Walking a Difficult Line: Taking a Look at Borderline Personality Disorder

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Walking a Difficult Line: Taking a Look at Borderline Personality Disorder

Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) live a difficult existence. These are people for whom maintaining normal interpersonal relationships, controlling anger, suffer from extreme self-doubt and drastic mood swings, among other symptoms. They comprise only 2% of the population, but have a disorder which the psychiatric and scientific communities have trouble acknowledging, and great difficulty treating. (4)

Individuals suffering from BPD suffer a range of symptoms which include the following: dramatic mood changes, depression, irritability, uncontrollable anger, negative impulsiveness (which includes reckless sex, substance abuse, binging),
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This is due to the fact that the nature of this psychological disorder affects the patient’s interpersonal skills, which is the basis of therapeutic treatment. Psychiatrists and psychologists find it near impossible to work with patients suffering from BPD because they have little ability to maintain a stable working relationship with anyone (and certainly not a therapist) and their intense mood swings and anger control issues, among other characteristics, are "...likely to lead to clinician burnout...". (3) This is an obvious frustration for any family member or friend of a BPD individual, who wants nothing more than to have their loved seek out and be successful at getting help to treat their disorder. The is also evidence that medication diagnosed for specific symptoms of the individual with BPD can help, however, the administering and monitoring of psychotropic drugs is usually done in conjunction with some form of psychotherapy, which remains the problem site of treatment. (6)(3)

Because of the difficulties in treating BPD patients, there are very few psychotherapists and psychologists who will work with them. Also, there is still relatively little known about this disorder and little research has been conducted in comparison with other severe mental disorders. (3)

There has been one breakthrough in treatment, however, by Dr. Marsha Linehan, a Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington. Her
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