Borderline Personality Disorder

According to the American Psychiatric Association, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is characterized by the instability of interpersonal relationships, affect (emotions) and cognition (perception). Onset of BPD is during adolescence and early adulthood. Traumatic childhood experiences and adversities including and not limited to abuse, parental neglect, and separation adds to the development of emotional behaviour associated with a distorted view of the self. Long-term, the distorted view of the self affects interpersonal relationships, leads to impulsive and unhealthy behavioural patterns, underdeveloped self-esteem, and lower quality of life. Individuals diagnosed with BPD tend to develop anxious and avoidant attachment patterns, have difficulty regulating emotions, engage in self-harm, and have difficulty maintaining interpersonal relationships.

The primary model of treatment is psychotherapy, of which Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is a component. Skills developed during psychotherapy include the following:

*emotional regulation (naming and regulating emotions, changing emotional responses, reducing vulnerability to emotion mind, and managing difficult emotions)

*distress tolerance (developing reality acceptance skills and crisis survival skills)

*communication tools for maintaining inter-personal relationships (building relationships and ending unhealthy relationships)

*developing self-awareness via mindfulness and mindfulness-based practises (learning to observe and experience reality as it is, living in the moment, developing autonomy)

Aleva, A., Betts, J. K., Cotton, S. M., Laceulle, O. M., Hessels, C. J., van Aken, Marcel A. G., Nicol, K., & Chanen, A. M. (2023). Emotion dysregulation in young people with borderline personality disorder: One pattern or distinct subgroups? Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 14(5), 567-578.

Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 T/ American Psychiatric Association. 5th ed. (2013). American Psychiatric Pub.