According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, “it is estimated that 1.6 percent of the adult U.S. population has BPD.” Chances are someone you know suffers from this disorder, so it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms. Dr. Tammy Malloy, PhD chief clinical officer at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, explains the causes, symptoms and treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder.
According to Dr. Malloy, Borderline Personality Disorder “originates from a dysfunctional family of origin.” Persons with BPD have often suffered some type of emotional, physical and/or sexual trauma or neglect. “Hot and cold parenting styles, lack of structure in the home, and lack of parental supervision can lead to borderline symptoms being present in adulthood,” she explains.
“This can lead someone to sabotage relationships and successes in the workplace,” says Malloy.
“People with BPD may appear happy one moment and sad or angry the next,” explains Malloy.
“Those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder have a higher likelihood of also being diagnosed with an eating disorder. This could possibly be due poor self-image and self-identity,” Malloy says.
“Many who are diagnosed with Borderline Personality have a history of cutting, burning and/or punching themselves. They also may have had suicidal thoughts and attempts starting in the early adolescence,” Malloy explains.
“This could include acting out sexually, spending erratically and/or abusing substances,” says Malloy.
Treatment can sometimes be difficult for those with Borderline Personality Disorder according to Dr. Malloy, medication is ineffective. “Dialectical Behavior Therapy has been shown to be helpful as well as holistic treatment such as mindfulness meditation, acupuncture, and yoga,” says Dr. Malloy. She points out that it is crucial to treat the childhood trauma that led to the disorder. “Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and other forms of trauma treatment are essential to lessen the symptoms and assist in the overall wellness of the individual,” Dr. Malloy explains.
Although the symptoms can be debilitating, there is hope for recovery. “Those diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder can lead happy, productive lives as long as they gain insight into their disorder and commit to a healthy support system,” says Dr. Malloy.