In 2008, a motion was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to designate May as Borderline Personality Disorder Month. Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as BPD) is one of the lesser known mental illnesses, thought to only affect 5.9% of Americans. While this number may seem small, this translates to 14 million people in the U.S. who are living with BPD. People with Borderline may seem perfectly fine on the outside, but their strong emotions often make them feel as if they are on a constant roller coaster.
The Nine Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder
How exactly is Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosed? A person with this disorder typically suffers between five and all of the following:
- Intense bouts of depression and anxiety, which can last from a few hours to days at a time
- A distorted or uncertain view of one's self or self worth
- Feeling alone or empty
- Fits of intense anger
- Increased feelings of dissociation or paranoia
- Inability to maintain stable relationships
- Fear of being abandoned
- Being wildly impulsive
- Tendencies of being suicidal or engaging in self harm
BPD can be hard to diagnose due to its co-morbidity with other mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar. Additionally, because the signs of Borderline Personality Disorder often begin during adolescence, they can be overlooked as typical teenage angst. People with BPD often feel misunderstood and unloved, and will refuse to seek out treatment for fear of being "unworthy" of help.
The Perfect Storm: BPD and Addiction
Due to their intense mood swings and self-injurious tendencies, people living with Borderline Personality Disorder often feel the need to act on their impulses in dangerous ways. This often leads to becoming caught up in drugs or alcohol; according to a recent study, 50% of those with BPD reported dealing with substance abuse. One impulse can quickly lead to a dangerous cycle of addiction: a person with BPD may feel that they don't deserve treatment, and thus fall deeper into their habits. For their safety, it's important that impulses towards substance abuse are addressed as early as possible.
The good news is that living with Borderline Personality Disorder and overcoming substance abuse can be made manageable with therapy and the support of family and friends. If you are in need of treatment for yourself or a loved one, call us today for a kind and judgment-free consultation.