What to know about borderline personality disorder, the misunderstood mental illness that may affect nearly 6% of Americans

depressed sad looking out window

Some hallmarks of borderline personality disorder (BPD) involve wide mood swings, varying self-image, and resulting behavioral problems that especially affect relationships.
According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, scientists aren’t sure what causes BPD, but a combination of family history, brain factors, and environmental factors may all play a role.
BPD can only be diagnosed by a professional, and ongoing psychotherapy is currently regarded as the most effective approach to BPD management and improved quality of life.
Family and friends of someone suffering from BPD are an important support system. In this case, knowledge is very much power to deal with this difficult and often frustrating condition.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness describes borderline personality disorder as “a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion.”

That may sound incredibly simple, but ask anyone who either has BPD or knows someone who has BPD and you’ll find that it’s anything but “simple.”

With BPD and other mental health issues, it’s important to seek qualified professional help and guidance if at all possible — although unfortunately, sometimes available resources don’t permit this.

If you notice that someone you care about is struggling, it is on all of us to offer our support and understanding to break down the social stigmas that seem to swirl around even discussing this stuff.

Here’s the current best estimate of the number of BPD sufferers in the US

Approximately 1.6% of adults in the US may have BPD, although NAMI says it’s possible the actual number may be as high as 5.9%.

Additionally, NAMI says that 75% of sufferers of BPD are women, but as Mayo Clinic psychiatry professor Dr. Brian Palmer pointed out, that number comes from clinical samples. He stated in this presentation that, in community samples, the gender breakdown tends to be more evenly split.

Misdiagnoses are common with BPD, but there are some symptoms that can be indicative of this disorder.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), people with BPD may experience mood swings, fluctuating interests and values, and a tendency to see things in extremes — either entirely good or all bad. They might also experience shifting feelings which can lead to unstable relationships.

The NIMH also lists the following signs and symptoms as indicators of BPD:

Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, such as rapidly initiating intimate (physical or emotional) relationships …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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