BPD And Dysregulation :
We have already seen from many other articles that I have published on this site that those who have suffered severe and protracted childhood trauma are at greatly increased risk of going on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) than those who were fortunate enough to have experienced a relatively stable upbringing.
One of the main symptoms of this very serious and life-threatening condition (about ninety per cent of sufferers attempt suicide and about ten per cent die by suicide) is termed ‘DYSREGULATION.’
What Is Meant By The Term ‘Dysregulation?’
When the term DYSREGULATION is used in the psychological literature it most commonly refers to the great difficulty the BPD sufferer has controlling behavior and emotional states. However, more specifically, the dysregulation that those with BPD experience can be sub-divided into four particular types; these are :
1) EMOTIONAL DYSREGULATION
2) BEHAVIORAL DYSREGULATION
3) COGNITIVE DYSREGULATION
4) SELF DYSREGULATION
Below, I briefly define each of these four types of dysregulation :
- Emotional Dysregulation :
This type of dysregulation refers to extreme sensitivity and difficulty controlling intense emotions. Individuals suffering from this type of dissociation not only feel emotions far more deeply than the average person, but also take longer to return to their ‘baseline’ / ‘normal’ mood.
For example, a person with BPD who is emotionally dysregulated may be easily moved to intense expressions of anger and then take far longer to calm down again compared to the average person. Others may disparagingly (due to their lack of knowledge and understanding of this life-threatening – see above – and acutely, indeed uniquely, mentally painful condition) describe such an individual as extremely ‘thin’skinned’, as ‘having a chip on his/her shoulder’, ‘a drama queen’ or as or as someone who is prone to extreme ‘over-reactions.’
A leading theory as to why individuals with BPD are emotionally dysregulated is that the development of their AMYGDALA (a brain region intimately involved with how we express emotions and how we react to stress) has been damaged as a result of severe childhood trauma.
- BEHAVIORAL DYSREGULATION :
This type of dysregulation refers to the severe problems those with BPD can have controlling their behavior ; such individuals may be highly impulsive and liable to indulge in high-risk behaviors that are self-destructive. Such behaviors may include :
- COGNITIVE DYSREGULATION :
BPD sufferers are also prone to ‘black and white’ / ‘all or nothing’ type thinking, indecision, self-doubt, distrust of others and intense self-hatred.
- SELF DYSREGULATION :
This type of dysregulation refers to the weak sense of their own identity many BPD sufferers feel ( a typical BPD sufferer might express this by saying something along the lines of ‘I’ve no idea who I am‘), feelings of emptiness, and the difficulty many BPD sufferers experienced expressing their likes, dislikes, needs and feelings,
Dysregulation And Stress :
Individuals with BPD are far less able to cope with stress than the average person and dysregulation (relating to all four of the above categories) is especially likely to occur when such individuals are experiencing stress ; indeed, the greater the stress the individual is experiencing, the more dysregulated he/she is likely to become.
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David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)Click here for reuse options!
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