Identifying Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms and Guide to Treatment
Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms – According to DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is defined as the long-term pattern of behavior marked by extremes of emotion, volatile and at times impulsivity, and a wide range of problematic, turbulent and unstable emotions. Colloquially, borderline personality disorder symptoms might be called emotional instability. But that is hardly sufficient, because the disorder is characterized by a conglomeration of several symptoms, with unusually dramatic ranges of response, depths of emotions, rapid changes between depression and elation, idealization and devaluation of self and others, deep feelings of abandonment, and significantly, feelings of entitlement (narcissism). The word "borderline" refers to the state between neurosis and psychosis.
Impact of Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms – Such variability of feelings clearly affects behavior, which naturally reflects on interpersonal relationships. Whereas stable relationships are characterized by consistent and predictable behavior that is logical and linear, unstable relationships are marked by chaos. At any given moment, what seemed like a rational conversation or behavior suddenly makes no sense, with the sufferer being sullen or downright verbally abusive, without any apparent reason to have incited such turnaround. When that happens, those closest to the sufferer may feel puzzled or angry, and might feel like the proverbial cartoon, dazedly scratching their head, muttering, "What the heck just happened?"
Narcissism – Narcissism is a term coined from the Greek legend of Narcissus who gazed at himself in a pond and fell in love with his own image. Applying this term to BPD means that the sufferer rarely recognizes his or her own role in dysfunctional situations. The type of instability evident in borderline personality disorders creates great confusion in the people closest to the sufferer. The sufferer's inconsistent and unpredictable responses stir trouble of all kinds in his or her environment. In the mind of the sufferer, however, because of the narcissistic feelings involved, the troubled relationships and confused scenarios are always the result of outside people or situations, and thus the sufferer feels victimized. Ironically, one of the characteristics of this illness is a deep, irrational fear of abandonment, and yet that is precisely what happens because of the erratic behavior of the sufferer. The sufferer then makes frantic efforts to justify the situation, absolving him- or herself of guilt by accusing others of having fabricated the situation.
The range of difficulties caused by BPD is vast, from family intrigues, surreptitiousness, conspiracies, and impulsive, expansive behaviors, all in an effort to either buttress the sufferer's inflated self-esteem or support his or her imagined feelings of having been grossly and unjustly maligned. The sufferer typically has a distorted self-image, at times self-aggrandizing, at other times self-deprecating. It is this alternation between positive regard and deep disappointment that characterize borderline personality disorder symptoms. In close relationships, as with mothers and their children, withdrawal from the situation is frequently difficult, if not impossible, and the relationship endures unabated. In many cases, the children will assume guilt feelings themselves because of the strong influence the disturbed parent had during the child's earliest formative years.
Possible Treatments – It might seem that borderline personality disorder treatment would come in the form of psychotherapy and/or medications, such as mood stabilizers and antipsychotics. Various styles of psychotherapy might be useful, including cognitive therapy or dialectical therapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy). Sadly, that is frequently not the case. The problem with borderline personality disorder treatment is that the sufferer, being narcissistic, believes that others cause all his or her problems, and that in fact, he or she has no problem at all. The sufferer feels justified in his or her feelings, rather than recognize that his or her behavior is dysfunctional. It rarely occurs to the sufferer that he or she may have instigated a situation, and is incompatible with his or her sense of his or her self-aggrandized vision. Such dilemma is what makes borderline personality disorder treatment so complicated and frequently unsuccessful.
Borderline personality disorder is an extremely complex disorder characterized by maladaptive behaviors that morph into psychosis, suffered by a narcissist. Thus, borderline personality disorder treatment is a challenge that has yet to get a foothold in the psychotherapeutic community.