Personality disorders are the most misunderstood mental health and mental disorders, especially among those people who lack mental health or medical expertise. The diagnostic and statistical manual of mental health disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, recognizes ten particular personality disorders.
Another report published by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) revealed that approximately 1.6 percent of adults in the U.S. have a disorder known as borderline personality disorder (BPS).
This guide will provide you the basis for BPD, BPD symptoms and causes, and treatment options, and discuss whether online therapy for BPD works?
What is BPD?
BPD is short for Borderline personality disorder, which is a development disorder that greatly disrupts a person’s ability to control their actions, regulate their emotions, and form stable interpersonal relationships.
A borderline personality disorder is considered a severe condition in which people cannot manage their emotions. BPD mainly centers around their relationships. But this can vary from person to person. For some people, only one of their relationships is affected. For others, every relationship they have may be affected.
What causes BPD?
The exact cause of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is not fully understood, but it likely results from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors. Individuals with a family history of BPD or other mood disorders may be at a higher risk. Early life experiences, such as trauma, neglect, or invalidation, can also contribute to the development of BPD.
Neurobiological factors involving disruptions in brain function and emotional regulation may play a role. BPD is a complex condition with multiple contributing factors, making its origins multifaceted and not attributable to a single cause.
Do I Have Bipolar Disorder or BPD?
Determining whether you have Bipolar Disorder (BD) or Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be challenging, as both conditions share some overlapping symptoms, such as mood swings and impulsivity. BD involves distinct episodes of mania and depression, while BPD is characterized by unstable relationships and self-identity. Consulting a mental health professional is crucial for an accurate diagnosis.
They will conduct a thorough evaluation, considering your medical history, symptoms, and life experiences. Accurate diagnosis is essential because treatment approaches differ significantly for each condition. Seeking professional help will ensure you receive the proper treatment and the most appropriate care and support tailored to your specific needs.
What are the symptoms of BPD?
If you’re not sure if you have BPD or not, you can quickly check yourself for the nine symptoms of BPD below:
- Severe mood swings: volatile emotions and mood swings are one of the major signs of BPD. People with BPD quickly go from feeling happy to awful in minutes. Most people either ignore or don’t notice trivial issues, which may cause someone with BPD to go into extreme emotional states. While these swings in moods and emotions may be severe, they can also go away in only a few minutes.
- Paranoia and feeling ‘out of it.’: it is pretty common for people with BPD to deal with a high sense of suspicion of others, whether logical or not. It is also not uncommon for them to lose touch with reality. This condition is known as dissociation. It will generally cause a feeling of being confused, tired, low on energy, and generally out of it.
- The fear of abandonment: another common symptom of BPD is the constant fear of being alone. Little things like staying somewhere later than expected or someone not arriving on time could cause very fearful thoughts and emotions. This will often cause the people with PBD to do anything they can to keep someone close by, and they may even plead, argue, bargain, and even try to force others to stay with them. This extreme level of paranoia and dependency often pushes people further away.
- Constantly changing self-image: People with BPD will usually have a wavering and unstable sense of how they feel about themselves. They might feel great about themselves one day yet despise themselves the next. Most often, people suffering from BPD will not have a clear picture of who they are or where they want to go in life. This will usually cause people to frequently change relationships, go from friend to friend, switch religions, and even change more significant aspects of their personalities several times.
- Constant empty feelings: People with BPD often have a persistent feeling of emptiness that never seems to go away. These feelings can make a person feel like they’re worthless or that their life is pointless. People then try to get away from these feelings by overindulging in alcohol, sex, food, and other addictive behavior.
- Relationship problems: a very common issue for people with BPD is their constant relationship issues. Their relationships have more ups and downs than a roller coaster. For people with BPD, not only lots of intense emotions are there in their relationships, but they also tend to be short-lived as well. And this is a repeating pattern, as they will go from relationship to relationship, with a hope that each new person will be the one to save them from themselves.
- Self-destructive behavior: People with BPD mostly engage in self-destructive behavior, often to “feel something.” This can include alcohol and drugs, overeating, having unprotected sex, or other dangerous activities. Like with their other attempts, self-destructive behaviors are another way to get away from their negative thoughts and feelings.
- Extremely short temper: people with BPD struggle with severe anger issues and have a very short temper. They are even described as being “ready to blow at any minute.” Unfortunately, this extreme anger may also be accompanied by shouting, irrationality, and even violence.
- Self-harm/ suicidal behavior: lastly, people with BPD will engage in burning, cutting, or other self-inflicted harm. This self-harm isn’t only common in relation to BPD, but it may even lead to suicidal behavior. This may include suicidal attempts or threats.
Treatment options for BPD
Your mental health professional may recommend the following treatment options the treat mental health conditions, which include:
The primary treatment of mental health conditions for BPD is Psychotherapy. In addition, mental health professionals may recommend one of the following types:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Schema focused therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you identify and change unhealthy behaviors, beliefs, and inaccurate perceptions you may have about yourself or others. For example, it helps you with several healthy ways to react when you feel insecure, angry, anxious, or suicidal.
DBT teaches you how you can recognize, be aware of, and accept your beliefs and behaviors.
Lastly, Schema focused therapy helps you to view yourself and the world more positively.
Although BPD treatment doesn’t cure BPD, it can relieve your symptoms. Therefore, your doctor may sometimes prescribe medication in addition to psychotherapy treatment
Does online therapy work for BPD?
Online therapy is rapidly growing with each passing day. That’s why there are more and more online platforms and sites available than ever before. Not only is online counseling more convenient and cost-effective – signs are now starting to show it is even more effective as compared to in-person treatment.
Therapies used to treat CBD are offered by many online counseling sites and platforms. Therefore, one can easily access it. Online therapy is not only less expensive than in-person therapy, but you can also receive treatment from the comfort of your home. Other than that, you can talk to face to face with your therapist any time of the day, making it much more convenient as it’s based on your schedule.
Online therapy is also much more private, as therapists are only given the information that they need. You will receive treatment from only licensed professional therapists.
Pros of Online Therapy for BPD
Online psychotherapy offers several advantages over in-person therapy:
- Convenience: Access therapy from anywhere at any time, providing flexibility and comfort. Sessions can be attended from home or on-the-go through mobile devices.
- Anonymity: Online therapy provides a level of privacy, making it more comfortable for some individuals to open up about their issues.
- Affordability: Many online therapists offer cost-effective options, including sliding scale fees and insurance acceptance, reducing financial barriers to treatment.
- Specialization: You can find online therapists who specialize in addressing your specific type of condition, such as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).
- Insurance Coverage: Insurance companies increasingly cover mental health services. Check with your provider to explore your specific coverage and rates for online therapy.
Regardless of any online counseling platform or site, you try, keep in mind that it still takes time. Just like other counseling methods, online therapy isn’t an overnight cure. Some people even try out more than one platform and see which one best fits their individual needs.
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