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Borderline Personality Disorder: Myth vs. Fact

Borderline Personality Disorder is a behavioral health condition that impacts a person’s ability to manage their emotions. Some common signs of Borderline Personality Disorder can include suicidal ideation, fear of abandonment, impulsivity, and difficulty managing change. Because of its complexity, Borderline Personality Disorder can sometimes be misdiagnosed as other conditions, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), or Bipolar Disorder. Not unlike many other behavioral health concerns, its multi-faceted symptoms have resulted in many harmful myths and misconceptions.

Myth: People with Borderline Personality Disorder are incapable of having stable relationships

Truth: “It can be more difficult, yes, but people with this condition are not incapable,” says Ken Lass, Ken Lass PhD Psychologist at Centerstone. With proper treatment, and open communication, while more challenging, a healthy relationship is possible.

Myth: People with Borderline Personality Disorder are extremely difficult to treat

Truth: Because some people with Borderline Personality Disorder have a diagnosis as a result of past trauma, they may experience difficulty trusting their therapist, which can slow their progress. However, effective treatment is possible.

Myth: There are no good treatment options for Borderline Personality Disorder

Truth: Many mental health professionals have found success with Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) treatment. DBT utilizes distress tolerance skills to help people manage and regulate their emotions through practices like mindfulness, deep breathing, and self-talk. Though DBT is most common, providers have also seen success with Interpersonal Therapy, which is trauma-based. This type of therapy explores a person’s history and trauma experiences, and dives deeper into how they developed Borderline Personality Disorder.

Medication can also sometimes be helpful in treating symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder such as depression and anxiety. However, medication alone isn’t as effective which is why therapy is a more common treatment.

Myth: People can only develop Borderline Personality Disorder as a result of trauma

Truth: Trauma creates a higher likelihood of the diagnosis, but it is not the only reason someone may develop it. If someone has experienced trauma, it doesn’t mean they’re going to develop a personality disorder. On the other hand, a personality disorder isn’t necessarily the result of a trauma experience.

Myth: People with Borderline Personality Disorder can’t live independent lives

Truth: Many adults with this diagnosis work and have productive day-to-day lives. “With proper treatment, an independent life is more than possible,” adds Lass. However, substance use can be more common for someone with Borderline Personality Disorder because they may use it  as a coping mechanism, so consistent support and treatment is key to healthy independence.

Myth: Only women can have Borderline Personality Disorder

Truth: While it is true that more women are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, men can develop this disorder as well. The ratio of this diagnosis is about 75% women to about 25% men.

Though Borderline Personality Disorder is a complex diagnosis, a happy and fulfilled life is possible. If you or someone you know shows signs of a Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis, Centerstone can help. To learn more about how Centerstone’s treatment options, visit our counseling services page, or call us 877-HOPE123 (1-877-467-3123).

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