Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder is a condition in which people have long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as feelings about themselves and others.

These inner experiences often cause them to take impulsive actions and have chaotic relationships.

People with BPD are often uncertain about their identity.  As a result, their interests and values may change rapidly.

They also tend to see things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad.  Their views of other people may change quickly.  A person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other symptoms of BPD include:

  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Feelings of emptiness and boredom
  • Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
  • Impulsiveness with money, substance abuse, sexual relationships, binge eating, or shoplifting
  • Intolerance of being alone
  • Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing

Many types of individual talk therapy, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), can successfully treat BPD.  In addition, group therapy can help change self-destructive behaviors.

DBT was developed by a Psychology Researcher, Marsha M. Linehan, to treat BPD.  It combines cognitive-behavioral techniques for emotion regulation and reality-testing with concepts of distress tolerance, acceptance, and mindful awareness.

Mindful awareness or Mindfulness (derived from Buddhist meditative practice) can be:

  • Bringing one’s complete attention to the present experience on a moment to moment basis.
  • Paying attention in a particular way on purpose or in the present moment.
  • A non-elaborative, non-judgmental, present-centered awareness in which each thought, feeling, or sensation that arises in the attentional field is acknowledged and accepted as it is.

This involves mastering:

  1. SELF-REGULATED ATTENTION:  The self-regulation of attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience, thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment.
    A conscious awareness of one’s current thoughts, feeling and surroundings.  In doing so, skills develop to know when and how to control concentration.
  2. ORIENTATION TO EXPERIENCE:  Adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance.  Maintain an open and curious attitude.

DBT strives to have the patient view the therapist as an ally rather than an adversary, in the treatment of psychological issues.  Accordingly, in DBT the therapist aims to accept and validate the client’s feelings at any given time while nonetheless informing the client that some feelings and behaviors are maladaptive, and showing them better alternatives.

Quotes from Sources:
PubMed Health – Borderline Personality Disorder – Mindfulness – Dialectical Behavior Therapy

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