Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Into My Broken Mind: Borderline Personality Disorder



     Aside from Bipolar Disorder, one of my biggest challenges is also living with Borderline Personality Disorder.      

     Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a permanent and inflexible pattern of experience and behavior that departs from what is considered habitual. It affects the way the individual who suffers it perceives the world around him/her, their affectivity, interpersonal relationships and impulse control. 

      BPD causes great emotional and behavioral instability, which alters and disturbs many areas of life (work, affective, relationships) of the patient and the people with whom he/she lives. There may be other associated complications, such as mood disorders, eating disorders, drug addiction, etc., which may aggravate the problem.

      It's hard to pinpoint the cause of BPD. A cause-and-effect can not be established because BPD is developed by a combination of biological and environmental aspects. The development of a personality disorder involves many factors, biological and environmental, which today are not precisely known yet. The best prevention is to be able to diagnose it as soon as possible and receive the appropriate treatment.

Brain scans have shown people with BPD have amygdala’s that are noticeably smaller than the general population, and may even have undergone atrophy. The smaller the amygdala, the more overactive it is.
(Courtesy of Kevin Redmayne at Medium.com)

      The appearance of behavior and personality limits can begin in adolescence and early adulthood. The diagnosis of BPD is made when symptoms have been present more or less intensely over a long period of time (usually between 2-5 years). Behaviors that might relate to symptoms of BPD in adolescents may be observed, but it is too early and difficult to diagnose since some of these behaviors can be confused with other problems or evolutionary characteristics of childhood and adolescence. In children or adolescents who present behaviors or ideas that cause problems (or if you have doubts about their normality), it is convenient to talk with their pediatrician. People over 18 should talk to the family doctor. Both professionals can guide them about the situation and refer them to a specialized mental health service for adults or children and youth.

Many parents often overlook or ignore the symptoms. This can greatly affect the progress and development of any mental illness and miss an early diagnosis and, thus, any needed treatment. The earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the bigger and better chances at life you give your child. This brings me to another point...

      Some people believe that a person with BPD can't have children. This is not entirely true. Although BPD may present another challenge in child-rearing, the right medications along with therapy and family support can make it possible for a person with BPD to have children and be able to take care of them. But, note again that, this depends on getting a decrease and stability of symptoms, as well as a capacity for autonomy. To achieve this some people with BPD may need treatment, follow-up and help from the people around them to carry out adequate maternity or parenthood.

      If you see someone in a crisis, it's important to try to keep the person safe from his/herself, persuade them not to engage in self-destructive behaviors. If this is not possible, contact your local care center or, if possible, bring the person to the Emergency Department. Admission and observation in a mental health unit is sometimes necessary. (Image courtesy of PositiveDrugs.com)

      Borderline Personality Disorder has, for some time, been considered to be the one psychiatric disorder that causes the most intense emotional pain, anguish, and distress in those who endure this condition. Studies have demonstrated that BPD patients experience chronic emotional suffering and endure significant mental agony. Borderline patients may feel overpowered by negative feelings, may experience intense grief rather than just sadness, disgrace and mortification rather than shame or mild embarrassment, seethe or rage rather than mere annoyance, and panic and frenzy instead of nervousness. People with BPD are particularly sensitive to rejection, isolation and (real or perceived) failure. BPD patients are very impulsive and their attempts to mitigate the misery are often reckless, dangerous or self-destructive.

      There are specific medications for the symptoms of people with BPD (such as depression, anxiety, impulsivity, psychotic symptoms, etc.) that are effective in decreasing their intensity. The need of medication and length of treatment vary on each case, so take into account the severity of symptoms, its interference in daily life and its evolution. Your family doctor can inform you of the public mental health center corresponding to your area. These centers specialize in addressing mental health disorders. There you will also be informed of the existence of specialized programs and other resources in your area.

      Having BPD can present major social challenges because there is great emotional and behavioral instability. There may be other associated problems, such as mood disorders, eating disorders, drug addiction, which further aggravate the problem and disrupt social functioning. The concept of healing in this case refers to achieving a reduction in the intensity of symptoms and interference that these can have in the various areas of life, achieving greater stability and autonomy.


Thanks for reading.

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