Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, avoidant personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder are all well-known, but there is one disorder that is more common than people realize. Dr. Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, psychologist with years of focus on trauma and trauma-like conditions, states that 1.6% of the U.S. population has borderline personality disorder (BPD). While this number may seem miniscule, it equates to more than 4 million people. The National Institute on Mental Health describes BPD as a “serious mental disorder marked by a pattern of ongoing instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning.”
Melody McCloud, M.D., told Psychology Today that BPD is more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, and that 20% of inpatients admitted to hospitals have BPD. Fox News has identified several symptoms of BPD: low self-esteem, avoiding thinking about the future, difficulty empathizing, chaotic relationships, overwhelming anxiety, constant fear of abandonment, depression, frequent mood swings, uncontrollable anger, inability to control actions, risk taking, suicidal thoughts, and more. Individuals with BPD may fear being abandoned or may become easily upset over minor separations with those they love, such as small vacations, business trips, or other sudden changes in plans.
While there are no known causes of BPD, several potential causes as shown by research are genetics, environmental and social factors, and brain factors. BPD is about 5 times more likely to occur if a close family member has it as well. Individuals with BPD often have experienced traumatic events during childhood, and others may have been exposed to hostile or unstable relationships. Previous studies have also shown that people with BPD have different structural and functional changes in the brain, but more research is needed on this matter.
Psych Central notes that treatment for BPD often involves psychotherapy, a one-on-one therapy where individuals can learn more about their disorder and symptoms, along with tools to better cope with those symptoms and manage daily activities. Hospitalization and medications may be required for those who are suicidal or having a very hard time managing daily tasks.
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