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The Reality of Borderline Personality Disorder


Diagnosis Criteria for BPD

Below are the diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder. This information can be read in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image and affects, marked impulsivity beginning in early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts as indicated by 5 or more of the following:

1- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

2- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by altering between extremes of idealization and devaluation

3- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self image or sense of self.

4- Impulsivity in at least 2 areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)

5- Recurrent sucidal behavior, gestures or threats, or self-mutiliating behavior

6- Affectice instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g intense episodic dysphoria, irratibility or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

7- Chronic feelings of emptiness

8- Innapropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g freuqent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

9- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms


Both Myths and Facts about BPD

As the disorder is highly stigmatized with many misconceptions, there are solid facts about the disorder, as well as myths that ruin the chances of BPD patients of getting successfully treated.


- 10% of people with BPD commit suicide

- Heritability of the disorder is estimated to be around 68%

- BPD is implicated in 17% of prisons

- Over 50% of those with BPD are impaired in employability

- The U.S house of representatives unanimously passed House Resolution 1005 on April 1st, 2008 making May the designated Borderline Personality Disorder awareness month

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- Having BPD is a choice

- People with BPD do not help themselves

- BPD behavior is attention seeking

- BPD is untreatable

- BPD is rare

- Bad parenting causes BPD

- BPD only affects women

see how there are more myths than facts? yeah BPD is way more misunderstood than we think. BPD is not rare, hundreds of thousands of people are diagnosed yearly, treatment options are limited but it's possible. Nobody would ask for this disorder, the behavior it causes individuals to have is regrettable and painful.

The Stigma of BPD

There is stigma around almost every mental health condition, however BPD stands as the most negatively stigmatized disorder. It's so stigmatized to where mental health professionals turn down BPD patients, and limit how many patients they are willing to see. For the professionals that do treat BPD, they often treat them without the proper qualifications and training, this lack of understanding makes session unbearable for patients. BPD patients leave these sessions feeling misunderstood and unheard, this may make them want to stop seeking help. BPD patients are frequently labeled as "treatment resistant" and are dropped as patients. This label often leads the stigma to get worse, making people with undiagnosed and diagnosed BPD not want to get help because they feel like nobody can understand them, or seen as a burden or struggle to treat. This stigma can intensify symptoms and make their condition even worse than when they started wanting treatment. Clinicians seem to view people with BPD in three different ways. They're viewed as fearful, irresponsible and helpless, fearful as in more prone to violence and dangerous activity, irresponsible as in not wanting to get help and are lazy and helpless as in childlike, not being able to make their own choices.

Thankfully, there are workshops now that were created to help improve mental health professionals attitudes towards BPD patients. The workshops educate and correct misconceptions of the disorder, teach new skills that promote positive behavior and attitudes with treatment outcomes and encourage deeper understandings of the disorder by learning stories of people who struggle with the disorder. DBT and a three hour workshop on BPD helped reduce the stigma and create empathy towards patients. Another program called STEPPS (Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving) improved clinicians attitude towards their patience and it increased their willingness to work with them

Additional Symptoms Undisclosed

People with BPD suffer from far more symptoms that are on the surface of knowledge. As an individual that suffers from BPD and has been diagnosed for the past few months, these are a few symptoms I have personally experienced that aren't included in the DSM and fall under the radar.

  • Physical pain due to emotional status- When dealing with a stressful situation, the body falls to pain and headaches, stomachaches and chest pains occur.
  • Odd eating patterns- Feeling guilty after eating small snacks, before or after. Not wanting to eat, or wanting to eat too much.
  • Selfishness- Not being able to care about others in the right way because of my mind only focusing on my own needs and wants. This strains relationships constantly, making fears of abandonment even worse
  • Childlike Behavior- having small temper tantrums when little things happen, throwing things, ignoring people, crying at every inconvenience, etc.

There are many more to list but these are just a few. Individuals with BPD may struggle with those mentioned and even more unmentioned, everyone with BPD experiences different symptom combinations, as there is over 256 of them

additional facts and stats about BPD

additional facts and stats about BPD

Celebrities with BPD

BPD isn't as rare and unseen as we may think. Celebrities and famous people suffer with it all across the world like

1- Pete Davidson- In a happy relationship, he has openly talked about his mental illness and said "just because someone has a mental illness does not mean they can’t be happy, and in a relationship”. 100% agree

2- Doug Ferrari- A Sans-Francisco comedian and writer commonly known as "Dougzilla". Doug struggled with mental illness and substance abuse, leading him to become homeless. He says his BPD diagnosis was a reason for his homelessness now he raises money for the homeless.

3- Amy Winehouse- Although she did not have a BPD diagnosis before she passed away, she showed a lot of symptoms such as self-injury, hostile relationships, impulsivity, substance abuse, etc.

4- Britney Spears- Another celeb that doesn't have a diagnosis, she also shows a lot of signs and symptoms of the disorder such as mood swings, reckless behavior, substance abuse and disordered eating

5- Jim Carrey- He struggled with BPD and manic depression without substance abuse. He was reported to hospitals for his laughter and humor, and had to fight his BPD raw, meaning he used no drugs or substances since he was apart of movies.

You're not alone, even though it definitely feels like it

Conclusive Statement

This is not all needed to know about BPD. There is still so much more to uncover that I can cover in another article if wanted!. You're not alone, if you struggle with some of these symptoms or feel in anyway mentioned, please reach out. If you have personal questions you may dm me on twitter anytime, my twitter is on my profile but if you don't want to check it is @cortneyyy3. By the way! for anyone struggling with BPD and feel like they aren't getting as much help as they need, I recommend a few workbooks for DBT and BPD in general. These books have high-ratings and have amazing reviews. Please check them out if you find yourself stuck at any point in life. Check out my other articles about mental health, I have one about anxiety and dissociative disorders!, those are old and may be outdated so please leave a comment if any information is no longer approved valid and I will update them. Comment for any other mental illness articles or psychological views as well. Thank you for reading!

Suicide Hotline: 800-273-8255

NAMI hotline (questions about BPD): 800-950-NAMI (6264)

Bpd Workbook

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2021 Cortney Crowell

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