Stay alert to recognize Borderline Personality Disorder - Camp Lejeune Globe: Carolina Living

Raising Healthy Minds

Stay alert to recognize Borderline Personality Disorder

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Posted: Monday, December 3, 2018 6:00 am

I hope this edition of “Raising Healthy Minds” finds you filled with holiday joy and delicious treats. This is a season of celebration, but I want to shine light on the ongoing struggles of mental illness. Mental disorders do not take a holiday and those living with them experience their effect year round. One such condition is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). The latest figures from the National Alliance on Mental Illness estimate that 1.6 percent of adults 18 and over in the United States have BPD. However, the figure may be as high as 5.9 percent as many men may be misdiagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.

Individuals with BPD struggle to regulate their emotions. This can put their life in a whirlwind and their finances, health and relationships face serious damage. The following are some symptoms of BPD from NAMI:

• Frenzied attempts to avoid real or imagined abandonment by loved ones.

• Unstable personal relationships which oscillate between feelings of idealization (“I love her so much”) and devaluation (“I can’t stand her”).

• Inaccurate self-image.

• Impulsive or risky behaviors such as excessive spending, unprotected sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.

• Self-harming behavior such as cutting.

• Periods of intense depression, irritability or anxiety which can last from a few hours to a few days.

• Persistent loss of interest in enjoyable activities or feelings of boredom.

• Intense or uncontrollable bouts of anger commonly followed by shame and guilt.

• Dissociative feelings such as disconnection from one’s own thoughts or identity.

• Paranoid thoughts brought on by stress.

Be careful to note that if symptoms such as reckless behavior occur during a period of elevated mood, a mood disorder such as Bipolar Disorder may be the case.

It is crucial that if you or a loved one have been experiencing these symptoms for a prolonged period to seek professional assistance. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible with a licensed mental health professional to receive an accurate diagnosis and begin a treatment plan.

BPD has several suspected causes including genetics, exposure to traumatic events and abnormalities in brain structure. Like other mental health conditions, BPD is not diagnosed with a singular medical exam but different clinical assessments to rule out other possible complications.

Treatment is available. Psychiatric medications such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics are commonly prescribed in conjunction with forms of psychotherapy.

As with any diagnosed mental disorder, people with BPD must stick to their prescribed treatment plan or face a relapse of symptoms that can be extremely severe.

Symptoms such as suicidal ideation, excessive spending and unprotected sex pose a serious threat to the well-being of those living with BPD. Take action today and regain your peace of mind during this season where we wish for peace on earth.

For more information on BPD, visit www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is 1-800-273-8255. For local mental health resources, visit www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/counseling.

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