Borderline Personality Disorder Essay, Research Paper
Could you picture yourself being brought face to face with an individual who has a personality similar to a mind field? In other words where or when he/she will explode is never known. This type of personality disorder is called Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the most scariest and hidden disorders that have baffled our society as well as many health professionals for many years. The DSM IV defines borderline personality disorder as a “pervasive pattern of instability of self image, interpersonal relationships, and mood”. (Bliss, 1986) After reading the DSM IV’s definition, the true meaning of BPD still wasn’t clear. Excluding fancy words, the reality of BPD is simple-a person has a low opinion of self and a low opinion of all surrounding factors that self is forced to be involved with. Whether it’s relationships with lovers, friends, or family the perception of these facets is a negative one in the eyes of BPD patient. Although having such horrible thoughts and feelings towards loved one’s seems bad enough, the seriousness of this problem is that BPD patients don’t speak of their feelings, they keep them bottled up inside. As you know, you can stretch a rubber band pretty far, but sooner or later it’s bound to break. It’s this breaking that really brings out unbelievable rage towards self and loved one’s.
Fact or fiction? That is the main question that researchers ask when they are faced with assessing personality disorders. Mental health professionals are divided in their opinions. There are those who believe that the disorder can no longer be denied and that there are to many people suffering due to this refusal to
believe (Kluft/Foote, 1999). Researchers say that Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) has symptoms that are similar to other serious mental disorders, but for some reason these other disorders receive sympathy and service, whereas the response to BPD is minimal (Kluft/Foote, 1999). On the other hand there are those who believe that BPD is a convenience disorder. For instance a person who is facing a thirty-year prison sentence might attempt to bring trial class of offenders. In other words a person who is facing complete darkness might be forced to do whatever it takes to see some sunlight, and a BPD reenactment can be one of his alternatives (Morris-Aldridge, 1989).
Despite what other’s believe, I have realized that Borderline personality disorder is one of the most serious, confounding, and controversial of all personality disorders. It is so serious because those with this disorder are prone to explosive, violent, and sometimes suicidal behavior, and these reactions are not planned they occur unexpectedly and can be triggered by any slight situation which the BPD patient feels threatened (Ross, 1995). The reality of borderline personality disorder is a dark and scary one, but we as a society must keep our ears, eyes, and mind open to the truth of this disorders existence.
In the early 1900’s the term borderline was used to describe patients whose symptoms fell somewhere between neurosis and psychosis and had traits of many different disorders. Later down the line the term ambulatory schizophrenia was used to describe the same basic symptoms, and for many years borderline
personality was believed to be a mild type of schizophrenia (Kluft/Foote, 1999). Since those times many things have changed. For starters borderline is classified as a disorder on its own. Many studies have been done to prove this disorders existence; For instance the “New Harvard Guide to Psychiatry” which estimated that between 15% and 25% of all hospitalized psychiatric patients, as well as perhaps 4% of the general population, suffer from borderline personality disorder (Ross, 1995). What is most refreshing about these studies is that we as a society are being forced to come to the realization of this disorder’s existence.
Because many borderline characteristics such as lack of identity, impulsive behavior, extreme mood swings are a fairly normal part of growing up, it is very difficult to diagnose borderline personality disorder before the age of 16. Researchers have chosen the age of 16 because that is when more stable patterns of behavior begin to show. This disorder causes patients to be uncertain about which types of friends to chose, and what types of values to believe in. Sexual orientation, career goals, and other long-term plans are many of the confusions that borderline patients have to deal with. Borderline patients behavior usually swings from being dependent to completely being self-assertive. These mood swings usually last only a few hours and max out at no more then a few days. They can be triggered by criticism or fear of abandonment, but almost
anything can actually be the cause.
Borderliner’s exhibit behavioral dyscontrol, which means they have a very hard time restraining their impulses (Ross, 1995). Many borderlines are sexually promiscuous; have extreme shopping sprees, eating binges, and usually abuse drugs and gambling. Many of these compulsions cause other mental and physical problems, aside from the problem that exist from the borderline itself.
Stress! As with all personality disorders, stress is an important factor in behavior traits. In the case of borderline personality disorder, stress triggers dysphoria, which is a combination of anxiety, depression, and anger that can rapidly intensify. Rage can be exhibited in several ways, physical violence directed towards friends or family, self-mutilation, or actual suicide attempts. Some examples of self-mutilation are carving words in their skin, scraping sandpaper across their face, and even searing themselves. The oddest thing is that self-mutilation appears to calm the rage, and patients say that they are relieved of dysphoria by using this technique.
Another key factor of borderline personality is the fear of being alone. Most borderlines will almost do anything to insure that the people they are closest to are not abandoning them. How ironic it is that borderlines have a tendency to lash out at the people that they are so tightly clinging to. It seems that stress is the key recipe to a borderline’s outburst, then without stress does the disorder go away? No! A borderline might appear normal but in actuality it’s like a stew
brewing. Borderlines keep a lot to themselves and when it’s simply too much to handle they explode.
Borderline personality disorder is not a cold or a virus that can be cured with Tylenol. It is a disorder that stems back to early childhood stress and anxiety. It is said that a developing infant perceives his mother in two ways. On one hand, the mother is viewed as a loving, nurturing provider. On the other hand, as punishing, neglectful mother, who abandon’s her child at will. This view is called defensive splitting (Ross, 1995). Infants must learn to enjoy strong bonds with their parents, but their parents must also allow for each infant to learn independence. However when parents do not allow for this individual independence to begin developing, the anxiety and lack of identity can lead to borderline personality disorder.
Many believe that a genetic predisposition may be involved in the forming of borderline personality disorder. (Ross, 1995)It is believed so because not all children who are brought up in these unstable and healthy family lifestyles end up with this disorder. A study conducted by James F. Materson, professor of clinical psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College showed that in roughly 2% to 4% of cases, borderliners’ relatives also had this disorder(Ross, 1995). Researchers also believe that the most successful treatment for borderline personality disorder seems to be psychotherapy. How sad it is that children must be forced to live in such unstable environments and secondly then are left to battle
this internal were all alone. The “good” thing about this disorder, if we can actually say good, is that the symptoms seem to diminish with age. As children become adults they try to find a way to manage their emotional swings, it’s too bad they are forced to wait that long.
In conclusion, the research that I did in order to make sure that I was able to understand what a borderline patient really is up against was as eye opening as a when an ordinary visit to a doctor turns out to be a cancer diagnosis. As it is almost always the case most people with borderline personality disorder fail to recognize their condition and never seek professional help. They continue to remain trapped on this emotional roller coaster, feeling lost and depressed, at one moment holding on to the love of their family and friends, and at other times lashing out. If there is one thing this paper has taught me, it is that I have not even began to realize what having it bad really means.
1. Bliss, E.L. (1986). Multiple Personality, Allied Disorders, and Hypnosis.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
2. Aldridge-Morris, Ray (1989). Multiple Personality an Exercise in Deception. Lawence Erlbaum Associates Ltd. Publishers.
3. Kluft and Foote. Borderline Personality Disorder. American Journal of Psycotherapy, Vol. 53, No. 3, Summer 1999.
4. Ross A. Colin. Personality Disorders? American Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 49, p314-318, September 1995.
5. McAllsiter M, Michael. Dissociative Identity Disorder: A Literature Review. Journal of Psychiatric & Mental Health Nursing, #7, pgs 28-33.
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