today

At Healing Path Therapy, we are here to support you and your loved ones. If you think that you or someone you care about might have symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder, reach out to request an evaluation and get your struggles under control –today!

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