A Study Into The Terrible Mental Pain Experienced By BPD SUfferers.

A large majority of borderline personality disorder (BPD) suffer at least one episode of major depression during their lifetime. However, does the kind of mental pain experienced by those with suffering from BPD and depressive disorder differ from the kind of mental pain experienced by those suffering from depressive disorder only (i.e. without co-existing BPD)? A study conducted by Fertuck et al. (2016) set out to answer this question. The question is of particular interest as BPD is regarded by many to be the most excruciatingly agonizing of all psychiatric conditions (see my previously published article Severe Mental Pain And Anguish: BPD And Argopsychalia).

The study included 57 individuals who were suffering from BPD and 22 who were suffering from depressive disorder.

The researchers defined mental pain as including:

  • chronic aversive emotions
  • a negative self-concept
  • a sense of pervasive helplessness

Mental Pain Measured By The Orbach And Mikulincer Mental Pain Scale (OMMP):

The researchers used the OMMP scale to measure the level of mental pain experienced by the two groups. The scale includes nine subtypes which are as follows:

Of these nine mental pain subtypes, the borderline personality disorder (BPD) group significantly differed from the depressive disorder (DD) group on only one: NARCISSISTIC WOUNDS (the BPD group scored significantly HIGHER than the DD group.

What Is Meant By The Term ‘Narcissistic Wounds’?

The authors of the study described ‘narcissistic wounds’ as being: ‘characterized by feeling rejected and having low self-worth.’ In relation to this, you may wish to read my previously published article: WHY REJECTION IS SO PAINFUL: AN EVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATION.

What Else?

The authors of the study also draw attention to research conducted by Yoshimatu and Palmer that suggests depression in individuals with BPD is more chronic than depression that occurs in the absence of BPD and that it tends to be relatively unresponsive to treatment prior to the alleviation of the individual’s symptoms of BPD.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)