Research suggests that individuals who suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD) may have mild to moderate dysfunctions in certain areas of cognitive processing, in particular in the area of learning and memory that involves the processing of complex information.
However, such problems tend to be subtle and are therefore difficult for doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and other clinicians to detect.
Notwithstanding this difficulty of detection, brain abnormalities have shown up in EEGs of borderline personality disorder (BPD) sufferers that are consistent with the learning/memory problem hypothesis.
In particular, the difficulties in cognitive processing appear to be associated with both visual and verbal memory (including, it is currently thought, both the encoding and retrieval of information) in which complex information is involved.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Sufferers Frequently Seem Incapable Of Learning From Experience – Is This Why?
These findings have given rise to the hypothesis that these subtle problems relating to learning and memory may help to explain why those suffering from borderline personality disorder (BPD) so frequently seem to make the same mistakes over and over again, seemingly incapable of learning from their social and interpersonal experiences.
Why May These Subtle Memory And Learning Problems Exist In Borderline Personality Disotder (BPD) Sufferers?
Many people who suffer from borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience periods of dissociation ( you can read about my article on dissociation by clicking here), particularly when under severe stress, and this state is clearly likely to seriously impair their memory functioning and, it follows, their ability to learn.
Also, the majority of individuals who go on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) as adults have suffered significant childhood trauma due to abusive parenting and it is known that this can lead to damage being done to the vulnerable, highly plastic, developing physical brain (to read my article about how childhood trauma can damage the developing brain on an organic level click here).
Further, severe clinical depression frequently co-morbidly exists alongside borderline personality disorder (BPD) which itself can impair both memory and learning.
Finally, it should be noted that research into this area is still at an early stage so more research needs to be conducted in order to confirm or shred further light upon the above theories.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
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