What is Borderline personality Disorder?
Straight from Wikipedia:
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a psychiatric diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV Personality Disorders 301.83) that describes a prolonged disturbance of personality function characterized by depth and variability of moods. The disorder typically involves unusual levels of instability in mood; "black and white" thinking, or "splitting"; chaotic and unstable interpersonal relationships, self-image, identity, and behavior; as well as a disturbance in the individual's sense of self. In extreme cases, this disturbance in the sense of self can lead to periods of dissociation. These disturbances can have a pervasive negative impact on many or all of the psychosocial facets of life. This includes difficulties maintaining relationships in work, home and social settings. Attempted suicide and completed suicide are possible outcomes, especially without proper care and effective therapy.
Onset of symptoms typically occurs during adolescence or young adulthood. Symptoms may persist for several years, but the majority of symptoms lessen in severity over time, with some individuals fully recovering. The mainstay of treatment is various forms of psychotherapy, although medication and other approaches may also improve symptoms. While borderline personality disorder can manifest itself in children and teenagers, therapists are discouraged from diagnosing anyone before the age of 18, due to adolescence and a still-developing personality.
There are some instances when BPD can be evident and diagnosed before the age of 18. The DSM-IV states: “To diagnose a personality disorder in an individual under 18 years, the features must have been present for at least 1 year.” In other words, it is possible to diagnose borderline personality disorder in children and teens, but only if the symptoms have been present, continuously, for over a year.
There is some evidence that BPD diagnosed in adolescence is consistent in adulthood. It is possible that the diagnosis, if applicable, would be helpful in creating a more effective treatment plan for the child or teen.
As with other mental disorders, the causes of BPD are complex and unknown. One finding is a history of childhood trauma (possibly child sexual abuse), although researchers have suggested diverse possible causes, such as a genetic predisposition, neurobiological factors, environmental factors, or brain abnormalities. The prevalence of BPD in the United States has been calculated as 1 percent to 3 percent of the adult population, with approximately 75 percent of those diagnosed being female. It has been found to account for 20 percent of psychiatric hospitalizations. Common comorbid (co-occurring) conditions are mental disorders such as substance abuse, depression and other mood, and personality disorders. BPD is one of four diagnoses classified as "cluster B" ("dramatic-erratic") personality disorders typified by disturbances in impulse control and emotional dysregulation, the others being narcissistic, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders.
The term borderline, although it was used in this context as early as the 17th century, was employed by Adolph Stern in 1938 to describe a condition as being on the borderline between neurosis and psychosis. Because the term no longer reflects current thinking, there is an ongoing debate concerning whether this disorder should be renamed. There is related concern that the diagnosis stigmatizes people, usually women, and supports pejorative and discriminatory practices.
People suffering from borderline personality disorder and their families often feel the hardships are compounded by a lack of clear diagnoses, effective treatments, and accurate information. At their request, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously declared the month of May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month (H. Res. 1005, 4/1/08), citing BPD’s "prevalence, enormous public health costs, and ... devastating toll on individuals, families, and communities."
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