Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a mental health condition where an individual struggles significantly with emotional regulation, unstable relationships, a fragile sense of self and sometimes bouts of impulsivity. People with borderline personality disorder struggle primarily with their unstable mood which negatively impacts relationships they form.

Symptoms

  • Intense and unstable emotions, including fear of abandonment, anger, or emptiness.
  • Behavior aimed at avoiding abandoment
  • Impulsive behaviors (e.g. spending, sex, substance abuse, binge eating, reckless driving) self-harm, or suicidal ideation.
  • Inappropriate extreme anger (e.g. temper tantrums, physical attacks or fights)
  • Unstable self-image, identity disturbances, and a chronic sense of emptiness.
  • Unstable interpersonal relationships that move between extremes of admiration and devaluation.

Causes

The exact causes are not fully understood, but a combination of these may contribute to the disorder

  • Genetic, neurobiological, and environmental factors may contribute.
  • Childhood trauma, neglect, or invalidation may increase the risk of developing BPD.

Types

  • Impulsive BPD (Impulsive behaviors like self-harm, substance abuse, or reckless actions).
  • Quiet BPD (Internalized emotional turmoil, self-directed anger, and self-isolation).

Treatment

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication (mood stabilizers, antidepressants or antipsychotics)
  • Lifestyle changes

African Context

Borderline personality disorder is not a commonly known psychological disorder. In some parts of Africa, people with this disorder are sometimes called “some way” or “crazy” or “bad tempered”.  Because of this they often do not get the help that they need. It is important to note that they need empathy, compassion and professional help. So, if you or anyone you know is or may be struggling with an anxiety disorder or any other mental health challenge, you can reach out to a professional here.

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