What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
BPD is a mental health disorder characterized by black-and-white thinking, impulsivity, and difficulties regulating emotions. Someone with BPD may experience extreme shifts in emotional attachment to other people within a short period of time. Often, individuals with BPD experience low self-esteem, distrust of others, uncertainty about how others perceive them, and inconsistent sense of self. As a form of self-protection, people with BPD may push others away or act aggressively to reduce the risk of experiencing emotional distress.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “BPD has been known to lead to:
- Substance use
- Problems with work, family, and social relationships
- Suicide attempts, self-harm, and death by suicide”
BPD has a high rate of comorbidity with SUD and other mental health disorders. According to the previously mentioned article by NIMH, “Research shows that people with borderline personality disorder may have structural and functional changes in the brain, especially in areas that control impulses and emotion regulation.”
Risk Factors for Developing Borderline Personality Disorder
Individuals experiencing BPD have trouble maintaining a sense of self-identity and experience severe shifts in self-worth and personal opinions over very short periods of time. The inconsistency affects how they interact with loved ones and members of the community. Many people with BPD lack a support system. Treatment programs provide clients with access to peer support and essential skills development to reduce the risk of loneliness or social isolation.
Multiple potential factors play a role in whether someone develops BPD, including:
- Family history of substance abuse or mental health disorders
- Personal history of substance abuse
- Trauma, neglect, or abuse
- Environmental factors
- Childhood behavioral or attachment issues
Individuals with BPD often have a history of instability within their home life and few healthy social supports. In addition, childhood abuse is very common for individuals diagnosed with BPD. Avery Lane uses trauma-focused therapies to address any untreated traumas.
Common Warning Signs
BPD may cause people to become more withdrawn or aggressive during social interactions. However, the warning signs are different for each person.
Some potential symptoms and side effects of BPD include:
- Inability to consistently regulate emotional responses
- Distorted thought patterns and beliefs
- Highly impulsive reactions to situations or people
- Emotional intensity during interactions with loved ones
- Unstable relationships
- Chronic feelings of emptiness and suicidal ideations
- Dissociative events, including feelings of unreality
Individuals with BPD often change how they think about others based on their perceptions and a strict belief that people are either “good” or “bad.” People they care about may suddenly move from the “good” to the “bad” category for minor slights or perceived flaws. In addition, BPD often causes people to have an all-or-nothing approach to professional and personal relationships. Someone with BPD may abruptly quit their job or a long-term relationship due to perceived problems.
How Does Borderline Personality Disorder Affect Treatment and Recovery?
Recovering from BPD involves processing traumas and other underlying issues affecting mental health. Clinicians at Avery Lane use various evidence-based and alternative holistic therapies to reduce the risk of re-traumatization and help people with mental health disorders get the treatment they need to recover. In some cases, the all-or-nothing mindset of people with BPD may interfere with recovery. For example, if a client feels like aspects of therapy are emotionally distressing, they may choose to stop treatment entirely instead of finding healthy ways to process and manage their emotional responses.
The side effects and symptoms of BPD may cause some clients in recovery to experience the following:
- Difficulty building a trusting relationship with the care team and peers within the community
- Co-occurring disorders may make it more difficult to focus during treatment
- Episodes of major depression may make it harder to function and attend appointments
Individuals with BPD have an increased risk of self-harming or suicidal behaviors if they have co-occurring substance use or mental health disorders. Avery Lane reduces those risks by providing comprehensive and individualized care to women with dual diagnosis or primary mental health concerns.
Treatment Options at Avery Lane
Many treatment options are available for individuals with BPD, including talk therapy and prescription medications. According to CMAJ, “Psychotherapy is the most important component in the treatment of borderline personality disorder, leading to large reductions in symptoms that persist over time.” Treatment programs at Avery Lane all offer individual and group therapy.
The clinicians help women and their families heal from BPD using various therapeutic tools, including:
- Peer support
- Trauma treatment
- Support groups
Avery Lane utilizes a whole-person approach to treatment and offers multiple levels of care, including inpatient, outpatient, and sober living programs. Every client has access to the tools and resources they need to thrive in recovery and manage their mental health after transitioning out of treatment.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) often causes severe symptoms and can interfere with a person’s ability to live a fulfilling life. Professional mental health treatment provides clients with the skills and resources to manage their condition and maintain positive mental health. To learn more about our programs and services, call Avery Lane today at (800) 270-2406.