Borderline Personality Disorder
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is perhaps one of the most misunderstood illnesses of our time. The term “borderline personality” was coined in 1938 by psychiatry in an effort to describe patients who didn’t fit neatly into the psychotic or neurotic categories that defined mental health more than half a century ago. Perhaps the term “borderline” was used to capture “conceptual confusion” as the NICE Clinical Guidelines out of the UK proposes. Either way, it was applied during a time when researchers did not understand the nature of what they were observing or how best to describe it.
Those struggling with BPD exhibit deficits in the ability to regulate emotion and impulse control, factors that research is showing is strongly tied to biology and then reinforced by the environment through pervasive invalidation. Dominated by deficits in the ability to regulate emotion, individuals with this illness suffer from:
- Identity disturbance
- Attachment difficulties
- A sense of emptiness or that one is “bad”
- Intense and chaotic relationships
- Chronic feelings of suicide and/or self-injurious behaviour
- Other impulsive behaviour (shoplifting, substance use, binge eating, gambling)
- Rapidly shifting emotions
- Angry outbursts
- Stress-induced paranoid thinking, suspiciousness
- Episodes of dissociation
How is Borderline Personality Disorder Treated?
The gold standard treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Rigorously studied across the world, comprehensive DBT is associated with reduced rates of suicide and sef-injurious behaviours, fewer psychiatric hospitalizations, greater emotional stability, less angry outbursts, and improved social functioning.