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10 Myths and Facts About Borderline Personality Disorder

10 Myths and Facts About Borderline Personality Disorder

Have you ever heard the term, “Borderline Personality Disorder”? If you have, you may not know exactly what it means.

Whilst this mental health condition is severe and life-altering, there is still an incredible amount of misinformation out there.

With misinformation comes untrue stereotypes and negative stigmatisation, making someone living with borderline personality disorder’s life even harder. 

To break the stigma of mental illness we must talk and educate ourselves, not only on what borderline personality disorder is but what myths are still widely believed today. From there, we can (gently) correct others and personally alleviate the burdens misinformation can bring to someone living with BPD.

Let’s look at some of the top 10 myths and facts surrounding borderline personality disorder so we can create a more educated and compassionate society.

Starting Basic: What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder, or BPD is first and foremost, a personality disorder. You may be living with a personality disorder if you often feel extremely unsure about yourself, and others.

In addition, BPD is a mental illness that severely impacts a person’s ability to regulate their emotions. They may feel as though every day is a rollercoaster, as they battle unpredictable mood swings, impulsive behaviours, and a sense of insecurity.

Someone with borderline personality disorder feels intense emotional turmoil during periods of stress and may find it exceptionally hard to return to a baseline mood after an emotionally charged event.

Due to this instability, many individuals living with BPD struggle with self-harm, risky behaviours, distorted self-image, chronic feelings of emptiness, dissociation, uncontrollable anger, periods of depression or anxiety, and rocky personal relationships.

Top 10 Myths About Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is a broad condition that can greatly impact an individual’s mood, relationships, self-image, values, and more. Let’s discuss the top 10 myths (and facts) when it comes to borderline personality disorder.

1  Borderline Personality Disorder Is Untreatable

Whilst treatment for BPD is by no means easy, it is certainly doable. Talking therapies are seen as the most effective method of treatment as they can help an individual address negative thoughts, while rewiring their neuropathways.

Dialectical behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, inner child therapy, counselling, and medications are all great options for someone living with BPD.

2  People With Borderline Personality Disorder Cannot Live Independent Lives

Despite the many challenges that come with living with BPD, many people can find treatment plans, medications, and coping techniques that allow them to live full, independent lives. Whilst symptoms such as risky behaviours and self-harm are dangerous, a large majority of individuals living with BPD are high functioning.

3  Borderline Personality Disorder Is Purely Attention Seeking

I’m sure many people living with BPD would like to believe they could turn their behaviours on and off, but this isn’t the case. People with borderline personality disorder may act out in many ways, but not because they want to. BPD is an uncomfortable condition to live with. If they are acting out in ways that may seem attention seeking, it is due to an incredible desperation to feel well.

4  Those With Borderline Personality Disorder Do Not Complete Suicide

Every suicide threat should be taken seriously. When it comes to the BPD community, 10% of individuals living with borderline personality disorder commit suicide in the UK alone. Those who do not, often engage in self-harming behaviours or suicidal ideation.

5  Having Borderline Personality Disorder Is a Choice

Think about the symptoms of borderline personality disorder: mood swings, extreme feelings of emptiness, mistrust of others, emotional dysregulation… Individuals living with BPD would never willingly choose to feel this way. This is a common misconception that can prevent someone from ever seeking help.

6  Individuals With Borderline Personality Disorder Are Dangerous

While uncontrollable anger is certainly a symptom of BPD, many individuals will hurt themselves before they hurt anyone else. Entertainment television and Hollywood movies have depicted someone with a mental illness as dangerous for decades, perpetuating the stigma against someone with BPD.

7  Borderline Personality Disorder Isn’t a Valid Diagnosis

For decades, borderline personality disorder has been formally acknowledged as a mental health condition in both the DSM (used in the United States and other countries) as well as the ICD (used in the United Kingdom). BPD is a medical diagnosis listed under mental, behavioural, and neurodevelopmental disorders.

8  Borderline Personality Disorder is Rare

This common misconception is far from the truth. In fact, 1 in every 100 people living in the UK has borderline personality disorder. Not only this, but 1 in every 20 people living in the UK has some sort of personality disorder.

9  Only Women Have Borderline Personality Disorder

While women do make up most individuals living with BPD, it is incorrect to assume only women have borderline personality disorder. Around 25% of those diagnosed are men, however the number may be higher as males are less likely to seek treatment.

Men with BPD often display aggressive behaviours and uncontrollable anger, whereas women tend to lean towards the emotional side of BPD.

10  Borderline Personality Disorder is Caused by Childhood Trauma

While yes, childhood trauma can cause borderline personality disorder, it is not the only cause.

According to the NHS, there are quite a few reasons BPD may develop:

  • Family genetics
  • Problems with certain neurotransmitters (such as serotonin)
  • Problems with brain development
  • Environmental factors
Key Takeaways

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health condition that can have serious impacts on an individual’s life.

From fear of abandonment, intense emotions, insecurity, and a difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, those with BPD have many challenges they face on a daily basis.

However, there are many harmful myths that exist that are simply untrue. Despite these difficulties, an individual living with BPD can still overcome their diagnosis through treatment, medication, and a loving support system. They can go on to fulfil their goals, raise a family, and live enriching lives.

Understanding how harmful these myths are is the first step in creating a society that is not only more educated on BPD, but more compassionate.

Orchestrate Health offers bespoke mental health services that people can access from the comfort of their own home or within their community, with rapid response times and even daily visits if needed. Orchestrate Health can provide help for those struggling with borderline personality disorder, and remove the inconvenience of travelling to and from appointments.






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