Borderline personality disorder is a complex psychological condition that affects how people view themselves and others. It is primarily characterized by unstable emotions and mood swings that don’t let a person live their life fully. It is one of the several personality disorders affecting people, as recognized by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
People with this condition live with insecurity wherein they have immense self-doubt and low self-esteem. These thought patterns and behaviors make their relationships very unstable, apart from feeling that instability in their own identity. They are triggered by things others may consider small, and sometimes patients say they feel as if they have an exposed nerve ending.
This condition and its symptoms may look normal to a patient who may not even realize that they face a personality disorder. This leads to a situation where they may not be aware of the condition for many years and only get to the point of diagnosis after a distressing event acts as a trigger in which they behave in a manner that comes out as a mental health condition that now needs immediate attention.
Whenever that point comes, seeking treatment for the disorder becomes necessary to relieve the symptoms and lead a better life. This is very much possible as there are many treatment options available. These are discussed in detail below. Keep reading for more information regarding the symptoms, medications, and other relevant information on this condition in particular, as well as personality disorders in general.
Understanding Personality Disorders
Personality disorders are psychological disorders in which patients tend to have an unhealthy and rigid way of thinking, behaving, and functioning. A personality disorder makes it difficult for a patient to perceive and relate to situations and people around them. This results in significant limitations and problems in maintaining relationships, social life, and work.
Most personality disorders begin in adolescence or even during early adulthood. In many cases, personality disorders continue for many years, sometimes without even being diagnosed or treated. When they are left untreated, they cause a great deal of distress. In some cases, one may not even realize that they have a personality disorder as they see themselves as entirely normal. In fact, when others confront or challenge them, they may start to blame other people for doing so.
Symptoms of BPD
This ailment is associated with very significant and specific problems in self-image, emotions, and behavioral and thinking patterns. The disorder often interferes with a person’s ability to enjoy life and achieve fulfillment at school, work, or in relationships. Following are some symptoms a person might experience:
- Self-image: People with this condition report many ups and downs regarding how they feel about themselves. One moment, they like who they are, and the next moment, they may start believing that they are bad or evil. They do not have stability in their sense of self.
- Emotions: When self-image is unstable, the emotions of people diagnosed with this condition also see the same instability. The emotional roller coaster they feel is marked by intense and quick mood changes, which may last from a few minutes to days. Overwhelming emptiness, anger, and anxiety are also common feelings.
- Behaviors: Borderline personality disorder is often associated with a tendency to engage in dangerous, impulsive, and risky behaviors such as drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, binge eating, going on shopping sprees, and having unprotected sex, among others. People might also be prone to engaging in self-harming activities such as burning or cutting, which may even lead some of the patients to feel suicidal.
- Relationships: Most people have intense relationships with their loved ones, characterized by arguments, frequent conflicts, and break-ups. There is an intense fear of abandonment, which puts a strain on the relationships as the patients cannot trust anyone easily.
- Stress-related changes in thinking: In stressful situations, people with this disorder tend to have changes in their thinking patterns that may include the occurrence of paranoid thoughts (for example, they may think that others are trying to cause them harm) or dissociation (that can include feeling numb, spaced out or a feeling that they are not in their body)
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Personality Disorder Treatments
When we talk about the treatment of personality disorders, the route to be taken is decided by the severity of the prevalent condition and the life situations of the patient. Most personality disorders are long-standing, so their treatment also takes months or years. In most cases, a team approach among the health care providers is what works best for a patient. The treatment plan may include a primary doctor, psychiatrist, and a counseling psychologist.
In terms of therapy, psychotherapy is the primary way to treat personality disorders. During a psychotherapy session with a mental health care expert, patients can talk about their moods, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They are taught how to cope with stress and manage the disorder. You may receive social skills training as well. The insights and knowledge from the therapy can be used to manage the symptoms in a healthy manner that doesn’t interfere with the relationships and overall functioning of the day-to-day matters.
In some cases, family therapy is also given, which helps provide support and education to families dealing with a member who has a personality disorder.
What Medications Are Available?
In official terms, there are no medications that have been specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat personality disorders. However, many psychiatric medications are helpful in various personality disorder symptoms. Some of them are listed below:
- Mood stabilizers: These medicines are helpful in dealing with mood swings and reduce irritability, aggression, and impulsivity in patients.
- Antidepressants: Most personality disorders are characterized by episodes of depressed mood, anger, hopelessness, irritability, and impulsivity. Antidepressants help deal with these conditions.
- Anti-anxiety medications: These may be given if you have anxiety, insomnia, or agitation. But, in some cases, these medicines are also known to increase impulsive behavior, so they may not be prescribed for some personality disorders.
- Antipsychotic medications: Also known as neuroleptics, these medications are helpful when a person experiences symptoms such as losing touch with reality or in cases of extreme anxiety or anger issues.
A certified mental health professional knows which course to take for BPD treatment. In many cases, a combination of medications and therapy works best, but that again is decided by your doctor.
Seek BPD Treatment from a Trusted Therapist With DocVita
Borderline personality disorder is a complex disorder that is not easy to diagnose. A certified mental health care professional evaluates an individual’s symptoms and reviews their entire medical history to rule out any medical illnesses that may be contributing to the symptoms. Other personality disorders such as bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder also have similar symptoms, so the health care provider may also rule out these mental health conditions.
In the case of BPD, the good news is that hope for betterment is there once a diagnosis has been made. The doctor can execute a treatment plan according to the patient’s specific conditions. The treatment may include therapy, medications, and other critical ways of medical intervention, such as intensive care during hospitalization in critical cases.
If you or any of your loved ones show the above-mentioned symptoms, professional help should be taken by certified and trusted therapists. At DocVita, we have a team of doctors who can help relieve the symptoms and provide treatment for borderline personality disorder. When a patient seeks out counselling and spends time working on their treatment, they are able to see that the symptoms go away. With proper guidance, BPD can be treated.