Borderline Personality Disorder
Personality Type or Mental Health Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by severe emotional pain and the inability to cope with it. This pain is often something that exsists where it normally wouldn't in another person. These emotional difficulties often result in "cutting", and other forms of self-harm, substance abuse, and eating disorders, usually Bulimia. These pepole have difficulty with their body image. Its controversial, but many transgendered folks are diagnosed with this disorder. I am on the fence about that. They just removed being a homosexual from the DSM-IV as a mental illness not very long ago. It is worth mentioning, though, to point to the severity of these people's variation between good and bad with their self-image. They also have issues with establishing a sense of self and knowing who they are as a person. Often this manifests in inability to have friendships and realtionships that are normal as these people vary in intensity. They can be extremely intense to the point where its not safe, healthy, or normal in their interpersonal relationships.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a Cluster B disorder on Axis II or the DSM-IV. Its characterized as a dramatic, emotional or erratic disorder. There are ten distinct personality disorders in all on this scale. This is a disorder diagnosed in those over eighteen for the most part as in your teen years you may display some of the characteristics in this disorder as a normal part of human development. Often, depending on mood black and white thinking goes on. People can be held up on a perfect pedestal, or completely devalued from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment, depending on the borderline person's mood.
The best course of treatment for this disorder is cognitive therapy. This is a type of therapy that takes years sometimes. It may work, it may not, but there is no medication to change a personality disorder. Its been learned, and must be unlearned and replaced with healthy emotional behavior. Borderline personalities can perceive rejection when it does not exist. This causes extreme emotional distress triggering negative behaviors. They are often described as manipulative or difficult, but this just guises a deep, emotional pain. Criticism is a good trigger for this if it is taken in a negative way by the person suffering from the disorder.
These individuals are impulsive in certain areas. These are generally self-damaging areas of behavior such as: promiscuity, eating disorders, recklessness, or substance abuse. There can be suicidal behaviors as well. Many borderline people describe themselves as feeling "empty". They can have inappropriate reactions and become angry when its uncalled for in most people. They do things that are unexpected, and often are surprising to other people. They have difficulty working towards goals if the end reward is not immediate. They will go to any length to avoid being abandoned, often even if their relationship is unsafe and without reward.
Other conditions are not uncommon to exsist with a person with BPD. Its not uncommon in people who are Autistic or have Aspberger's, people with anxiety disorders, clinical depression and bipolar disorder, Anorexia and bulimia, and dissociative disorders. The cause of this disorder is unknown. There are many speculative observations made in studies, but often the findings are not true in everyone. Sexual abuse is a big trigger, and experts are almost solid on that to date. It is believed at this time to be genetic.
Its common for people with BPD to use mental health services extensively, but its also common for the complete opposite to happen, for the sufferer to end services abruptly. This is in part due to their classic black and white thinking. Many practitioners do not want to work with these people, because of their tendency to be difficult and due to the previously stated. This makes it very difficult for the client to receive treatment. Its sad and its unfair, but the fact of the matter is, its long and hard for these individuals to benefit from the cognitive therapy they so desperately need.
Mostly women are diagnosed with BPD. This is an issue for me, because I believe its a negatively biased diagnois that solidifies society's spin on gender roles and how if a person does not function within that role, they are somehow defective, or there is something wrong with them. This puts a stigma on women diagnosed with the disorder. They are three times more likely than a man to be diagnosed with BPD. It is seen in society that if, as a woman, you reject traditonal female roles, you are seen as difficult, indecisive, and "defective". I question this myself. Is being a typical female "normal" and being a liberated, modern woman a "disorder"? It depends on your opinion, but as of now, these criterion are part of the disorder and its diagnosis.
The popular book and movie, "Girl Interrupted" was about Sussana Kaysen, a girl who spent almost two years in McLean, a mental hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the 1960's due to her borderline personality. She, to this day, readily admits she had problems, but questions the her diagnosis and how it can be applied to anyone showing "nonconformity". I agree with her wholeheartedly, and often question this disorder and its diagnosis.