Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

‘I wish I had never been diagnosed with BPD. With another diagnosis yet similar behaviour I was treated so differently. Possibly the most painful part of this illness (I will call it that) is the discrimination. And the only reason for this is the diagnosis, not the way I feel, behave or speak, because that was the same before.’
Mind, 2009

Almost 1.6 million people have a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). However, chances are that you would be hard pressed to find someone you know with these particular set of emotional and behavioural difficulties. However everyone should know more about BPD: Unfortunately, the immense pain and confusion that is characteristic of the diagnosis means that 8-10% of those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder successfully commit suicide.

Borderline personality disorder is arguably one of the most controversial diagnoses classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (i.e. the booklet that clinicians us to people psychiatric diagnoses). The costs of the consequences of the problems associated with BPD are high to the individual (e.g. broken relationships) families (e.g. deaths of family members), the NHS (e.g. multiple in patient admissions) and society (e.g. illness benefits, child/adult protection and housing) alike.

Personality disorders are diagnosed when it is felt that a person’s personality is causing problems in their everyday lives. This is usually because their temperament and past traumas combine together to make them see the world, themselves and relationships in an extremely rigid and often maladaptive way. This leads them to operate in line with particular set of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that tend to lead to self defeating behavioural patterns.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a particular type of personality disorder, sometimes referred to as ‘emotionally unstable personality disorder’. The characteristic difficulties involve problems understanding and regulating their emotions meaning they usually deal with feelings through acting impulsively in relation to themselves (e.g. self harm and drug/alcohol misuse) and others.
Some people hold the mistaken view a borderline personality disorder is a diagnosis that falls between two diagnostic categories. In fact the ‘borderline’ part of the diagnosis describes the particular tension that individuals with the disorder find themselves in relationship to others.

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