What is BPD?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition in which a person has significant difficulty managing their emotions and behavior.

Men and women with BPD often experience fear of rejection or separation, unstable self-image, anxiety, and mood changes. These inner feelings may result in impulsive actions including self-harm, and dangerous and/or suicidal behavior. Heightened emotional sensitivity is common, and people with BPD typically respond angrily to perceived slights. Personal relationships are commonly turbulent. External environmental stressors intensify these symptoms.

While this condition is serious, it is important to note that BPD is highly treatable. With compassionate, evidence based treatment, frequency and intensity of these symptoms are typically reduced. The condition is still underdiagnosed and misdiagnosed, however awareness, research, and treatment availability are rapidly advancing each year.

The borderline individual is faced with an apparently irreconcilable dilemma. On the one hand, she [he] has tremendous difficulties with self-regulation of affect and subsequent behavioral competence. She frequently but somewhat unpredictably needs a great deal of assistance, often feels helpless and hopeless, and is afraid of being left alone to fend for herself in a world where she has failed over and over again. Without the ability to predict and control her own well-being, she depends on her social environment to regulate her affect and her behavior. On the other hand, she experiences intense shame at behaving dependently in a society that cannot tolerate dependency, and has learned to inhibit expressions of negative affect and helplessness whenever the affect is within controllable limits. Indeed, when in a positive mood, she may be exceptionally competent across a variety of situations. However, in the positive mood state she has difficulty predicting her own behavioral capabilities in a different mood, and thus communicates to others an ability to cope beyond her capabilities. Thus, the borderline individual, even though at times desperate for help, has great difficulty asking for help appropriately or communicating her needs. —Marsha Linehan, PhD

For more information see:

NEABPD “What is BPD” link

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