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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a severe mental illness that causes extreme disruptions in life. Not officially recognized as a separate disorder until 1980, research on BPD is more than two decades behind other major psychiatric disorders. Lack of information about BPD contributes to misinformation, misunderstanding, and overt stigma.

According to the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, BPD impacts nearly six percent or 14 million Americans, more than bipolar disorder and schizophrenia combined. The Atlanta Center for Mental Health offers borderline personality disorder treatment that provides the therapeutic support needed to overcome BPD. At Atlanta Center for Mental Health, we provide you with a variety of different dual diagnosis treatments, to help you live a better life. Call 833.625.0458 to learn more.

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is a complex mental health condition characterized by intense, unstable emotions and relationships and deep insecurity and self-doubt. Living with BPD means living with severe emotional pain daily. Living with someone who has BPD means never knowing what to expect. Individuals with BPD strive for normalcy, but their inability to maintain a healthy, stable self-image leaves them constantly struggling to find a safe emotional space. With BPD, life is a series of crises that appear to have no solutions.

Only a medical or clinical professional can diagnose BPD. They do so using criteria set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Exhibiting five or more of the following symptoms for an extended period, often starting in early adulthood, can indicate borderline personality disorder:

  • Intense fear of abandonment or taking drastic measures not to be alone
  • A pattern of unstable and intense relationships
  • Impulsive, risk-taking, or self-destructive behaviors
  • Rapidly changing sense of identity or unstable self-image
  • Extreme emotional instability and tendency to significantly overreact
  • Recurring threats of self-harm or suicide
  • Inappropriate, intense anger and inability to control temper

BPD used to be considered on the borderline between neurosis and psychosis, which is not an accurate description. Today, treatment focuses on the ongoing difficulty of self-regulation, emotional regulation, distorted thinking about self and others, and impulsivity.

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

If you question whether or not you have borderline personality disorder, consider these signs and symptoms:

  • Unstable self-image, rapid changes in self-esteem, and constant attempts at personal reinvention
  • Fear of abandonment with desperate or manipulative behavior designed to avoid it
  • Unstable relationships that are often intense and may initially be fulfilling before being sabotaged by doubt and fear
  • Anger or rage triggered by minor setbacks or problems
  • Self-harming behavior, including threats of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Impulsive and frequently self-destructive behaviors
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness

Individuals with BPD also have persistent feelings of paranoia and suspiciousness of others. They may experience dissociation, the feeling of being disconnected from reality. Because of their fragile sense of self, individuals with BPD tend to become overly dependent upon others, causing underdeveloped coping, communication, and life skills.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) vs. Bipolar Disorder (BD)

Borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder are mental health disorders associated with extreme mood swings. While many of the symptoms of the two overlap, they have different causes, symptoms, and treatments. The significant difference is that BPD is a personality disorder characterized by instability in self-image, moods, and relationships. BD is a mood disorder characterized by persistently abnormal moods.

What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?

The exact cause of borderline personality disorder is unknown. However, research suggests that it is influenced by environmental factors, especially those in early childhood. A history of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse is common in people with BPD. Additionally, parental neglect and having parents with severe substance abuse are factors. Research suggests that experiencing trauma and chronic stress in childhood, along with poor coping skills, can contribute to BPD later in life.

Other factors contributing to borderline personality disorder include genetics, chemical imbalances, and brain structure. People with a family history of BPD are more likely to have it. Many individuals with BPD have altered neurotransmitter function, particularly serotonin. Structural and functional differences in the brain are in areas that control impulses and emotional regulation, including the hippocampus, amygdala, and orbitofrontal cortex.

Contact the Atlanta Center for Mental Health for BPD Treatment

Atlanta Center for Mental Health is a free-standing residential mental health treatment center. Our goal is to help those struggling with mental health disorders transform their lives. We offer an incredible level of comfort and security to promote healing, recovery, and wellness. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, we provide around-the-clock support while you recover. Find out why Atlanta Center for Mental Health is the right choice for you or your loved one. Reach out using our secure online form or by calling 833.625.0458.