WHAT IS IT?
This is a personality disorder (cluster B) that is characterized by unstable mood, unstable relationships, impulsive behavior, and a sense of emptiness. Patients can be characterized as “whirlwinds of instability and emotions”.
WHY IS IT A PROBLEM?
This personality change can lead to self mutilation and harm.
WHAT MAKES US SUSPECT IT?
Splitting defense mechanism: a common finding in patients with BPD, this defense mechanism causes individuals to believe that certain people are either all good or all bad (no grey area). Patients will either “love” or “hate” certain individuals.
Fear of abandonment: relationships are often passionate at first but end quickly and dramatically.
HOW DO WE CONFIRM A DIAGNOSIS?
The diagnostic criteria for this condition dictate that at least 5 of the following must be present:
- Frantic efforts to avoid abandonment
- Unstable, intense relationships
- Unstable self image
- Self damaging impulsivity
- Recurrent suicidal behavior, self-mutilation
- Affective instability
- Feelings of emptiness
- Intense and inappropriate or uncontrolled anger
- Transient paranoia or severe dissociative symptoms
HOW DO WE TREAT IT?
Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): this is therapy designed to help increase patients mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation, and distress tolerance.
WHAT ELSE ARE WE WORRIED ABOUT?
Self mutilation: these patients often times cause themselves self harm (such as cutting their own wrists) and threaten suicide.
OTHER HY FACTS?
Page updated: 12.15.2015