Dallas DBT
*all parties in the practice are independent practitioners
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What is BPD?

Borderline Personality Disorder

 
 
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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotion. It’s estimated that 1.6% of the adult U.S. population has BPD but it may be as high as 5.9%. 75% of people diagnosed with BPD are women. Men may be as frequently affected by BPD but are often misdiagnosed with PTSD or depression. 

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Frantic efforts to avoid being abandoned by friends and family.
  • Having emotions that are intense and last for long periods of time. 
  • Difficulty returning to a stable emotional baseline after experiencing emotional stimuli.
  • Unstable personal relationships that alternate between idealization and devaluation.
  • Distorted and unstable self-image
  • Not knowing what your values, opinions, and goals are.
  • Impulsive behaviors like excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse or reckless driving.
  • Suicidal and self-harming behavior.
  • Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety 
  • Chronic feelings of boredom or emptiness.
  • Intense or uncontrollable anger—often followed by shame and guilt.
  • Dissociative feelings 
  • Stress-related paranoid thoughts. Severe cases of stress can also lead to brief psychotic episodes.

 

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BPD symptoms in adolescence are less fixed and may respond more quickly to intervention. This makes the adolescent years a critical period in which to initiate treatment. 

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Instability in interpersonal relationships
  • Impulsive behavior (beyond the normal teenage trajectory of impulsivity)
  • Chronic emptiness and unstable sense of self
  • Repetitive nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) and suicidal behavior 
  • Increased risk-taking and tendency to act impulsively in response to aversive emotional states, not taking into account the short and long-term consequences
  • Sexual risk taking
  • Substance use (often used for the purpose of affect-regulation in aversive emotional states) 
  • Impairments in functioning in social relationships, frequent fights and unstable relationships
  • Poor academic performance
  • A mixture of high levels of both internalizing (depressive symptoms, anxiety) and externalizing problems (conduct problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder symptoms)
  • Frequent anger outbursts and disruptive behavior
  • Very low self-esteem, insecure identity, lack of life goals
 

Watch a video of Marsha Linehan discussing BPD and why she developed DBT: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/media/2011/linehan.shtml

Sources:  (2017) NAMI https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder