What Does BPD Do To A Person?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health disorder. It is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image issues, and difficulty managing emotions and behaviors, which interfere with one’s ability to function in everyday life. These patterns will often result in reckless and hasty actions, negatively affecting one’s relationships. The term “borderline” was initially coined because psychiatrists believed that its symptoms hovered on the border between psychosis and neurosis. Although there is no single cause of borderline personality disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) alludes to research that “suggests that genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental, cultural, and social factors play a role, or may increase the risk for developing a borderline personality disorder.” Most commonly, BPD develops in early adulthood, often with more severe symptoms occurring in the early stages of onset.
There is no definitive medical test to diagnose borderline personality disorder. According to the DSM-5, a borderline personality disorder is diagnosed when individual experiences “a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood” and must experience five or more of the following symptoms in a variety of contexts:
- Emotional instability
- Feelings of emptiness
- Efforts to avoid abandonment
- Impulsive behaviors
- Identity disturbances
- Inappropriate, irrational, and/ or intense bouts of anger
- Transient paranoid and/ or dissociative symptoms
- Unstable interpersonal relationships
- Suicidal and/ or self-harming behaviors
Due to its elusive nature, a borderline personality disorder can be extremely difficult to diagnose. As such, to obtain the most accurate mental health diagnosis it is imperative to undergo a comprehensive evaluation that is conducted by one or more qualified mental health professionals.
The symptoms of BPD typically stem from an inconsistent self-concept. As is evident through the diagnostic criteria, there are certain symptoms that are caused by BPD. Common symptoms that someone diagnosed with BPD may exhibit could include any combination of the following examples, provided by the Mayo Clinic:
- Ongoing feelings of emptiness
- Risky behavior (e.g., gambling, having unsafe sex, etc.)
- Intense fear of being alone or abandoned
- Fragile self-image
- Unstable relationships
- Erratic moods
- Frequent displays of intense anger
- Stress-related, fleeting paranoia
- Suicidal behavior
- Threats of self-injury
Young people with borderline personality disorder feel prolonged, intense emotions and are unable to return to a neutral emotional baseline after facing an emotionally triggering experience in a timely manner. BPD directly affects how one feels about him or herself, one’s behavior as well as how an individual can relate to others.
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