Borderline personality disorder is a serious mental health disorder that affects how a person thinks about themselves and others. To the individual, these thoughts and feelings seem appropriate and justified, but they end up causing problems in their life. The individual may have trouble managing their emotions and behaviors, and they may develop a pattern of unstable relationships.
People who have borderline personality disorder tend to have an irrational fear of being alone. Sadly, this dependence on other people, along with mood swings, impulsiveness and inappropriate anger, make them less tolerable to be around. As people push away, it confirms the person’s fear of being alone or abandoned.
While it can be difficult to live with borderline personality disorder, this condition is highly treatable. Most people benefit from a combination of talk therapy and medication. La Ventana offers specialized borderline personality treatment that includes talk therapy, stress management, neurofeedback and self-care.
Borderline Personality Disorder Affects Mostly Women
As with other mental health disorders, borderline personality is more common in women than in men. It affects roughly 2 in 100 adults. Women with borderline personality disorder often suffer from other mental health disorders as well, such as generalized anxiety disorder, substance use disorder or an eating disorder.
The cause of borderline personality disorder is not yet clear, though researchers believe a combination of factors are at play. These factors include:
- Family history. Women with a family history of borderline personality disorder may be at an increased risk for developing the disorder themselves.
- Brain chemistry. Studies show that people with borderline personality disorder may have structural changes in the brain that affect their emotional response to things. However, it’s not yet clear if these changes come before or after the diagnosis.
- Environment. Many women who have borderline personality disorder have experienced traumatic life events, such as abuse or neglect. Others have a history of unstable relationships. It’s possible these experiences put women at risk for mental illness.
Recognizing the Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder usually begins in early adulthood. It can be difficult to diagnose at first, as it’s normal for young people to be concerned about themselves and how they fit in with others. However, there are some signs and symptoms that separate the normal stuff from borderline personality disorder.
- Intense fear of abandonment
- Pattern of unstable relationships
- Impulsive and risky behavior
- Suicidal threats
- Lack of empathy
- Wide mood swings lasting a few hours to several days
- Inappropriate, intense anger
- Dysfunctional self-image
While it’s normal for people to struggle with one or more of these symptoms at times, a person with borderline personality disorder experiences them consistently. Sadly, 80 percent of people with the disorder display suicidal behaviors, including cutting or burning themselves.
Getting help for borderline personality disorder is crucial – and it can save a life.
Complications Experienced by Some Women
Whenever mental illness is present, it can cause a great deal of problems for the person, especially when left untreated. As we mentioned before, borderline personality disorder has some ironies to it.
People with this condition have an intense fear of abandonment. However, their behaviors tend to distance themselves from others. As they grow isolated, they feel their worries are warranted, and this can lead to feelings of low self-esteem, hopelessness and worthlessness. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors sometimes follow. It’s a dangerous cycle that can spiral out of control.
At La Ventana, we find that many of our clients with borderline personality disorder also struggle in the following areas:
- Constant job losses or job changes
- Not finishing an education
- Legal or financial issues
- Tumultuous relationships
- Attempted suicide or self-harm
- Impulsive behaviors that lead to unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, auto accidents and more
Effective Treatments for Borderline Personality Disorder
As challenging as it can be to live with borderline personality disorder, or have a loved one with the condition, treatment is usually effective. People with the disorder benefit from psychotherapy, lifestyle changes and medication. These are all things that La Ventana can help with.
If, at any time, we believe that a client’s safety is at risk, we will recommend hospitalization. Sometimes, people with this disorder must be placed in a hospital until they are no longer a threat to themselves.
Here is more information on what our outpatient treatment program for borderline personality disorder entails.
Also known as talk therapy, psychotherapy is helpful in treating borderline personality disorder. The goal is to help women learn to express themselves in healthy ways, while paying attention to their mood swings.
A specific form of talk therapy is dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). DBT involves talking one-on-one with a therapist, as well as with others in a group setting. The goal of DBT is to help people recognize and control their emotions in appropriate, constructive manners. As the person works through therapy, they feel accepted and valued and are able to learn new ways to behave.
Sometimes, medication is added to a treatment plan for borderline personality disorder. The medications that may be used are antidepressants, antipsychotics or mood stabilizing drugs. And, if an underlying mental health problem is present, medications may be used to treat the symptoms.
However, the doctors at La Ventana are careful to prescribe medications. We don’t want to mask symptoms or cause adverse reactions. If possible, we feel it’s best to teach our clients how to recognize their emotions and work through them in acceptable ways. Then, if medications are needed to control mood swings, we can prescribe them.
Recovery Takes Time, But it Can Start Today
Thanks to new forms of talk therapy, it’s becoming easier to treat borderline personality disorder and help people lead happy, fulfilling lives. But, it’s important to know that recovery takes time. People must learn to manage their thoughts and emotions and develop a more positive self-image. Even though healing can’t be achieved overnight, regular therapy continues to improve symptoms.
To start your recovery from borderline personality disorder, contact La Ventana today.