What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

BPD is a serious mental health condition where the sufferer experiences significant emotional pain and carries self-harm and suicide risks.  There are several myths and stigma about this disorder that makes many of the sufferers not to seek diagnosis and treatment. The avoidance of diagnosis and treatment can make the symptoms worse. In fact, through proper diagnosis and treatment, BPD sufferers can improve from their symptoms and can lead a promising and successful life.

Recent research shows that 85% of the time the condition is developed as a result of long-term exposure to childhood trauma resulted from a dysfunctional family atmosphere and 15% of the time biological factors contribute to the development of BPD.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder Include;

  • Fear of abandonment and rejection: BPD sufferers are terrified of being abandoned or rejected. They often act in a way to stop this perceived or real abandonment by acting in a frantic way (e.g. begging to stay, getting overly clingy, and engages in self-sabotaging behaviours to make the other person stay in the relationship). In some occasions, people avoid attachment to avoid the possibility of getting hurt and even abandoned.
  • Intense and unstable relationships: BPD sufferers tend to have intense short-lived intimate relationships. Because of the rapid mood swings, they may idealise someone close to them and the next moment they may devalue this person. Due to this mood instability, individuals struggle to maintain healthy intimate and other close relationships.
  • Unstable self-image: individuals struggle to maintain a clear self-image. A number of times they view themselves as evil and hate themselves. At times they feel good about themselves. This unstable self-image sometimes manifests as signs of depression. Due to the changes in self-image, people often struggle to maintain goals in life. This causes frequent changes in study, jobs, friends, lovers, values, and even sexual identity.
  • Impulsive behaviours: when you feel low or down, you might engage in thrill-seeking behaviours which are extremely risky including, reckless driving, impulsive spending, binge or restricted eating, risky or unprotected sexual behaviours, shoplift and polysubstance use.
  • Self-Harm and Suicidal ideation: Due to the experience of intense emotional pain and the struggles they experience to let out these emotions in a healthy way, individuals tend to resort self-harm or suicidal behaviours, threats, gestures or even attempts to gain relief from their painful emotional experiences.
  • Mood Swings: triggers that other people might brush off can cause intense emotional swings within BPD sufferers. These mood swings are intense but short-lived, unlike bipolar disorders.
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness: people often complain that they feel like an empty shell or a hollow object. They feel “nothing” or “nobody”. As these emotions are uncomfortable to BPD sufferers, they tend to rely on substances or risky sexual behaviours to experience a relief, however, reported of feeling not satisfied after.
  • Explosive anger: BPD sufferers often experience intense short-lived rage, where they often engage in abusive and violent behaviours towards people who are close to them or at times destroy objects. They also spend a lot of time being angry at them.
  • Paranoia and Dissociation: Due to childhood traumatic experiences, the reliving of such experiences in adulthood and the strongly entrenched beliefs that develop from such experiences, BPD sufferers often feel suspicious about the motives of other people. This causes trust issues. When under stress they may also lose touch with reality – the experienced is known as ‘Dissociation’. During dissociation, they may temporally feel spaced out, confused or even feel an outside of their body experience.

Dialectical Behaviour Therapy – DBT

DBT is considered one of those many treatments that found to be very effective in Treating BPD. The specialty of this therapy is, it is developed by Professor Marsha Linehan, who is a psychologist diagnosed with BPD and hence, she knows what works best.

Insight Clinic offers short term (10 sessions) fully bulk billed DBT sessions for its clients with no out of pocket expenses. All you need is a referral and care plan from your local GP. You don’t need a diagnosis to be eligible for the treatment. If you suspect that you suffer from BPD, and then talk to your GP and Insight Clinic does a preliminary assessment and commences the treatment. If you do not qualify for a diagnosis, then insight clinic will advise you other possible diagnosis and offer other potential treatment options.

If you feel that you are at high risks of self-harm or suicides or having thoughts about such, please reach out for help on the following phone numbers. They are available 24/7.

Life Line – 13 11 14

Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636

Kids Help Line – 1800 55 1800

Mens Line – 1300 78 99 78

Suicide call back service – 1300 659 467

Suicide Line Victoria – 1300 651 251