Personality disorders are complicated psychological conditions that can lead to a huge range of distressing and frightening symptoms for both the sufferer and their families. Additionally, they can cause various patterns of behavior that are abnormal. Some of this could include:
- Feelings of anxiety, distress, anger or worthlessness that are overwhelming.
- An inability to manage these feelings, therefore turning towards a form of self-harm. This is commonly drugs, which is why many people with a personality disorder receive a dual diagnosis.
- Difficulties in maintaining close and stable relationships, both in their personal life and work life.
- Psychosis, which is where all touch with reality is lost.
- A threat of harm to others in some cases.
In most cases, a personality disorder will first appear during adolescence, and it will continue to exist for the rest of a person’s life. However, the condition can often be fully managed, which means that the person goes into remission. However, relapses are possible. It is not known what causes a personality disorder, although childhood trauma and genetic factors are commonly seen. A personality disorder can be mild, in which case almost no treatment is ever needed, to severe, in which case someone may have to be hospitalized.
Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder
The name borderline disorder comes from the fact that it was once believed that sufferers resided on a “border” between:
- A neurosis, which is a situation in which they are mentally distressed, but still know that their perception is not reality.
- A psychosis, which is where all touch with reality is lost, and hallucinations and delusions are experienced.
We now know that this does not accurately describe what borderline personality disorder actually is. It is in fact a disorder of interpersonal function (which describes how interactions with others take place) and a mood disorder. Interestingly, health care professionals seem to find the condition more frequently in women. However, it is believed that this is because women are more likely to seek help when they notice changes in mood.
The Development of Borderline Personality Disorder
As stated, it is not clear what actually causes borderline personality disorder, although there is strong evidence to suggest a combination of environmental and genetic factors are at play. Childhood trauma is very common in people who have borderline disorder, with around 80% of sufferers having gone through parental abuse (neglect, sexual, physical or emotional).
Borderline disorders are very serious and it is common to see suicide attempts and other forms of self-harm. Indeed, as much as 70% of sufferers will have at least one suicide attempt during their lifetime. However, if helped properly, the outlook for people with the disorder is actually very good, particularly when they are given excellent psychological and, sometimes, medical care.
At Creative Care, we provide both individual and group therapy, including psychotherapy, to people who have a borderline diagnosis. We offer direct support, but also indirect support for instance by putting our patients in touch with community mental health teams. We know that treatment has to be given for the right amount of time in order for it to be effective, and this means some patients will require treatment for well over a year.
There is a lot of research available to suggest that if treatment is provided, then those with borderline personality disorder are able to manage their symptoms for the rest of their lives. Indeed, around 50% are able to go into remission for the rest of their lives. However, if symptoms return at any time, they must seek treatment again. Please contact our Creative Care team if you need help with borderline personality disorder.