I am a Jesuit priest of the New England Province who serves as pastor of the English speaking Latin-rite Catholics in Jordan, of the Jerusalem diocese. I lived in Australia and New Zealand, then directed retreats at Eastern Point in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Jordan.
Friday, October 16, 2015
Borderline Personality Disorder
I came across an article that referred me to this one. I think of those people who experience road rage and other emotional outbursts.
From the National Institute of Health website: www.nimh.nih.gov
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness marked by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. In 1980, theDiagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, Third Edition(DSM-III) listed BPD as a diagnosable illness for the first time. Most psychiatrists and other mental health professionals use the DSM to diagnose mental illnesses.
Because some people with severe BPD have brief psychotic episodes, experts originally thought of this illness as atypical, or borderline, versions of other mental disorders. While mental health experts now generally agree that the name "borderline personality disorder" is misleading, a more accurate term does not exist yet.
Most people who have BPD suffer from:
Problems with regulating emotions and thoughts
Impulsive and reckless behavior
Unstable relationships with other people.
People with this disorder also have high rates of co-occurring disorders, such as depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and eating disorders, along with self-harm, suicidal behaviors, and completed suicides.
Research on the possible causes and risk factors for BPD is still at a very early stage. However, scientists generally agree that genetic and environmental factors are likely to be involved.
Studies on twins with BPD suggest that the illness is strongly inherited. Another study shows that a person can inherit his or her temperament and specific personality traits, particularly impulsiveness and aggression. Scientists are studying genes that help regulate emotions and impulse control for possible links to the disorder.
Social or cultural factors may increase the risk for BPD. For example, being part of a community or culture in which unstable family relationships are common may increase a person's risk for the disorder. Impulsiveness, poor judgment in lifestyle choices, and other consequences of BPD may lead individuals to risky situations. Adults with borderline personality disorder are considerably more likely to be the victim of violence, including rape and other crimes.
Signs & Symptoms
According to the DSM, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR), to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a person must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following symptoms:
Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived
A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices)
Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom
Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.
Seemingly mundane events may trigger symptoms. For example, people with BPD may feel angry and distressed over minor separations—such as vacations, business trips, or sudden changes of plans—from people to whom they feel close. Studies show that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.
Suicide and Self-harm
Self-injurious behavior includes suicide and suicide attempts, as well as self-harming behaviors, described below. As many as 80 percent of people with BPD have suicidal behaviors, and about 4 to 9 percent commit suicide.
Suicide is one of the most tragic outcomes of any mental illness. Some treatments can help reduce suicidal behaviors in people with BPD. For example, one study showed that dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) reduced suicide attempts in women by half compared with other types of psychotherapy, or talk therapy. DBT also reduced use of emergency room and inpatient services and retained more participants in therapy, compared to other approaches to treatment.
Unlike suicide attempts, self-harming behaviors do not stem from a desire to die. However, some self-harming behaviors may be life threatening. Self-harming behaviors linked with BPD include cutting, burning, hitting, head banging, hair pulling, and other harmful acts. People with BPD may self-harm to help regulate their emotions, to punish themselves, or to express their pain. They do not always see these behaviors as harmful.
Who Is At Risk?
According to data from a subsample of participants in a national survey on mental disorders, about 1.6 percent of adults in the United States have BPD in a given year. BPD usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood. Some studies suggest that early symptoms of the illness may occur during childhood.
Unfortunately, BPD is often underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
A mental health professional experienced in diagnosing and treating mental disorders—such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker, or psychiatric nurse—can detect BPD based on a thorough interview and a discussion about symptoms. A careful and thorough medical exam can help rule out other possible causes of symptoms.
Women with BPD are more likely to have co-occurring disorders such as major depression, anxiety disorders, or eating disorders. In men, BPD is more likely to co-occur with disorders such as substance abuse or antisocial personality disorder. According to the NIMH-funded National Comorbidity Survey Replication—the largest national study to date of mental disorders in U.S. adults—about 85 percent of people with BPD also meet the diagnostic criteria for another mental illness. Other illnesses that often occur with BPD include diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic back pain, arthritis, and fibromyalgia.
BPD is often viewed as difficult to treat. However, recent research shows that BPD can be treated effectively, and that many people with this illness improve over time.
BPD can be treated with psychotherapy, or "talk" therapy. In some cases, a mental health professional may also recommend medications to treat specific symptoms. When a person is under more than one professional's care, it is essential for the professionals to coordinate with one another on the treatment plan.
The treatments described below are just some of the options that may be available to a person with BPD. However, the research on treatments is still in very early stages. More studies are needed to determine the effectiveness of these treatments, who may benefit the most, and how best to deliver treatments.
Psychotherapy is usually the first treatment for people with BPD. Current research suggests psychotherapy can relieve some symptoms, but further studies are needed to better understand how well psychotherapy works.
It is important that people in therapy get along with and trust their therapist. The very nature of BPD can make it difficult for people with this disorder to maintain this type of bond with their therapist.
Some symptoms of BPD may come and go, but the core symptoms of highly changeable moods, intense anger, and impulsiveness tend to be more persistent. People whose symptoms improve may continue to face issues related to co-occurring disorders, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, encouraging research suggests that relapse, or the recurrence of full-blown symptoms after remission, is rare. In one study, 6 percent of people with BPD had a relapse after remission.
No medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat BPD.
Some people with BPD experience severe symptoms and require intensive, often inpatient, care. Others may use some outpatient treatments but never need hospitalization or emergency care. Some people who develop this disorder may improve without any treatment.
How can I help a friend or relative who has BPD?
If you know someone who has BPD, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do is help your friend or relative get the right diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment and go with your friend or relative to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment or to seek different treatment if symptoms do not appear to improve with the current treatment.
To help a friend or relative you can:
Offer emotional support, understanding, patience, and encouragement—change can be difficult and frightening to people with BPD, but it is possible for them to get better over time
Learn about mental disorders, including BPD, so you can understand what your friend or relative is experiencing
With permission from your friend or relative, talk with his or her therapist to learn about therapies that may involve family members, such as DBT-FST.
Never ignore comments about someone's intent or plan to harm himself or herself or someone else. Report such comments to the person's therapist or doctor. In urgent or potentially life-threatening situations, you may need to call the police.
How can I help myself if I have BPD?
Taking that first step to help yourself may be hard. It is important to realize that, although it may take some time, you can get better with treatment.
To help yourself:
Talk to your doctor about treatment options and stick with treatment
Try to maintain a stable schedule of meals and sleep times
Engage in mild activity or exercise to help reduce stress
Set realistic goals for yourself
Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities, and do what you can, as you can
Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or family member
Tell others about events or situations that may trigger symptoms
Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately
Identify and seek out comforting situations, places, and people