Today, around 1 in 6 people suffer from various mental illnesses worldwide. Among that, around 10 million people in India suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is a chronic disease that could last for a lifetime.
Borderline Personality Disorder has been historically viewed as difficult to treat. An appropriate treatment has not been developed yet. However, in the last few years, new treatments have been discovered.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) patients often describe their life as a rollercoaster wherein they cannot control their own emotions and lose their self-identity. BPD has 7 main symptoms.
Fear of Abandonment
BPD patients often fear being left alone. Due to this, they are termed as ‘clingy’ and ‘co-dependent’. In fact, these trigger various insecurities in them such as feeling jealous, overthinking or making up scenarios. However, this ‘clingy’ behaviour drives people away.
People with BPD are good at bonding with people and being empathetic. However, these are short-lived. They often end up having rapid mood swings due to small triggers, which causes people around them to feel like ‘punching bags’.
Impulsive and Self-Destructive Behavior
BPD patients may resort to sensation-seeking actions when they are upset. They may even do things that help them feel better temporarily but hurt them in the long run. For example, drug overdose, having unprotected sex, driving rashly, etc.
For BPD victims, there’s no grey: the world is black or white. People are either filled with appreciation for themselves or end up feeling low and resorting to self-loathing.
BPD victims may resort to self-harm, especially when they are feeling low. A lot of them tend to think that physical pain is better than what they are going through emotionally. They feel that physical ‘pain’ would divert them from the thing’s going on in their head. Their actions may even include talking about suicide or resorting to suicide when ‘they can’t take it anymore’.
Chronic Feelings of Emptiness
BPD patients often emphasize feeling lonely or ‘empty’. These people are generally lonely, left to their own devices. Hence, they focus on materialistic and harmful things.
Lost Touch with Reality
A lot of people tend to fail to understand BPD patients as they often talk about things that are not ‘real’. They make up scenarios in their heads and believe them to be true. It is a major trigger as to their impulsive acts.
BPD causes have not been accurately determined still. However, researchers have stated that it can be caused by various internal biological factors. . For instance, BPD is rampant in children from distorted and abusive homes.
Furthermore, other disorders tend to accompany BPD. It is often accompanied by substance abuse, anxiety disorder, depression, eating disorders, or bipolar disorders. BPD treatments tend to better the accompanying disorders. However, the reverse is not always true. One may successfully treat symptoms of anxiety disorder and still struggle with BPD.
It is not possible to diagnose yourself or your close ones with BPD. In any case, it is important to take help from a professional if you notice symptoms. A few years ago, treatment of BPD was very difficult but now an experienced professional will be familiar with BPD therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Schema-Focused Therapy.
It is crucial for the person to be ready to ‘feel things’. BPD patients should work on their interpersonal skills instead of isolating themselves when they feel ‘people are toxic’. Often, they don’t see things from others’ perspectives and only focus on the negatives. This must not prevail.
Although BPD is a very chronic mental illness, it’s important for BPD patients to realize that they are not alone even if they feel so. With the right treatment and right emotional support from the community, they can get better. Till then, hang in there and stay strong!