When the topic of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) comes up, many people think of celebrities like Pete Davidson or Lindsey Lohan. Pop culture has created this negative stigma surrounding BPD, insinuating that people with this disorder are dangerous and erratic, but it's much more than that. BPD is defined as a mental health disorder that has a strong impact on how one sees themselves and others, which can cause issues in relationships and cause impulsive behaviors. Strong paranoias and fears of abandonment, as well as intense spouts of anger, are defining factors in this disorder. It shields your view from how you interpret your actions yourself and makes life an emotional rollercoaster. The following statements address common misconceptions about BPD.
1. BPD goes hand in hand with other mental disorders.
Anxiety, depression, PTSD, anorexia, ADHD and bipolar disorders all can co-occur with BPD. In fact, this is fairly common but overlooked more often than not. While there are clear guidelines for common disorders, BPD symptoms can blend in with others. Though a person may show symptoms of having anxiety or panic disorders, they may not be treated for symptoms for BPD.
2. BPD cannot be cured.
When BPD goes undiagnosed, life can be very difficult. It's hard to manage life when you don't understand your thoughts or actions. Personality disorders are more than a cold. There's no magic pill to make it go away. Incorrectly diagnosing BPD or not diagnosing it at all can make symptoms worse. However, treatment can make the disorder much more manageable.
3. BPD isn't always genetic.
Unlike many mental health disorders, BPD isn't always genetic. Traumatic events, such as physical and verbal abuse, abandonment or sexual assault, can cause personality disorders to arise.
4. BPD is not the same as Multiple Personality Disorder.
People with BPD are not like the character from Split where they jump from one internal personality to another, which is supposed to be modeled after Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD). There are similarities, such as disassociation from one's identity, but BPD is far less severe and less common. A person with BPD doesn't split personalities and portray different people like people with MPD do.
5. There are nine criteria that diagnose BPD.
BPD isn't a one-stop shop where there's a single key factor that goes into diagnosing this disorder. To be diagnosed, one must display seven of the nine criteria. These factors include strong fear of abandonment, unstable personal relationships where views of people are either black or white, impulsive and destructive behaviors, self-harming, emotional instability in reaction to everyday situations, chronic feelings of emptiness, intense anger that's hard to control, and stress-related paranoia.
6. BPD is very common.
4 million Americans have BPD, where 75% of the population are women. However, many people don't seek treatment because of a lack of knowledge about their disorder. Because of this, a staggering 70% of people with BPD try to commit suicide at least once in their life and out of that, 8-10% succeed. 40% of people have also been misdiagnosed, mostly with bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder. It's extremely difficult to manage a disorder that isn't being treated correctly.
Borderline Personality Disorder is a misunderstood disorder in the US. It has a massive effect on the lives of almost 2% of the population, making day to day life hectic and harmful. People with BPD are not a threat to others, they're not dangerous or malicious. Instead, they're simply misunderstood.