Borderline Personality Disorder (Part 1 of 2)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is one of the most prevalent, complex, and misunderstood personality disorders in India and around the world. In order to better understand BPD, Aara Health has spoken with Mr. Ruhaan Joshi who is based in Delhi and specializes in personality disorders. Mr. Joshi is a mental health counsellor who works with people in group settings or individually to help manage their mental health condition. 

This article is broken up into two parts. The first part briefly explains what borderline personality disorder is and what someone with BPD experiences as a result of this disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex mental health illness that is characterized by 9 primary symptoms. These symptoms include difficulty maintaining strong and stable interpersonal relationships, fear of abandonment, tendency to self-harm, mood swings, uncontrollable anger or rage, substance abuse or addiction as a coping mechanism, psychosis, dissociation, or loss of touch with reality, and a consistently changing sense of self. The two core symptoms that exist in almost all BPD patients are difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships and a fear of abandonment. To be diagnosed with BPD, an individual needs to have at least 5 out of 9 of these symptoms. 

The likelihood of being diagnosed with BPD is also affected by a number of external factors. A history of mental illness within one’s family, for instance, may increase the chances of having BPD. Moreover, individuals who have been sexually abused or have dealt with traumatic experiences in their youth are more likely to suffer from borderline personalities. Since there are 4 sub-types of BPD with 256 different emancipations, it is definitely difficult to diagnose an individual with a borderline personality disorder, especially since it is also difficult to make a distinction between BPD and existing comorbidities such as depression or anxiety. 

The stigmatization around borderline personality disorder because of the behavioral emancipation is caused makes it increasingly difficult for people to learn more about the condition and treat it properly. A combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes can have a long-lasting impact on the lives of BPD patients. For instance, BPD may cause individuals to switch their jobs frequently because office spaces do not know how to account for mental health conditions. Unfortunately, having a stable job is precisely what can help BPD patients because it has a structure and helps increase one’s perception of oneself. 

The level of dysfunctionality helps define the level of severity per case. For instance, if one’s case is extremely severe, more likely than not, that individual will have a difficult time maintaining interpersonal relationships, a stable job, or a consistent and healthy sense of self. It is unfortunate but worth noting that several suicidal cases (or even unsuccessful attempts) are by individuals who suffer from borderline personality disorders because they do know how to handle their situation and are, therefore, unable to help themselves.

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