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Borderline Personality Disorder: What is (and isn’t) it?

In our ongoing series on mental illness awareness, Mayim sheds some light on Borderline Personality Disorder
By Mayim Bialik     Published on 07/10/2017 at 9:00 AM EST

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by ongoing unstable moods and behavior which often leads to impulsive actions, and unpredictable and unhealthy relationships. It does not – as some may believe from its name – refer to someone who is “borderline” other things; it’s a diagnosis in and of itself.

Personality Disorders differ from other disorders: they are characterized by features that are typically not “easy” to diagnose and treat since they encompass a set of behaviors and ways of thinking and behaving that are ingrained deeply into a person’s personality.

Oftentimes, individuals with BPD will also have other mood disorders, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and often they will have addictions such as alcohol, drugs, sex addiction or even shopping addictions. Suicidal thinking, suicidal behaviors and suicide, and other types of risky behavior, are also not unusual in those with BPD.

People with BPD have trouble in relationships because they tend to have black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinking. They tend to think of people as either with them or against them; they often have trouble maintaining jobs or romantic or even platonic relationships. People with BPD often feel wronged and their solution is often to “cut and run,” eliminating people form their lives whom they see as problematic.

Typically, people with BPD are treated with psychotherapy (also known as “talk therapy”) or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to address the root cause of some of their problems and to learn healthy ways to redirect problematic behaviors. BPD is not a disorder that “goes away,” and people with BPD can lead productive and happy lives with the appropriate support and help. There isn’t a single pill that “cures” BPD, but medications such as SSRIs or other medications that influence serotonin tend to work well for some of the symptoms of BPD. Even though it sounds kind of scary that it doesn’t “go away,” many wonderful people with BPD have families, jobs and lives that are rewarding.

If you show any of the features of BPD and would like to learn more, here are some resources.


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