Low And High Functioning BPD
Those who have developed borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a consequence of their traumatic childhood experiences are, of course, individuals and act and behave in their own unique ways.
However, those who are involved in the research of BPD have made various attempts to group those suffering from this very serious disorder into various sub-categories.
In this article I will look at a sub-categorization method which places BPD sufferers into three groups/categories; these are as follows:
1) High Functioning
2) Low Functioning
3) A mixture of the above two categories
What Are The Hallmarks Of Individual BPD Sufferers In Each Of These Three Sub-categories?
These are as follows:
1) The hallmarks of low functioning BPD sufferers:
Low functioning BPD sufferers may frequently self-harm, often contemplate suicide and, sometimes, attempt suicide.
They are also likely, sometimes, to be hospitalized in a psychiatric ward, either voluntarily or under Section, as an inpatient, or, on other occasions, they may make use of the hospital’s services as an outpatient.
Often, too, low functioning BPD sufferers will have co-morbid conditions such as anorexia, bulimia and bipolar disorder (which used to be referred to as manic depression).
Also, their day-to-day functioning is likely to be significantly impaired. For example, they may find it very hard to hold down a job or even to work at all.
Low functioning BPD sufferers also tend to be highly dependent on family members for help and support to the extent that they (the BPD sufferer’s family) may experience ‘compassion fatigue’ and feel overwhelmed, unable to cope, inadequate and impotent.
2) The hallmarks of high functioning BPD sufferers:
High functioning BPD sufferers often excessively blame others for their difficulties (which is not the same as saying they are always wrong to do so) and may, too, have great difficulty suppressing intense feelings of anger (for example, they may frequently fly into fits of rage, even over things that others may regard as relatively trivial).
Often, too, they resist advice to seek psychiatric help, regarding such advice as a slur on their character and claiming that there is absolutely nothing psychologically wrong with them (often because they lack insight into their condition). As a consequence of this, they may remain unknown to psychiatric services for their entire lifetimes).
Also, they may (co-morbidly) suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and regard seeking professional help from psychiatric services ‘beneath their dignity.’
Because of their relatively high level of functioning, they may be able to hold down a job and even excel at it.
Their family members often become highly frustrated and despairing that their relative with BPD fails to acknowledge that they clearly have a psychological problem requiring professional intervention.
3) BPD Sufferers Who Suffer A Mixture Of The Above Two Sets Of Symptoms:
This is self-explanatory.
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).