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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a chronic mental health disorder that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The term “borderline” was initially coined because psychiatrists believed that its symptoms hovered on the border between psychosis and neurosis. BPD is characterized by “a pervasive pattern of instability and hypersensitivity in interpersonal relationships, instability in self-image, extreme mood fluctuations, and impulsivity…often [causing one to] struggle with relationship issues, lack self-esteem, have a poor self-image, and have an inability to appropriately self-regulate.” BPD typically develops in early adulthood, often with more severe symptoms occurring in the early stages of onset. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) estimates that 1.4% of the adult population in America experience BPD.

Signs and Symptoms

For diagnostic purposes, the DSM-5 list nine primary symptoms for borderline personality disorder. Five of the nine must be detected before a mental health professional can make a diagnosis of BPD, although it is common for sufferers to demonstrate more than five. The nine symptoms are:

  1. Strong, largely irrational fears of abandonment accompanied by frantic, desperate efforts to avoid it.
  2. In the context of relationships, alternating periods of idealization (intense love and admiration) and devaluation (feelings of revulsion and disillusionment).
  3. Persistently unstable self-image and sense of identity.
  4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that can cause damage to self or others (e.g., reckless spending, substance abuse, binge eating, compulsive gambling, unsafe driving, etc.).
  5. Episodes of acute emotional disquiet (irritability, anxiety, or anguish) that last for hours or days.
  6. Chronic feelings of emptiness, meaninglessness, and low motivation.
  7. Explosive, intense bursts of uncontrollable anger.
  8. Outbreaks of dissociative symptoms marked by extreme paranoia, suspicion, and a disconnection from reality.
  9. Suicidal threats and actions and self-harming behavior (e.g., cutting, burning, pulling out hair, scratching the skin until it bleeds, etc.).

BPD is notorious for being an incredibly challenging mental health disorder to both diagnose and treat. This is partly because BPD symptoms often mimic those of other mental health disorders (e.g., histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar disorder, etc.). Further, recognizing signs of BPD can be challenging because the symptoms can vary widely between individuals and those with BPD may have periods of normalcy which can further mask its presence. Therefore, the only way to truly know whether someone has borderline personality disorder is to undergo a comprehensive evaluation that is conducted by one or more qualified mental health professionals. 

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

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