For years, there was an irrational stigma around mental illness because it was something we didn’t fully understand. But as the experts began to study certain diagnoses like borderline personality disorder, for example, more than a few key details were revealed. Now, it’s much clearer how BPD affects those who have it, and there are several therapies that have been designed to help.
So, how do you know when it’s time to seek therapy for a borderline personality diagnosis? Better yet, how do you know whether you even have it or not? A licensed mental health professional is the only one who can give an accurate assessment, but you can start at Mind Diagnostics to check your symptoms.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a borderline personality often underlies instability in life, work, and relationships. It’s commonly associated with irrational behaviors, severe mood swings, and frequent risk-taking or self-destructive behaviors. Moreover, people with BPD typically report feeling empty, insecure, fearful of abandonment, or paranoid as well.
This chronic mental illness isn’t fully understood yet, but all diagnoses are based on the reported symptoms whether through direct communication or via focused talk therapy. Meanwhile, the disorder has no known cure, although there are many effective coping mechanisms and prescription medications that may help.
The 5 most common symptoms of BPD
Determining whether you need therapy for borderline personality disorder requires some knowledge of the most common symptoms. So, compare this list with your average week. If you can relate to more than two of the following traits, seek help as soon as possible:
#1. Uncertainty About Your Role in the World
You may frequently feel uncertain about where you stand in life, love, and at work. Thus, your interests often change rapidly. Sometimes that even happens when you least expect it, with no known triggers to set it off.
NOTE: This can lead to a general sense of discontent.
#2. Viewing Things in Extremes
Things are either all good or all bad, and it’s like that almost all the time. Therefore, your opinions and perspectives shift suddenly, especially when it comes to individuals whom you perceive as dishonest or traitorous.
NOTE: This can lead to extremely unstable relationships.
#3. Efforts to Avoid Abandonment
Out of the fear that someone might ghost you at any minute, you make great efforts to avoid real intimacy with others. That, in turn, may cause you to become promiscuous or less patient about physical or emotional contact.
NOTE: This can lead to prematurely cutting off communication with others.
#4. Incessant Feelings of Emptiness
The sense of emptiness seldom goes away, making you highly susceptible to risky behaviors and/or self-harm. Many times, it makes you feel restless and unsatisfied. On bad days, you get extremely depressed because of it.
NOTE: This can lead to recurring negative thoughts and compulsions.
#5. Difficulty Trusting Others
You may find it nearly impossible to completely trust what others say, think, do, or intend. That’s sometimes true even if they give you no reason to think otherwise. Moreover, you might even start to get a little paranoid of other people’s motives.
NOTE: This can lead to an unstable or distorted self-image.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the many symptoms associated with BPD. Meanwhile, not all people with the disorder will experience all of these symptoms. So, take an assessment and talk to a licensed mental health professional for a better understanding.
Top 3 therapies for borderline personality disorder
There are at least three distinct therapeutic approaches to treating borderline personality disorder and/or its symptoms. Here’s a brief overview of each:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This option focuses on uncovering and rewriting the various cognitive distortions which affect a person’s demeanor and behavior.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
DBT was originally designed to treat BPD especially, and it works to correct the mood disorders underlying a person’s perceptions.
Psychotherapy (Talk Therapy)
As one of the most basic forms of therapy, this option lets patients share a stream of consciousness to catch thinking errors and process thoughts or emotions with a therapist.
All three therapies are effective treatments for borderline personality disorder and may even be used in conjunction with one another if your therapist thinks it will help.
What to expect in therapy for BPD
BPD therapy isn’t invasive at all. In fact, it’s a gentle mental coaxing which rewires your brain one faulty synapse at a time. Like a computer defrag, a counselor will determine the most prevalent issues and then work to “clean up” your brain through simple exercises. Depending on the type of therapy you get, different formulas and outcomes may be achieved.
When to get help for borderline personality disorder
Seek help for BPD when the symptoms begin disrupting your life or causing you great distress. It’s not okay to suffer alone, especially when you don’t have to. Plus, the stigma surrounding mental illness is disappearing fast. So, don’t hesitate to reach out if your borderline personality symptoms become too much to handle or if you’re unsure what’s causing mental/emotional pain.