Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that is marked by a
chronic pattern of having unstable relationships, self-image, and moods. It is
also characterized by severe impulsivity. As with other personality disorders,
BPD usually begins by early adulthood. Similarly, to the prevalence of
schizophrenia in the population, BPD is thought to affect about 1% of the
population and 15% of patients in psychiatric hospitals. In contrast to how
often women seek treatment for schizophrenia, women tend to seek treatment for
BPD at a rate much higher than men, so the estimates on how many men suffer from
this disorder may be lower than the actual numbers.
Individuals with BPD struggle with many difficulties. For example, women with the disorder are at risk for feeling less satisfied by, and more often coerced into, sexual relationships. One in 10 people with BPD commits suicide, often either by cutting themselves or overdosing on medication. People with this disorder who attempt suicide are more likely to have a history of sexual abuse compared to the general population. Adults and children with BPD are also vulnerable to having other personality disorders like histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. In addition to those mental health problems, children with BPD seem to be specifically at risk for having several other personality disorders, including passive aggressive personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.
Although BPD has been thought by some to be a variation of bipolar disorder,
research suggests that each of these disorders is indeed distinct.
In contrast to bipolar disorder, which is classically characterized by emotions
alternating between elation and depression, BPD tends to be associated with
marked changes in mood between anxiety and anger or anxiety and depression.
Initial Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
Initial treatment depends on how bad your condition is. When borderline personality disorder is diagnosed, you most likely will begin treatment with professional counseling (psychotherapy). The first goal of therapy is to help you control destructive behaviors, especially if you are feeling suicidal or self-destructive. When you are less likely to harm yourself and you are able to function more normally, treatment will focus on managing your emotions, such as controlling feelings of anger or unhappiness.