Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a severe form of mental disorder. It is one of the many disabilities that First Support can help you get disability benefits for.
It was named in the late 1930s by Adolf Stern, who thought the condition existed on the ‘borderline’ of psychosis and neurosis. While this classification has long been challenged by mental health professionals on the basis that it doesn’t accurately describe the signs and symptoms exhibited by those afflicted, the name has stuck.
Some Symptoms and Signs of BPD
Many of those afflicted with BPD show a wide range of symptoms, the most common of which are impulsiveness, a lack of certainty about who they are, and extreme mood swings. This manifests into very tense and difficult to sustain relationships with family and friends. Some patients will almost constantly pull and push their loved ones away in a pattern of idealization and devaluation. Their impulsivity can manifest in unsafe and destructive behaviors like drug abuse, engaging in risky sexual encounters, or spending too much money in a very short period of time. Dissociative feelings, like being able to observe themselves from outside of their own bodies or feeling an impossible distance from oneself, are more symptoms of BPD. Sufferers of BPD also feel empty a lot of the time. Because of these feelings of emptiness they are known to engage in self-harm, consider suicide, and sometimes attempt to end their own lives.
The cause of BPD is currently not known, but there are several risk factors that suggest who is more likely to develop the disorder. If someone is closely related to someone with BPD, they are five times more likely to have it than someone who doesn’t have a family history. There is also some evidence that BPD may partially be caused by childhood abandonment and abuse, or by differences in the physiology of the brain, but not everyone with these factors has BPD and not everyone with BPD has suffered abuse, or has the same structural differences in their brains.
One of the most important factors in the treatment of BPD is getting help from a qualified medical or mental health professional. Because the disorder is complex, it is often misdiagnosed as something else. Some treatments for conditions that manifest in similar manners, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, can be effective in treating BPD, but some, like most medications, are not a good way to treat these patients.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help those with BPD by allowing them to see and change thoughts that they have that don’t accurately conform to reality. By showing them how to identify and adapt their ways of thinking, doctors can see to it that patients learn how to control their symptoms and curb dangerous behaviors.
Schema-Focused Cognitive Therapy works by helping a patient to learn how to look at themselves in a different, healthier way. It’s thought that by reframing a person’s view of their self that they will be able to learn a more acceptable way to deal with others and handle stresses.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) works by teaching those with BPD how to understand their emotions in any given situation and then using that awareness to engage in behaviors that are not harmful to themselves or others. It doesn’t just try to change behaviors permanently but offers alternatives to harmful thoughts and behaviors in a way that suggests to a patient that although they may never be completely free of BPD, that there are healthy ways to live with it.
Medications should not be used as the primary treatment method for BPD because no medications exist to treat it. Some drugs can help certain severe symptoms of BPD but, because of the high rates of self-harm, drug abuse, and suicide associated with BPD, any drugs that have the potential for abuse or overdose must be carefully monitored when given to a BPD patient.
If you feel like you may have BPD, or you know a family member who needs help, get to a doctor as soon as possible. If you need help filing disability tax credit forms, or applying for disability benefits, call First Support. We’re experts in making sure you get the benefits that you need and deserve.