Borderline personality disorder is a challenging mental health condition characterized by relationship difficulties and problems processing emotions. In observation of BPD Awareness Month this May, what should you know to determine whether you have BPD and the steps to take if you think you have this illness?
What Is a Personality Disorder?
The term “borderline” in BPD can be confusing, but you should know that it derives from our earliest understanding of this mental illness. Mental health professionals formerly believed that people with “borderline” personalities were on the verge of developing neuroses or psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. As our understanding of BPD has evolved, we now know the word “borderline” is a misnomer, but the mental health community has yet to agree on a more appropriate descriptor to replace it.
All the characteristics and behaviors that define BPD stem from your personality. If you have a personality disorder, it means you struggle with your self-image and have trouble maintaining healthy, mutually beneficial long-term relationships. For people with BPD, life can feel uncertain, but you should know it’s possible to successfully manage this condition. While there’s no cure for BPD, a therapist can teach you ways to reduce and control your symptoms.
Warning Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder
To determine whether you have BPD, you can review these common characteristics people with borderline personality disorder share.
- Distorted self-image: BPD causes fluctuations in people’s sense of self. You may alternate between bouts of low self-esteem, followed by periods of extreme self-confidence.
- Poor decision-making skills: If you have borderline personality disorder, you might struggle to make and follow through with plans. As a result, you could feel aimless or be more comfortable letting others tell you what to do.
- Risky behavior: Impulsivity is also common with BPD, leading people to drive recklessly, spend more than they can afford, binge on food, drugs or alcohol, have unprotected sex or engage in self-harm.
- Mood swings: Another BPD hallmark is moods that fluctuate by the day or sometimes even from one hour to the next. Many people with BPD also struggle with co-occurring mood disorders like depression or anxiety. You might also find yourself quickly becoming irrationally angry in response to something trivial that wouldn’t bother most people.
- Abandonment issues: People with borderline personality typically fear rejection to such a degree that they become desperate to avoid it. In some cases, their efforts can damage relationships and make them unstable.
What to Do If You Think You Have BPD
If you suspect you have BPD, a counselor can help you change your life for the better with treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. These approaches help you identify negative thought patterns and change them to reality-based, positive ones. They also teach you to experience life in the moment for improved self-esteem and self-awareness.
Because BPD frequently co-occurs with other illnesses such as depression and substance abuse, it’s crucial to explore dual-diagnosis treatment to address both conditions simultaneously. At Vista Taos, we take a holistic approach to recovery that helps our clients heal physically, mentally and spiritually. You don’t have to struggle in silence or face your challenges alone. Contact us today to learn more about our amenities and how we can benefit you.