Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is a mental illness that results in extreme swings in mood, priorities, and personality. BPD contributes to negative perceptions of oneself and others. It also causes a person to think in extremes.
BPD is a condition that affects all aspects of life and can often lead to abusive relationships and make it hard to build interpersonal and professional relationships.1
Psychologists and psychiatrists diagnose BPD after therapy and a thorough review of a patient’s medical and family history. A large part of the diagnoses comes from BPD symptoms as described by the client. As such, BPD diagnoses require a listening ear and time to build trust between client and provider.
The other factor in BPD diagnoses is a borderline personality disorder test. The BPD test is used to identify common co-occurring BPD symptoms. The borderline personality criteria are important to ensure a patient is not misdiagnosed. Numerous mental illnesses can be confused for BPD and vice versa. The clinical term and test, Borderline Personality Disorder DSM 5, was last changed in 2013. As science progresses, so will the criteria for understanding BPD.
The intensity of BPD symptoms will vary individually, but these are the most common.
There is no set cause of borderline personality disorder. Science suggests one of the most significant contributors is genetics. Genetics plays a major role in mental health as some people have a higher likelihood of developing mental illness.
The secondary cause of BPD are irregularities in brain patterns and brain chemistry. Specifically, it can impact the ability to commit, plan, or control base impulses.
A borderline personality disorder is not always easy to diagnose. A significant part of the diagnoses is based on talk therapy and psychologist experience. In addition, borderline personality disorder symptoms are similar to other mental illnesses.3
Mental health issues increase the likelihood of addiction. The connection between BPD and addiction can be circular. The intense feelings of BPD can cause a client to consume drugs or alcohol as a means of escape. BPD and other mental illnesses impact judgment.
BPD, like other mental illnesses, can cause abnormalities in brain chemistry. For example, positive chemicals such as serotonin or endorphins are required to feel happy, calm, content, etc. A client with BPD may produce far less of the required chemicals needed to maintain level thinking.
This effect often leads to drug and alcohol abuse to feel happy, confident, and a bevy of other emotional states a BPD-affected client may not usually feel. Drug and alcohol use combined with mental illnesses is viewed as a form of self-medication.
In addition, self-isolation and negative thoughts can make daily tasks unbearable; alcohol and drugs may be used as a form of escape.
Substance abuse cannot cause BPD. However, drug and alcohol abuse can aggravate existing mental illnesses and intensify the effects of BPD. Mental illness can also make it difficult to commit to treatment and maintain recovery. Both addiction and BPD are life-long diseases that require continued attention.
BPD causes several health complications and often co-occurs with mental illnesses such as depression, addiction, and insomnia, to name a few.
Psychiatrists are specially trained in drug recovery and other mental illnesses. They also help establish a long-term plan for maintaining recovery and act as an initial support system. If a psychiatrist cannot help due to cultural barriers, time, preference, etc. then they can recommend peers.
Psychotherapy, a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy, assists in uncovering triggers for drug use, teaching healthy coping mechanisms, and uncovering the cause of trauma. Psychotherapy can also teach a client how to communicate with themselves and others properly.
Detox can be dangerous. Symptoms of withdrawal can cause severe long-term health complications. Having medical oversight helps ease the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce cravings.
Medications can be prescribed to treat the side effects of mental illnesses such as insomnia, brain fog, and mood swings.
It’s possible to live a long, happy life in recovery with BPD. All it takes is a commitment to change and time.