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Borderline psychological disorder is a fairly common behavioral disorder marked by self-image problems, strong mood shifts, and difficulty in maintaining relationship but dread of being alone.

Though the term borderline was first coined in the 1930's, the condition was not clearly defined until the 1970's. In 1980, Borderline Personality Disorder was included in the American Psychiatric Association's third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM III). Though various schools within psychiatry still quarrel over the exact nature, causes and treatment of BPD, the disorder is officially recognized as a major mental health problem in America today.

Borderline personalities are very dependent people, but they cannot admit this to themselves. So they constantly test other people's concern and often sabotage their own relationships. However, as soon as the slightest thing fails to go their way, they become extremely angry with the other person, often insulting and belittling him or her. A person with an avoidant personality disorder is hypersensitive to rejection, humiliation or shame. The dependent personality is passive allowing others to assume response.

The essential feature of Borderline Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsively that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts. The perception of impending seperation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition and behavior. These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. These abandonment fears are related to an intolerance of being alone and a need to have other people with them. There may be an identity disturbance characterized by markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self. These individuals may suddenly change from the role of a needy supplicant for help to a righteous avenger of past mis-treatment. Individuals with this disorder may at times have feelings that they do not exist at all.

Borderlines usually live a difficult life, mostly coming from years of abuse - may it be sexual, emotional, mental, verbal, drug, or alcohol. Borderline people put too much trust in people to feel safe, and later get hurt for thinking they did something wrong. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder may be troubled by chronic feelings of emptiness. Easily bored, they may constantly seek something to do. Frequently expressing inappropriate, intense anger or having difficulty controlling their anger.

Adolescents and young adults with identity problems misleadingly give the impression of BPD. Such situations are characterized by emotional instability, "existential" dilemmas, uncertainty, anxiety-provoking choices, conflicts about sexual orientation, and competing social pressures to decide on careers.

Self-destructive tendencies or suicidal gestures are very common among borderlines. They are one of the syndrome's defining criteria. About 8% to 10% among borderlines and even higher for borderline adolescents are documented for suicide. A history of previous suicide attempts, a chaotic family life, and lack of support systems increase in the likelihood. The risk multiplies even more among borderline patients who also suffer from depressive or manic depressive disorders, or from alcoholism or drug abuse. DSM-III lists 8 criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder, five of which must be present for diagnosis, they are as follows...

1. unstable and intense interpersonal relationships.
2. impulsiveness in potentially self-damaging behaviors, such as substance abuse, sex, shoplifting, reckless driving and binge eating.
3. severe mood shifts.
4. frequent and inappropriate displays of anger.
5. recurrent suicidal threats or gesture, or self-mutilating behaviors.
6. lack of clear sense of identity.
7. chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.
8. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

One study reported that history of verbal, physical, and or sexual abuse, or of prolonged seperation on neglect by primary caregivers was the most important factor in distinguishing borderline patients from those with other disorders. Other studies have found a history of severe psychological, physical or sexual abuse in 20-75% of borderline patients.

The 8 criteria's for BPD are here explained more in further detail...

1. unstable and intense interpersonal relationship with marked shifts in attitudes toward others and prominent patterns of manipulation of others.
2. impulsiveness in at least two areas that are potentially self-destructive, example: chemical abuse, sexual promiscuity, gambling, shoplifting, overeating, anorexia nervosa, or bulimia.
3. affective instability marked shifts from baseline mood to depression, irritability, or anxiety, usually lasting a few hours and only rarely than a few days.
4. inappropriate, intense anger, or lack of control of anger. example: frequent displays of temper, constant anger, or recurrent physical fights.
5. recurrent suicidal threats, gestures, or behavior, or self-mutilating behaviors.
6. marked and persistent identity disturbance manifested by uncertainty in at least two of the following: self-image, sexual orientation, long-term goals or career choice, type of friends desired, preferred values.
7. chronic feelings of emptiness or boredom.
8. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.

Borderline Personalities are difficult to deal with in psychotherapy. Because they are so suspicious and manipulative, they have trouble developing a positive working relationship with a therapist. Consequently, they tend to switch from one therapist to another over and over again, rarely sticking with it long enough to be successful.

As a person living with BPD, it's not easy. Out of these 8 criterias...I have all 8. When I first found out that I had BPD, a year and a half ago (1997) I didn't know anything. I took psychology for my senior year and this paper is what I wrote my final on. I learned what BPD is and how to live with it. It's not easy, but having friends "semi-understand" makes it a little easier. Also, having a therapist you can work with is a positive thing.

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