Mental health has been a hot topic over the last couple years, and when we study mental health and begin to have more conversations about it we can bring more awareness. Many people have succumbed to the trap that is a mental illness and many people over the years have lost their battle with some of the very major disorders such as anxiety and depression. 1 in 5 people have had some experience with a mental illness, and suicide due to mental illness is the 2nd leading cause of death for 10-34years olds. This paper aims to bring awareness to an unknown mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder by describing the history, prevalence, symptoms, treatments, prognosis, and any current data being found today in 2019. Overall, I have conducted the background research so you can better understand this disorder and how it can be dealt with and hopefully overcame.
Emotionally unstable mixed with erratic behavior and not having the ability to maintain a relationship. These are all the things that may indicate you have Borderline Personality Disorder. This is the type of disorder that many medical professionals don’t know how to treat, nor at this very moment in time know if it can be cured. Based on the research and findings I have read I have gathered the history, symptoms, treatments, and prognosis as well as any current data being published. Borderline Personality Disorder may not be a curable disease, but we can learn to treat it so people can learn to live with it.
Starting with what is Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD as an abbreviation, the Mayo Clinic describes it’s as a mental health disorder that has been known to have an effect on the way you think about yourself and the people around you. People wanted to categorize BPD as a schizophrenic disorder or categorize it as an anxiety/depression disorder combination because they weren’t sure where it fell on the totem pole. Because the symptoms intertwined with other major disorder symptoms they felt BPD didn’t deserve its own classification. However, this is not true due to validity research conducted over the last 50 years.
Beginning with the history of BPD in 1938 psychologists Adolph Stern published an article on BPD, naming the disorder and producing treatments for it. Then in 1968 Roy Grinker produced the first study for BPD patients and conducted research on them. John Gunderson and Margaret Singer came together and published an informative and beneficial article on the characteristics and symptoms of the disorder and its diagnosis. Then in 1979 John Brinkley, Bernard Beitman, and Robert Friedal said that specific types of medicines at low doses reduced some of the symptoms of BPD. In the 1980s neuroimaging provided support that biological disturbances in the brain area were concurrent with the symptoms. Lastly, in 1991, Marsha Linehan introduced DBT or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy a therapy for people with BPD(BPD Demystified).
So what are the statistics and when did this disease become prevalent in time. Between men and women, women have more of a chance of getting diagnosed with BPD over men; over 75 percent of women will be diagnosed with BPD in their lifetime. Here in the U.S. alone about 1.6 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (Mayo Clinic 2019). In 1980 BPD was added to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual as an official disorder (BPD Demystified). After that many people were finally diagnosed with an official disorder if they were stuck in the anxiety/depression combo. So when can BPD become prevalent in your life? Well you have to live for at least one year with all of the symptoms, then you see a doctor with all of your concerns and he or she can diagnose you with the disorder if you fit all of the criteria. Your doctor will have a very detail oriented meeting that will include a psychological evaluation and they may ask you to complete a bpd questionnaire. They will then ask for you medical history they will them conduct an exam and discuss with you any of the big symptoms that you’re experiencing. Usually the symptoms for Borderline Personality arise anywhere from your teenage years starting at 13 to your early twenties.
The criteria for BPD is as follows, fear of being abandoned, people who have been diagnosed with BPD are scared of being left alone or abandoned at any point in time. Especially if you’re in any kind of relationship you may constantly want to question your significant other or family member if they are going to leave you or if they are over dealing with your problems and are about to leave you, even if there are no signs that they are about to abandon you at all. You may also get in to unstable relationships, not have a clear image of yourself or self-worth, for example you might always feel like you aren’t good enough and constantly want to tear yourself down. You might also experience impulsivity where you constantly make decisions that might not be beneficial to you but you make those choices anyway, and you might sometimes experience self-destructive behaviors. To name a few more symptoms you might self-harm, have crazy emotional mood swings similar to being bipolar where you’re happy one moment and devastated the next, and also have hard feelings of loneliness or emptiness inside, as well as experience intense bouts of anger.
How do you treat a person with Borderline Personality Disorder, medications and therapy have all shown that they are known to work and keep the symptoms at bay. I had mentioned previously that in 1991 Marsha Linehan developed Dialectical Behavioral Therapy or DBT to deal with the disorder. DBT is known as a cognitive behavioral therapy or psychotherapy it is known to find and identify negative patterns of thinking and uses the therapy to find good behavior changes (Harvard 2006). DBT is known to have very beneficial effect on dealing with the symptom of self-destructive behaviors which is one of the main symptoms of BPD. Although DBT might not solve all of the problems with the disorder it will help you better cope with you negative issues. DBT consists of either individual therapy where you learn to accept you problems and how to change them, there’s also group skills training, phone coaching, the phone coaching is especially helpful if you need someone to talk to in a crisis situation. When agreeing to this type of therapy you have to be willing to practice the skills you learned in therapy daily, and keeping a journal where you document you daily feelings, urges, behaviors whether good or bad. Another way to treat BPD is with medications, most psychiatrists or doctors will prescribe any medication they think will be beneficial to you. According to the FDA there is no known medication that is specifically linked to treat BPD. There are different medications that are known to treat some of the symptoms you may experience with this disorder such as the depression aspect or the impulsiveness or something to stable your mood when you’re feeling very erratic. If you need a more extensive treatment because the disorder has really gotten to your mental health and is really threatening to your life you might want to seek treatment in a psychiatric hospital to save you from doing damage to yourself and others.
BPD can be something that you might have to live forever with, but the prognosis is good and that anyone diagnosed with this disorder has the chance at getting better with the right type of treatment. Recovery for this disorder is something that will take a long time because sadly it’s an everyday struggle, but anyone with this disease can live a normal healthy life still, with a thriving social and family life if they are willing to put the work in. People around the age of 35- 40 who have been dealing with BPD their entire life will be fully functioning and probably won’t even know they are still dealing with a mental illness if they stick with the treatment the medical professional recommends.
Being that BPD is one of the newer mental illnesses there is a lot of current research still being conducted within the last ten years that can be beneficial to anyone with this illness. In April 15 2015 an article was published by the journal of Borderline Personality Disorder and Emotional Dysregulation called “Which treatments help suicidal people with Borderline Personality Disorder?” that discussed which treatments are best to combat people with BPD who have suicidal thought and tendencies. They came to the conclusion that psychotherapeutic approaches are the best at helping people cope because they emphasize on the patient taking responsibility for their own treatment, the therapist clearly understand the methods and able to communicate this to their patients to better help them, they also form a strong bond between patient and therapist to have a strong and honest discussion on anything bothering them especially suicidal thoughts. Lastly in May 31, 2018 the University of Illinois at Chicago wrote an article on the symptoms of BPD worsening around the time of your menstrual cycle. According to the article they want to bring awareness this so that women know that this is normal and to lower any chances of suicide.
In conclusion, Borderline Personality disorder is not a curable disorder but it is a disorder you can live with and overcome over time although you can never fully rid yourself of it. I discussed the history of the disorder including when it was named and when the first treatments were being produced. As well as the prevalence, symptoms that you can deal with such as erratic and self-destructive behaviors, all of the treatments for BPD such as DBT a special type of psychotherapy that has helped aid the BPD community a lot. I lastly discussed the prognosis which is very good for anyone diagnosed and the current research and articles being published. As mental is becoming a bigger discussion and more prevalent in people’s lives it’s important to fully understand and examine every aspect of each disorder so we know that we can beat these illnesses.
- “Borderline Personality Disorder.” (2019) Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237.
- “Borderline Personality Disorder.” (2017) National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Retrieved from www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml.
- Harvard Health Publishing. (2006) “Borderline Personality Disorder: Origins and Symptoms.” Retrieved from www.health.harvard. 5JH2-WXZM5R-SUJUAHedu/newsletter_article/Borderline_personality_disorder_Origins_and_symptoms.
- “History of Borderline Personality Disorder.” Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified, Retrieved from www.bpddemystified.com/what-is-bpd/history/.
- Kreisman, Jerold, and Straus, Hal. (2010) I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality. Penguin.
- Mason, Paul T., and Randi Kreger. (1998) Stop Walking on Eggshells: New Harbinger Publications.