What is BPD?
Borderline Personality disorder or BPD is characterized by a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, and self-image. Those with BPD may find themselves struggling with;
- impulse control, particularly as that relates to things like sex, eating, spending etc.
- consistently feeling anxious about abandonment
- suicidal ideation and behaviour
- intense and inappropriate anger
- an unstable sense of self
- dissociative symptoms, and
- chronic feelings of emptiness
Emotional regulation is more of a challenge for people with BPD because feeling everything very intensely makes it very hard to manage things, especially relationships with others. If you feel you have BPD I would definitely suggest reaching out to a therapist or other mental health professional – optimally this should be someone familiar with Dialectical Behaviour Therapy.
I have written more on the differences between BPD and c-PTSD here, but suffice to say, BPD is unlike PTSD where we can trace the origins of the mental/emotional health issues back to a particular incident or set of incidents. BPD isn’t quite like this but we do have an idea of what factors may contribute to someone developing BPD. These are:
Research shows that if you have a first degree relative (like sibling or parent) with BPD you are 10 times more likely than the general population to have BPD yourself. This may seem inconclusive because of course we are likely to live with those relatives so how can we possibly know if genetics play that much of a part in the development of our BPD. But there are also twin studies that have determined that 42-69 percent of BPD presentation is related or caused by genes, and the remaining 58-31 percent of our BPD is caused by something else.
2. Brain Structure.
Some studies on those with BPD have found that the parts of our brain (The Limbic System) that are responsible for emotion regulation, impulsivity, and aggression are different than those without BPD, and that dopamine and serotonin (the emotion regulation chemicals) do not work optimally in the brains of those with BPD.
3. Trauma or a stressful childhood.
I know I began by saying we cannot always trace the origins of BPD back to a traumatic event, and that is was differentiates it in large part from PTSD but there is a strong correlation between growing up in an abusive, very stressful, or neglectful home and developing BPD.
If you feel you have BPD please do reach out to a mental health professional in your area, or online, who can help you learn some really effective tools.