Mental health professionals will admit that some disorders are so similar to each other, determining which one is at work in a person’s life can be a challenge. They are also aware that this leads to misdiagnosis. Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the mental health issues which often goes undiagnosed or is mistaken for another disorder such as Bipolar Disorder or Anxiety.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
The name for this condition gives the mistaken suggestion that it is only marginally problematic; as though this is “borderline” mental illness, like a condition which might not qualify for diagnosis at all and could easily go into remission on its own. It doesn’t always present in obvious or disruptive ways.
In some respects, the latter assumption is true; BPD does not necessarily affect every day of one’s life and symptoms can have a positive outcome at times. The problem with Borderline Personality Disorder is that one lives in the midst of extremes.
This is a very serious condition which should be treated even if good days outnumber bad ones right now. It affects every area of life and comes out in the way one acts, in every sort of relationship, and in thoughts or feelings. Some of those suffering BPD will even exhibit psychotic behaviors.
What is Psychosis?
A psychotic individual loses touch with reality. He might manage day by day until something causes him to lose this connection and he is unable to relate to real situations and people. These episodes are often terrifying to the individual and those who live with him.
Is BPD another term for Psychosis?
These are two different forms of mental illness. Psychosis is a possible symptom of BPD, but psychotic episodes are only part of the equation and not in every case. Many people never go through a psychotic episode but still suffer from the extremes of BPD.
Living at Extremes
The theme of “extremes” is recognizable in the life of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder. He is either very bored or over-stimulated; very calm or intensely angry; affectionate or abusive.
Inwardly, this individual moves from thinking he can do anything to wanting to end his life, which is similar to bipolar disorder without delusions of grandeur. Suicidal thoughts are not uncommon and suicide is a very real possibility, although many people with BPD scar their bodies by committing acts of self-harm not intended as attempted suicide.
Physical pain is a distraction from emotional confusion. Loved ones feel unsafe in the midst of unpredictable and sometimes aggressive behaviors. Risk-taking sometimes drags family and friends down with the sufferer.
Borderline Personality Disorder has been connected to genetic and environmental/circumstantial factors. One might come from a disordered home life marked by extremes such as abuse or abandonment; moods lurching this way and that all the time.
A person might come from a stable and loving home but still develop BPD. Instances of this mental health problem are fairly rare at less than 2% in the United States, but one will often find that a sufferer comes form a dysfunctional home or suffers from other conditions such as depression. Addiction to drugs or alcohol is also typical, and psychotherapy will frequently reveal which came first.
Since triggers are still being studied via clinical trials, medication has not been created or released specifically to treat Borderline Personality Disorder. Some patients respond well to certain anxiety/depression medication, but often the answer is to undergo psychiatric therapy or psychotherapy. The two approaches can work together as well.
A change in lifestyle might be recommended, such as getting out from under the care of an unpredictable parent or undergoing treatment for substance abuse on top of receiving counseling. Nutritional supplements affecting the brain are strongly recommended as there are no side effects; only potential benefits.