Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by low self-esteem, relationship instability and fears of abandonment or being alone. If symptoms like these affect your life, they may leave you wondering why you have trouble maintaining stable, healthy relationships or what causes you to push others away with your unpredictable behavior.
Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder
The term “borderline” may be misleading, so the first thing to know is that the earliest people to identify and name this mental illness believed people with unstable personalities stood on the threshold of developing more severe conditions like neuroses or schizophrenia.
The classic BPD traits make it fit within the definition of a personality disorder because they affect your self-esteem, emotions, behavior and relationship patterns. BPD can be challenging to live with, but a therapist can give you tools to manage your symptoms and achieve a more even keel.
Do You Have BPD?
While you’ll need to see your general practitioner or a mental health professional to receive an official diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, you may have BPD if you have the following traits:
- A distorted, shifting sense of self
- Persistent feelings of emptiness
- Engaging in irresponsible behavior like self-harm, binge eating or drug abuse in an attempt to fill the void
- Going to great lengths to avoid being alone
- Unstable relationships
- Erratic mood swings, including bursts of irrational anger
- Co-occurring mood disorders such as anxiety and depression
- Poor decision-making skills
BPD Causes and Risk Factors
Mental illnesses are complicated, typically stemming from multiple causes instead of having one readily identifiable source. You may be at an increased risk for BPD due to variables like these.
- Adverse childhood experiences: ACEs like trauma, abuse, neglect and poverty can all follow you throughout your lifetime, making you more likely to develop chronic diseases and struggle with behavioral challenges.
- Heredity: Some evidence suggests mental health has a genetic component. If a close relative had BPD or a similar disorder, you could be more likely to develop one as well.
- Differences in brain chemistry: While it may be too simplistic to attribute BPD and other issues entirely to brain chemistry, some people with BPD may have increased or decreased activity in areas involved in emotional regulation, impulsivity and aggression.
- Dual diagnosis: Conditions like PTSD, depression and substance use disorders may coincide with borderline personality disorder.
BPD Treatment Strategies
If you have borderline personality disorder, the first thing to do is to recognize you have a genuine mental health condition, and you can’t expect it will resolve on its own. While there is no cure, a professional therapist can equip you with BPD coping strategies to help you regain your quality of life.
For people with co-occurring BPD and substance use disorders, treating both issues simultaneously is crucial to fully address the root causes of both challenges. At Pillars Recovery, we offer accredited dual-diagnosis treatment for young men and women in Orange County, California. Our professionals will develop a customized plan that includes several recovery options, from medication-assisted detoxification to residential treatment and aftercare. When you are ready to accept help, reach out to us today.