Studies show that 1.6% of the U.S. population has Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). This represents just over four million people, yet this figure could be even higher as many people are often misdiagnosed with conditions such as depression or bipolar disorder. It is also common for people with BPD to have other conditions or illnesses too.
What is BPD?
BPD is a mental health disorder that affects a person’s emotions, thoughts and behavior. It is characterized by an emotionally unstable personality that is prone to impulsiveness and frequent mood swings which can lead to intense feelings of fear and anger. This behavior tends to stem from an extreme fear of abandonment and can result in dysfunctional and conflict-laden relationships.
Signs and Symptoms of BPD
- Intense fear of abandonment
- Emotional instability and sudden mood swings that can last for a few days, ranging from intense happiness and love to anxiety, fear and hatred
- Intense but volatile relationships marked by extreme highs and lows ranging from idealization to dislike of the other
- Threats of suicide or self-injury, often in response to rejection or separation.
- Feelings of emptiness and non-existence
- Loss of temper and angry outbursts
- Paranoid and suspicious thoughts about people’s motives and, when under stress, loss of touch with reality
- Impulsive and risky behavior
In this article, we will explore some tips to help you or a loved one cope with BPD.
Confide in friends or family when you are struggling to cope with challenging thoughts and emotions and seek out BPD support groups in your area where you can share your experiences and concerns and gain insights and understanding from others who can relate to your situation.
Therapy can also be helpful for people with BPD. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral treatment offered by many therapy practices such as Village Counseling & Wellness Center.
DBT is recognized as the ‘gold standard’ for treating people with BPD, with studies showing that 77% of participants were no longer considered as having BPD after undergoing treatment. This highly practical form of therapy focuses on developing healthy behaviors, managing difficult emotions and improving interpersonal relationships.
Bringing more awareness to your thoughts and emotions can help you stay present without being overwhelmed by your inner state. When difficult feelings arise, practice observing them and allowing them to pass without suppressing them or identifying with them. This can help you stay in control of your emotions instead of being run by them.
Mindful breathing techniques can also help you to relax and stay in the moment when you feel challenged or under stress. Techniques such as Resonance Frequency Paced Breathing are effective for the emotional regulation of BPD sufferers.
Engage in an activity such as dancing, walking in nature or cleaning your house that will take your mind off your current state. Physical exercise such as swimming, running or yoga can also help you to stabilize your emotions and alleviate feelings such as depression and anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), just five minutes of aerobic exercise can reduce stress and anxiety and stabilize mood.
By following the suggestions in this article you can improve your symptoms of BPD and help others who may also be struggling with this disorder.