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Tag Archives: stigma

What Do You Know about Borderline Personality Disorder?

10047180_sFor those affected by mental illness like Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) it can seem as if the world has rejected them and that people just don’t understand – and that’s probably because many don’t. This lack of knowledge is what keeps apprehension and negative stigma alive when it comes to confronting BPD. But May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month, and each of us has the opportunity to help tear down barriers that make it more difficult for those living with the disorder to seek help.

According to a recent Psychology Today article, about six percent of people across the globe have BPD. Tragically, nearly 10 percent of those affected will die by suicide. BPD is a serious psychiatric disorder and is responsible for about 20 percent of inpatient psychiatric visits. Those affected may exhibit the following:

  • Severe mood swings and fits of rage. Unlike bipolar disorder, BPD is characterized by mood disruptions that come on quite suddenly and occur with regularity. Someone with the disorder may cycle through the full gamete of emotions within just a few hours, being happy one minute and depressed the next. Though those with BPD crave affection, their outbursts of anger can be detrimental to the very relationships they are so desperate for.

  • Compulsivity. A person with BPD may develop a shopping or gambling addiction, engage in risky sexual behaviors, steal on a whim, or abuse drugs or alcohol.

  • Feelings of emptiness and fear of abandonment. Because many have trouble ascertaining their own identity, those with BPD are often insecure and have a strong fear of being rejected by those they care about, even if those fears are irrational or based on false perceptions.

  • Self-harm and suicidal tendencies. One source reports that about three-quarters of individuals with BPD who pursue treatment have inflicted self-harm of some type. These individuals are also more susceptible to suicidal thoughts and behaviors than others.

  • Split thinking. To a BPD person, the world is black and white – people and situations are either 100 percent bad or 100 percent good, and there is rarely an in between.

This month the Family Guidance Center would like to join in raising awareness for BPD because awareness provides hope. Those with BPD have to work through their own issues and emotions without having the added stress of societal stigma and being misunderstood. Learn the facts about borderline personality disorder. And if someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms mentioned, encourage them to contact the Family Guidance Center.

Family and Friends Important in the Management of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder 1Bipolar disorder can be a lonely disease, but it doesn’t have to be. While friends and family members are important to staying healthy, in states of mania or depression,  they are often the first to be cut off from the affected person’s life. Stigma can cause individuals to withhold information about their condition, but that only serves to make matters worse. Being forthright with issues of mental health is the easiest way to help others understand and gain support.

A recent article found at WebMD underscores some ways to initiate open and honest communication with loved ones and peers.

  • Develop a support network Pick several people that you trust to be members of your support team. One person is not sufficient. Parents, siblings, other family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, or even a social worker or pastor can all be integral should an emergency occur.

  • Teach them about bipolar disorder Let family and friends know that highs and lows are normal symptoms of the condition and educate them regarding what to expect when you have an episode. Discuss any pertinent treatment plans and advise that their involvement is crucial in your management of the disorder. If you have children, they also should receive an age-appropriate explanation of the disorder so that they are not fearful.

  • Devise a plan It’s hard to think clearly in a state of mania or depression. Having a plan in place with specific boundaries ensures you get help when you need it but also prevents a well-meaning person from being too overbearing. Talk about what will happen if things get out of control. For instance, in a state of mania, maybe a family member takes your keys to prevent rash behavior.

  • Get help Research indicates that about 4 percent of the population may be affected by symptoms of bipolar disorder. You are not alone. Keep contact with friends and family and fight the urge to withdraw.

For the past 100 years, professionals at the Family Guidance Center have been working to reduce stigma and help those with mental illness live happier, healthier lives. There are many different types of treatment available for those with bipolar disorder, and many people with this illness can lead productive, successful lives. If you would like to learn more about the disease or have questions, contact Family Guidance Center.