Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder is a serious mental health issue that affects a large amount of people. At 5.9%, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects 14 million Americans at some time in their life (Borderline Personality Disorder). Like most personality disorders, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can make everyday life difficult. Psych Central states that a main characteristic of BPD is “a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image and emotions.” Most people who have BPD suffer from difficulty regulating emotions and thoughts, impulsive/reckless behavior, an unstable relationships.

While BPD affects so many people, researchers have still not narrowed down a specific cause. Despite this, researchers believe that there can be two main causes. The first is trauma. Where trauma more commonly causes PTSD it can also affect personality of a person. The second is genetic. In recent studies it has can be seen that a person can inherit personality traits as well as BPD from their parents.

While understanding the causes of BPD is important it is also important to identify it in friends, family, and potentially yourself. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in order for a person to be diagnosed with BPD they must show an enduring pattern of behavior that includes at least five of the following:

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.

With BPD half the battle is discovering it. While it is a fairly prominent mental health issue it is still widely misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed. The lucky thing about BPD is that there is treatment for it. The two major ones are psychotherapy and medication, both of which have proven to be effective. While these forms of treatment do work they still take time to be effective and the road will not be easy. Make sure if you or a loved one is suffering from BPD that you get educated on it and support them every step of the way.
~Be mindful of the mind.

Know the Five Signs

As I have been doing this blog I am in constant search for information and tools that can help take the intimidating topic of mental health issues and make it more manageable. With each mental health issue comes its own challenges, not to mention how each individual person handles the challenge. All of this makes it hard to come up with a way to generalize a way to identify mental health issues. This is where awareness and education comes in handy. As I was searching for new information I came across this great organization called Change the Direction.

Change the Direction is an organization that has the goal of changifilmstrip-adprint2ng the way our culture views and treats mental health issues. Like this blog and so many other organizations its goal is to raise awareness and education in hopes to bring about change. What I really like about Change the Direction is that it has a tool that takes the complex issue of catching mental health issues and makes it simpler to understand. Its tool is called “Know the Five Signs.” It is the idea that there are five five emotional signs that can be flags for seeing that someone is in emotional pain. These are the signs and their descriptions from their page:

  • Personality Change: Their personality changes. You may notice sudden or gradual changes in the way that someone typically behaves. He or she may behave in ways that don’t seem to fit the person’s values, or the person may just seem different.
  • Agitation: They seem uncharacteristically angry, anxious, agitated, or moody. You may notice the person has more frequent problems controlling his or her temper and seems irritable or unable to calm down. People in more extreme situations of this kind may be unable to sleep or may explode in anger at a minor problem.
  • Withdrawal: They withdraw or isolate themselves from other people. Someone who used to be socially engaged may pull away from family and friends and stop taking part in activities he or she used to enjoy. In more severe cases the person may start failing to make it to work or school. Not to be confused with the behavior of someone who is more introverted, this sign is marked by a change in someone’s typical sociability, as when someone pulls away from the social support he or she typically has.
  • Poor Self-Care: They stop taking care of themselves and may engage in risky behavior. You may notice a change in the person’s level of personal care or an act of poor judgment on his or her part. For instance, someone may let his or her personal hygiene deteriorate, or the person may start abusing
  • Hopelessness: They seem overcome with hopelessness and overwhelmed by their circumstances. Have you noticed someone who used to be optimistic and now can’t find anything to be hopeful about? That person may be suffering from extreme or prolonged grief, or feelings of worthlessness or guilt. People in this situation may say that the world would be better off without them, suggesting suicidal thinking.

With this knowledge you have the power to have conversations and look out for those you care about. By recognizing when someone is in emotional pain you can walk beside him or her and help them get help. You can make the difference in someone’s life. You can help those suffering from mental health issues and help.

~Be mindful of the mind

The Mindful Mind

As a country and a global community we have accomplished a lot of good. We have cured diseases, put people on the moon, and strived for gender and racial equality but the one area we have failed to make a difference in is mental health issues. Mental health is an area that is plagued by stigmas and lack of education. The very phrase “mental health” causes people to jump to conclusions. They either think of a loved one, a bad experience, or a stigma they have formed. My goal through this blog is to alter this first thought. My goal is to educate and create an open discussion that will change the way our American and global society views and treats those affected by mental health issues.

First off before I go any further I want to define what are mental health issues. The World Health Organization(WHO) defines mental health as a “state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.” When one has mental health issues their ability to reach that state of well-being that is jeopardized by genes, biology, environment, or lifestyle (Mental Health America).

Another aspect of mental health that I will cover in this blog is developmental disorders. This categorizing aspect of developmental disorders is widely debated because some organizations and government agencies accept as being under mental health while others do not. For the sake of this blog I will consider it under the umbrella term mental health because I believe it is also a topic the general public is widely uneducated on and that it holds a stigma as well.

I hope that you enjoy reading about this blog as much as I will enjoy writing this. If you have any questions feel free to reach out or comment. Also I will be researching all my claims but if you notice any mistake or have a suggestion let me know. One thing is for sure and that is that I am excited to take a step in advocating for change in an area that affects one in four adults (WHO).