Borderline Personality Disorder

BorderlinePersonality Disorder

BorderlinePersonality Disorder

Personalitydisorders are mental conditions that are mainly characterized byendurance with maladaptive patterns, inner, and cognitiveexperiences. The borderline personality disorder (BPD) is quitecommon and severe as compared to other types of personalitydisorders. Some of the key symptoms of BPD include an extreme fear ofbeing abandoned, unstable relationships, self-harm, a feeling ofemptiness, self-destructive behavior, extreme cases of emotionalswing, and unclear self-image (Smith &amp Segal, 2016). This paperwill focus on the reasons for selecting BPD, preliminary informationabout BPD, and how I learned about the disorder.

Reasonsfor selecting the borderline disorder

Thehigh prevalence of the borderline personality disorder in developedcountries (including the U.S.) is the most important factorconsidered when selecting the type of disorder that will beinvestigated further. Studies have shown that the U.S. has aprevalence rate of 5.9 %, followed Australia with a prevalence rateof 5 % (AIPC, 2016). This disorder is also more prevalent amongfemale than the male subjects, which is confirmed by the fact thatwomen are about three times more likely to suffer from borderlinepersonality disorder than men (AIPC, 2016). Surprisingly, about 10 %of the people who are diagnosed with the borderline personalitydisorder attempt to commit suicide. This rate of suicidal attempt isextremely higher that the rate of the general population. Inaddition, the prevalence of the borderline personality disorder inthe national primary care system ranges between four percent and sixpercent (AIPC, 2016). These unique aspects (including the highprevalence of the disorder in the developed world, higher prevalenceamong women than among men, and the high probability of committingsuicide) make the borderline personality disorder a topic worthstudying.

Preliminaryinformation that is known about the borderline personality disorder


Thecurrent body of literature indicates that BPD is caused by multiplefactors that are classified into biological, psychological, social,and attachment. The key biological factors that are considered as theleading causes of BPD include genetic predisposition and earlychildhood environment that has the capacity to influence thedevelopment of the nervous system and the brain (Australian Instituteof Professional Counseling, 2016). This disorder occurs whenemotional regulation is disturbed by environmental stimuli.Researchers have identified that aversive stimuli cause BPD byactivating amygdale. The activation of the amygdale, on the otherhand, stimulates prefrontal cortices and anterior cingulated (AIPC,2016). Twin studies have also indicated that the genetic factors thatcause BPD are related to mood dysregulation and impulsive aggression.Genetic and environmental factors work hand in hand in causing BPD.The environmental factors influence the frequency as well as theintensity with which genetic expression for BPD occurs.

Scholarshave also provided adequate evidence to indicate that the behaviordisturbance, which is one of the key features of BPD, is caused bythe social environment in which the patient lives in. A non-nurturingand an invalidating environment cause personality and emotionaldysregulation among children, which increase the risk of sufferingfrom BPD either during childhood or in later stages of development(AIPC, 2016). This is attributed to the fact that parents whoestablish dysfunctional families lack the capacity to teach theirchildren how to identify, label, and manage emotional arousal.Children who are brought up in such social environments lack thecapacity to condone emotional distress and trust their emotionalresponse, which forces them to invalidate their environment as wellas their emotional experiences.

Scholarshave also established that some psychological factors contributetowards the etiology of BPD. For example, sexual assault, and seriouscases of emotional as well as the physical abuse increase thevulnerability of individuals to BPD (AIPC, 2016). It has been shownthat the lack of ability to regulate emotions following sometraumatizing incidents is dependent on the environment that one livesin. For example, the impact of traumatic events is worse when theaffected person experiences a poor parent-child relationship, whichincreases the risk of suffering from BPD. Therefore, the relationshipbetween the occurrence of BPD and psychological factors can beattributed to the failure of the caregivers to teach the affectedperson on how to cope with emotional disturbances.

Currently,the relationship between attachment and the risk of suffering fromBPD is considered as one of the main areas of interest to researchersand scholars. The theory of attachment provides a unique perspectivefrom which the etiology of BPD can be studied. The theory holds thatthe quality of the relationship between a child and the parentinfluences the process of development of internal working models ormental representations that shape one’s personality trait (Levy,Johnson, Scala, Clouthier &amp Temes, 2015). The social cognitiveschemata are some of the key representations that shape beliefs andexpectations regarding interpersonal relationships. A poor attachmentduring childhood predisposes the child to the risk of suffering fromBPD.

Treatmentand management of BPD

Thereare many treatment options that have been suggested, but two of themhave been scientifically proven to be effective. The firsttherapeutic approach is medication, which involves the administrationof pharmaceutical products to manage the symptoms of BPD. Thecommonly used drugs are classified into antidepressants, moodstabilizers, and antipsychotics (AIPC, 2016). The second treatmentmethod is referred to as the talk therapy, which is a set ofpsychotherapeutic techniques. The most common types of talk therapiesused in the modern health care settings to treat BPD include thecognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and cognitiveanalytic therapy. Therefore, it has been confirmed that the symptomsof BPD can be managed effectively in order to help the affectedpersons manage their emotions and lead a satisfying life.


Althoughstudies have indicated that BPD is caused by genetic predisposition,some studies have shown that the expression of this mental conditionduring adulthood can be prevented. The aim of preventive measures isto alter the patient’s life-course trajectory in early stages oflife, which is accomplished by attenuating adverse outcomesassociated with BPD (Chanen &amp McCutcheon, 2013). An earlydetection and prevention of BPD reduce the chances of the patientcommitting suicide or engaging in other risky behaviors. However, aneffective prevention method should include societal, child, andparental components. This is based on the notion that BPD is causedby multiple factors, where the social environment and parental careare some of the predisposing factors.

Barriersand risks in diagnosis and treatment of BPD

Althoughscientists have provided reliable evidence for successful diagnosisof BPD, stigma is a significant barrier to early diagnosis andtreatment. BPD is considered to be the most stigmatized type ofpersonality disorder among professionals (Chanen &amp McCutcheon,2013). This implies that there are many health care professionalswho are not willing to handle cases of BPD. In addition, patientssuffer from self-stigma, which perpetuates a negative stereotype. BPDalso co-occurs with other personality disorders, which makes itdifficult to manage.

HowI learned about BPD

Personally,I have never interacted with a patient suffering from BPD. However, Igot an interest in studying about this mental condition after readingthe article “Diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is oftenflawed”, which was published by Scientific American. The articlepresented some pieces of information about BPD that prompted me torethink and read more about the disorder. For example, the authorstated that BPD is an untreatable personality that patients must livewith throughout their lives. The author added that some patients donot show any signs of improvement, even with the treatmentmethodologies that are considered to be the most effective. To me,this sounded to be a unique disorder that is worth studying in orderto determine the accuracy of the information presented in the articleand the key factors that make BPD difficult to manage or treat.


Theborderline personality disorder is one of the most common types ofconditions that are caused by a combination of factors. The key riskfactors for BPD include genetic predisposition, psychological,social, and attachment. The high prevalence of BPD, especially in thedeveloped countries creates the need to study more about thispersonality condition. Although some scholars hold that BPD cannot betreated even with the most effective therapeutic strategies, it hasbeen scientifically proven that a combination of medication and talktherapy can help patients lead a satisfying life. The stigma thatcomes from health care professionals and self-stigma are the commonbarriers that prevent early diagnosis and treatment BPD.


AustralianInstitute of Professional Counseling (2016). Etiology of borderlinepersonality disorder. AIPC.Retrieved June 19, 2016, from

Chanen,M. &amp McCutcheon, L. (2013). Prevention and early intervention forborderline personality disorder: current status and recent evidence.TheBritish Journal of Psychiatry,202 (54), 24-29.

Levy,N., Johnson, N., Scala, J., Clouthier, L. &amp Temes, M. (2015). Anattachment theoretical framework for personality disorder. CanadianPsychology,56 (2), 197-207.

Smith,M. &amp Segal, J. (2016). Borderline personality disorder. HelpGuide Organization.Retrieved June 19, 2016, from