Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health diagnosis that affects the way people think and feel about themselves and the world around them. BPD is a complex mental health challenge - people living with the disorder struggle with emotional regulation, and often have other mental health diagnoses.
Symptoms for BPD may include:
People with BPD tend to experience emotions and events in extremes (either all good or all bad). A BPD adult diagnosis can make it difficult to maintain stable employment and healthy relationships without the right supports in place.
We don’t know exactly what causes borderline personality disorder, but research suggests a mix of genetic and environmental factors. Possible causes of BPD include:
The symptoms of BPD can make romantic, friendship and family relationships difficult to manage. Understanding BPD in relationships can be challenging for both the person with BPD and those around them. Common issues that may arise in a relationship with someone with BPD can include the following:
While it is possible for someone with BPD to work and succeed in their career, BPD can make it harder to get and maintain employment. Emotional instability and impulsive behaviours in people with BPD can interfere with their reliability, professionalism and achievement in the workplace. The following behaviours may show up in people with BPD in the workplace:
It is important to remember that borderline personality disorder is manageable. People with BPD can be very successful in their relationships and careers with the appropriate treatment and support.
Treatment for BPD usually involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Specifically, DBT, or Dialectical Behavior Therapy, is one type of therapy that has been found to be very effective in treating BPD. DBT is a form of psychotherapy that combines elements of mindfulness, acceptance, and strategies for change in order to help people manage their symptoms and create the life they want. DBT can be effective in treating BPD because it specifically addresses the following areas:
Developing mindfulness skills. Mindfulness is the intentional practice of focusing our minds on the present moment and working to accept our thoughts and emotions without judgment. Mindfulness helps us avoid dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Developing stronger mindfulness skills can be helpful for managing the strong emotional responses often experienced by people with BPD.
Learning emotional regulation skills. Emotion regulation skills increase our ability to ride the wave of our emotions and better navigate emotionally escalated situations in a value-aligned manner.
Exploring distress tolerance skills. Distress tolerance skills are a central component of DBT. These skills focus on the ability to tolerate and get through crisis situations without making things worse and to accept reality as it is in this Moment.
Improving interpersonal skills. People with BPD sometimes struggle with maintaining positive, healthy relationships. Learning skills for improving interpersonal interactions through DBT can provide a roadmap for more stable and happier relationships with loved ones.
Living with borderline personality disorder can be challenging, but it is possible for people with BPD to lead happy, meaningful and fulfilling lives. With the right support systems in place, people living with BPD can manage their symptoms and control the impacts of the disorder on their daily lives.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of BPD or another mental health condition, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional. A psychologist or psychiatrist can help you understand the problem and access an appropriate treatment plan. Learn more here about our psychological diagnosis services.