Today I wanted to discuss the struggles that come for those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The symptoms of BPD cause huge struggles for those with the diagnosis, their family, friends, and loved ones.
While women are more frequently diagnosed with BPD than men are (3 to 1), both genders can suffer from it, and the symptoms may manifest themselves differently.
For women, the symptoms may include(1):
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
- Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
- Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
- Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
- Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality
For men, the symptoms might be the same or a little different and include(2):
- Aggressively thin-skinned
- Controlling through criticism
- Irrational jealousy
- Possessive but detached
- Rejecting relationships
- Holding grudges
- Using sex to relieve insecurity
- Substance abuse
These symptoms are difficult to live with both as the one with the diagnosis and others living in the tempest. The person with BPD may cycle rapidly through, “I love you! I hate you! Please don’t leave me!” and all involved struggle to be able to deal with the emotions this cycling causes. The person with BPD is terrified of abandonment and tries so hard to prevent it and in turn, cause it.
Because of this “hole” in their lives, those with BPD often turn to other people and actions to fill the void. They might go on wild spending sprees, have affairs or engage in unsafe sex, or self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
Sadly, because the amount of “drama” and disarray that BPD brings into their life, people with BPD have a high rate of suicide.
“About 70% of people with BPD will make at least one suicide attempt in their lifetimes. In addition, between 8 and 10 percent of people with BPD will complete suicide; this rate is more than 50 times the rate of suicide in the general population.”(3)
Though this diagnosis is notoriously difficult to deal with without therapy or treatment, there is hope. While there are no medications recommended to treat BPD, there are some talk therapies that can help a BPD sufferer better cope with their beliefs or feelings and temper their responses. These therapies include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
There are also several books that come highly recommended. Do some research and read some reviews to see if one of these might help you understand what is happening and how to go forward on dealing with it.
- NIMH: https://goo.gl/A6zK4w
- Psychology Today: https://goo.gl/xJGAU0
- VeryWell.com: https://goo.gl/kKnmiQ
I sincerely hope this brief article helps you, or someone who loves you, get help to lead a happier life.
As always, feel free to contact me at (817) 427-7092 to get help finding resources or treatment.
All the best!
Officer C. Morgan #622
Mental Health Peace Officer
North Richland Hills Police Department
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