Many who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (a condition strongly associated with a history of significant and long-lasting childhood trauma) resent the label, preferring instead to consider themselves as having complex post traumatic stress disorder (although this diagnosis has still to be formally acknowledged and is not yet included in the DSM – Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Illness) or, more recently, emotional intensity disorder.
This is largely due to the fact that many patients and clinicians consider the label borderline personality disorder to be stigmatizing, demeaning and even insulting as it seems to imply the person’s whole personality (and, perhaps, by extension, character), is fundamentally flawed, giving him/her the status of social outcast and pariah – this, of course, can only exacerbate their isolation, and illness, further. NOT HELPFUL! (Especially as it is the experience of profound rejection, often by parents and other family members, which has contributed to the illness in the first place.
Other terms have also been considered to replace the borderline personality disorder label; I list these below :
– emotionally unstable personality disorder (not much of an improvement, it has to be said!)
– emotional regulation disorder
– emotional dysregulation disorder
– impulsive personality disorder
– impulsive emotional dysregulation disorder
Emotional Problems Of Those With BPD :
So, what emotional problems do people with BPD suffer? Below, I attempt to summarize them:
– rapid and dramatic mood swings
– explosive rage and anger, even in response to (objectively speaking) minor provocations
– emotions so intense the individual experiencing them feels ‘out of control’
– incongruous emotional displays (such as crying at times that the majority of people would find ‘inappropriate’).
– experiencing of strong emotions which seem to ‘come out of nowhere.’
– suicidal impulses
– feelings of ’emptiness’
– intense psychological pain (often this leads to ‘self-medicating’ behaviour (i.e. excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol)
– extreme fear of abandonment
(The above list is not exhaustive; to read my article on borderline personality disorder, click here).
What Causes These Emotional Problems?
– imbalances in the brain of certain chemicals ; in particular, dopamine and serotonin
– further research needs to be conducted on the contribution of genes
How Common Are These Problems?
About one in every fifty people suffer from these severe emotional problems I refer to above. Also, women are about three times more likely to suffer from them than men. For most sufferers, the condition improves once the individual approaches middle-age.
Currently, one of the most effective treatments for borderline personality disorder is dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). Many sufferers also find mindfulness training and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) helpful.
Resource (click on image below for details):
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).