People with borderline personality disorder (BPD) have difficulty regulating emotions. They may have severe mood swings, act impulsively and have difficult personal relationships. They can struggle with abandonment—real or perceived—and take dramatic steps to avoid such situations.
Recent research has shown that men may be affected just as significantly, but 75 percent of diagnoses are in women. Men with BPD may be misdiagnosed with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Anywhere from 1.6-5.9 percent of the U.S. adult population may have BPD.
Genetics plays a significant role. A person is five times more likely to be diagnosed with BPD if a close family member has the disorder. Those who experienced a traumatic life event, such as abuse or abandonment, also may be predisposed. Those with BPD have structural and functional changes in the brain related to impulse control and regulation of emotions.
BPD can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms are experienced in people with other forms of mental problems and mental illness. A thorough assessment by a licensed mental health professional is required. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the term “borderline” refers to the fact that those with BPD “border” on being diagnosed with additional mental health conditions in their lifetimes.
People with BPD may be treated with psychotherapy. If the symptoms are severe enough—or if the person is suicidal—hospitalization may be necessary. There is no medication specifically for the treatment of BPD, though mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs may help with some of the symptoms.
If you or someone you love is having suicidal thoughts, seek help immediately.
National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder
National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml