Borderline personality disorder is not as well-known as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, but BPD is actually more common, affecting as many as two percent of adults. The mental condition causes emotional instability that leads to stress and many negative behaviors. Why?
Remember the character played by Glenn Close in the movie Fatal Attraction? A dramatized example of BPD. people who suffer BPD have a distorted sense of self, characterized by low self-esteem and self-loathing. They can often see themselves as worthless or evil -- then the next moment they feel as if they don't exist at all. Or they feel unfairly misunderstood, mistreated or empty, so they turn on themselves and others. The BPD sufferer wants loving, close relationships, but her highly unpredictable and erratic behavior pushes people away. The defining characteristic of BPD is a pervasive instability in the person's life, with frequent changes in jobs, relationships, goals and values.
A person with depression or bipolar disorder may endure the same mood for weeks and weeks. But BPD sufferers may have intense bouts of anger, anxiety or near-suicidal depression that can last an hour or a day. These bouts can lead to impulsive behavior – aggression, self-injury and drug or alcohol abuse. A 2008 article in Scientific American cited that this mental illness accounts for up to 10 percent of patients in psychiatric care and 20 percent of those who have to be hospitalized.
As with many mental and emotional disorders, the causes of BPD aren't fully understood. The Mayo Clinic outlines factors that likely play a role, including the following:
Psychotherapy is the core treatment for BPD, and medications can help control symptoms and associated problems, such as anxiety and depression.
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