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Borderline Personality Disorder

What is borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a developmental disorder that is characterised by intense emotional dysregulation, impulsivity and unstable interpersonal relationships. Unfortunately, BPD can often be misdiagnosed. Some people with BPD are given the diagnosis of bipolar disorder when in BPD the mood changes are much more rapid as mood can fluctuate significantly often within the same day.

To be diagnosed with BPD the person must experience at least five of the following symptoms:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Unstable or changing relationships
  • Unstable self image; struggles with identity or sense of self
  • Impulsive self-destructive behaviours (excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance misuse, binge eating and others)
  • Suicidal behaviour or self injury
  • Mood instability with varied mood swings
  • Feelings of emptiness
  • Difficulties with anger, including frequent loss of temper or physical fights
  • Stress related paranoia or dissociation

If you are worried that you are suffering from BPD, it is important that you have a specialist assessment to verify or exclude the diagnosis. There is often co-morbidity between BPD and other disorders such as depression, anxiety, substance misuse or eating disorders.

Treatment for BPD

BPD can be a serious condition and many people with the condition are at risk of attempting suicide at some point in their life. However, the outlook for BPD is positive over time, and specialist psychological therapy and medical treatment can be helpful.

There are several specialist psychological therapies that can be effective for treating BPD. Those are dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), mentalisation-based treatment (MBT) and schema therapy (ST).

Medication is not recommended for BPD by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines, however, there is some evidence that it might be helpful in managing the symptoms of depression and anxiety that people with BPD often experience.

At The Chelsea Psychology Clinic, all the psychologists have specialist experience in the treatment of BPD and the package of care will often involve also medical reviews with our Consultant Psychiatrist particularly if your symptoms are severe.

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