You may have heard of borderline personality disorder or BPD. Although borderline personality disorder was first recognized in the DSM III, our knowledge about the disorder has evolved throughout the years, and more and more people are becoming aware of borderline personality disorder as a mental health condition and diagnosis. That said, there are many misconceptions about borderline personality disorder, and it can be highly stigmatized. So, you might wonder, how is BPD really diagnosed? Is it treatable? Today, we’ll answer those questions and talk about how to find support if you need it.
First, let’s cover the basics. What is BPD? Borderline personality disorder or BPD is a cluster B personality disorder. Cluster B personality disorders are characterized by unstable emotions and unpredictable behavior.
Symptoms of BPD include but are not limited to:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or perceived abandonment.
- Patterns of intense or unstable interpersonal relationships.
- Instability in mood. With BPD, someone’s mood may change rapidly.
- Identity disturbance, which refers to a notably and continuously unstable sense of self.
- Impulsivity in two or more areas. Examples of impulsivity or impulsive behavior include but aren’t limited to reckless spending, reckless driving, reckless sexual activity, and so on.
- Intense, inappropriate bursts or episodes of anger.
- Chronic feelings of emptiness.
- Dissociative symptoms.
According to the NIMH website, roughly 1.4% of the adult population in the United States alone lives with borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is more common in those who have a family member that also has BPD. It is common for those living with borderline personality disorder to have a co-occurring or comorbid diagnosis of another mental health condition. Frequently seen comorbidities in those with BPD include but are not limited to eating disorders, substance use disorders, anxiety, and depression.
Diagnosis And Treatment
How is BPD diagnosed? The only way to get a formal diagnosis of borderline personality disorder or BPD is to see a medical professional such as a psychiatrist who is able to diagnose mental health conditions. BPD is diagnosed based on the criteria for borderline personality disorder listed in the most recent version of the DSM or diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. Currently, the most recent version of the DSM is the DSM-5. Prior to diagnosis, someone with BPD may notice unstable interpersonal relationships, intense emotions that are difficult to cope with, impulsivity, and other symptoms. Dialectical behavioral therapy or DBT is a commonly used, well-researched, and effective treatment for BPD. That said, there are a number of therapies that may be helpful for those living with borderline personality disorder, and DBT is only one of them. Mentalization-based therapy or MBT is also well-researched, commonly used, and effective for those living with BPD. Borderline personality disorder is treatable, and if you are struggling with BPD or things that you might be, it is vital to reach out to a medical or mental health professional who can help. Despite misconceptions and stigma surrounding the condition, living a happy, healthy life with BPD is possible.
Find A Therapist
Whether you’re seeking support for symptoms of a mental health condition, interpersonal relationships, life stressors, grief and loss, concerns related to work in school, or something else that’s on your mind, a therapist can help. There are a number of ways to find a therapist. You can ask your doctor for a referral, contact your insurance company to see who they cover, search the web, or use a website like Mind Diagnostics that can help you find someone licensed to practice near you. There are also free tests such as the borderline personality disorder test on the Mind Diagnostics website. While these tests cannot provide you with a diagnosis and should not be used as a diagnostic tool in any way, they may be able to give you insight into your symptoms in some cases. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support that you need, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help and start the process today.