Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder Overview
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 in early adulthood. Similar 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 with BPD also might have 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.
There are a lot of similarities between BPD an posttraumatic stress disorders (PTSD), leading to a belief that BPD might be an actual form of PTSD.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/23/2014
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