Awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder

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1 Borderline Personality Disorder 1 Awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder Virginia Ann Smith Written Communication Sarah Noreen, Instructor November 13, 2013

2 Borderline Personality Disorder 2 Awareness of Borderline Personality Disorder Have you ever heard of borderline personality disorder? Until I was diagnosed having symptoms of borderline personality disorder in 2011, I hadn t heard of it either. Borderline personality disorder is a disorder where individuals have extreme difficulties regulating their emotions. Problems include intense anger, chaotic relationships, impulsivity, unstable sense of self, suicide attempts, self-harm, shame, fears of abandonment, and chronic feelings of emptiness. (What is BPD, n.d.) In order for someone to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder you must have at least five of the nine symptoms listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR). The nine symptoms listed in the DSM-IV-TR are as follows: 1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. 2. Pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation. 3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. 4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). 5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures or threats, or self-mutilating behavior. 6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood. 7. Chronic feelings of emptiness. 8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger.

3 Borderline Personality Disorder 3 9. Transient, stress, related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms. (DSM IV) (What is BPD, n.d.) The symptoms of borderline personality disorder are severe. An individual with these symptoms can have a hard time with family, friends, and work relationships. For example, you may lose touch with your family if they aren t aware of what is causing you to have outbursts of rage at simple things, such as putting the dishes away, or taking out the trash. You may also have moments where you burst into tears because someone tells you that dress doesn t suite your style and family will not understand what is the reasoning for it and they will simply think you are seeking attention, While the real problem is you don t have the ability to regulate your emotions like a normal person would. These symptoms can also cause problems in the work place. What if your boss asks you to write a paper that wasn t on your original agenda for the day and they need it done within the hour? That may cause an individual with borderline personality disorder to feel as though they are testing you instead of just trusting you to get things done. You could react in a way that you burst into tears, or you could burst into a fit of rage at your boss. Neither situation is a good situation to have at work. The examples I gave, of different situations dealing with home and work, can be made more difficult by other disorders. People with this disorder also have high rates of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders, along with self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides. (Borderline Personality Disorder, n.d.)

4 Borderline Personality Disorder 4 From my experience with borderline personality disorder, the symptoms of fear of abandonment and the frantic attempt to avoid that abandonment, whether real or imaginary, is made worse by my experience with obsessive-compulsive disorder. For example, I feel as though my husband is going to tell me to leave. There is no reason for that fear. However, due to my obsessive-compulsive disorder, I obsess over it in my head and repeat it often; and that, in turn, makes the fear of abandonment all the more real, and all the more difficult. Not only is it hard on me, but it is hard on my husband as well because he knows it s not real and he has no way of knowing how to help me fix the problem. He can tell me, over and over again, that it is nothing to worry about, yet it will still not leave my mind. I was diagnosed at age 10 with depression, again at 17, and again at 21. Finally, I started seeing a therapist after I was married at age 20, divorced at age 22, and married again at 23, and she told me that I had obsessive-compulsive disorder, some trauma, and symptoms of borderline personality disorder. I have been through a lot, throughout my life, dealing with my mental disorders. Never, through my experience since age 10 and on, was I diagnosed properly until age 21. I believe this is due to the lack of education and awareness of borderline personality disorder. Had I been diagnosed properly at an earlier age, would I still have gotten married the first time, divorced, and married again? Would I have had as much trauma throughout elementary, middle, and high school? Would my relationship with my mom have been better at a younger age if I would have known that she wasn t just hating me, that she herself has her own issues and things weren t really that bad for me? I think a

5 Borderline Personality Disorder 5 lot of things would have been different had I not just been diagnosed with depression, which I do not even have, and put on an anti-depressant at such an early age. There are different groups of healthcare professionals trying to make borderline personality disorder a more recognizable mental health disorder. They are trying to make citizens and other health professionals more aware of it in order to help research funding so individuals like me, or individuals worse off, are diagnosed properly at as early of an age as possible, in order to make their lives, and the lives of their family and friends, much easier. It is estimated that more than 14 million American adults, distributed equally between men and women, have BPD. It is more common than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder: an estimated 11% of outpatients, 20% of psychiatric inpatients and 6% of primary care visits meet the criteria for the disorder. (What is BPD, n.d.) Despite the fact that borderline personality disorder is more common than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder research is still more under-funded. According to Eric A. Fertuck, Dr. John Gunderson, who promoted the inclusion of BPD into the official diagnostic system of American Psychiatry highlights, despite comparable prevalence rates, BPD receives about 1/50th the amount of funding as does Schizophrenia, and 1/20th the amount that Bipolar receives from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). (Eric A. Fertuck, 2009) Despite the fact that borderline personality disorder is under-funded, there still has been a lot of research on different ways to help individuals suffering from symptoms. Medications are not seen as a cure-all for borderline personality disorder. Often, different anti-depressants are still used to help symptoms of the co-occurring

6 Borderline Personality Disorder 6 disorders, such as depression, or anxiety. The one mode of help to relieve symptoms of borderline personality disorder that seems to be the most prevalent, is Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, or DBT. The way DBT works, is it focuses on the individual and how they see things. It s a talk therapy. There is also homework that helps to understand if there are certain triggers to certain stresses. Basically, DBT teaches individuals suffering from symptoms of borderline personality disorder how to regulate their emotions. DBT often consists of weekly sessions of one-on-one psychotherapy, as well as a session of group therapy. From my experience, DBT is a very useful type of therapy. It helps you to understand how you see things, and how the way you see it differs from normal. I wish I would have had the opportunity to learn how to cope and regulate my emotions at a younger age by use of DBT. Thanks to the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, On April 1, 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by a vote of 414-0, House Resolution 1005 which supports the month of May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. (BPD Awareness Month See What You Can Do, n.d.) Hopefully, we will all be able to get the word out, find more funding and support, and help those individuals and their families cope with borderline personality disorder. Borderline personality disorder is not an easy disorder to live with. We need to help make more people aware of borderline personality disorder so we can help those who suffer from symptoms get the help they need, early on in their lives, in order to be able to regulate their emotions in a normal sense, and give them the opportunity at a young age to learn to live a normal life.

7 Borderline Personality Disorder 7 References Borderline Personality Disorder. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2013, from National Institute of Mental Health: BPD Awareness Month See What You Can Do. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2013, from National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder: Eric A. Fertuck, P. D. (2009, May 20). Mind and brain investigations of borderline personality disorder and its treatment. Science at The 'Border'. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from What is BPD. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2013, from National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder:

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