During the last several decades, borderline personality disorder (BPD) remains one of the frequently discussed topics from theoretical and clinical perspectives. This severe mental disease is characterized by behavioral and emotional instability, uncertainty in relationship development, and poor self-image. Its onset is usually observed in adolescence or emerging adulthood. It has to be diagnosed at the early stage because patients may demonstrate dangerous behaviors and promote self-harm.
Annually, about 1.6% of people regardless of their gender are diagnosed with BPD (National Health Service, 2016). Being a serious mental illness in adolescent patients, a borderline personality disorder is marked by such signs as mood changes, impulsive actions, and viewing the world in extremes and has to be timely diagnosed through interviews or medical exams and properly treated with the help of psychotherapy.
Symptoms and Causes of BPD
To help people with BPD, nurses should know and be able to recognize its signs and causes. The main symptoms of mental health disorder include the disturbing sense of identity (self-image), unexpected and unexplainable mood changes, impulsive and dangerous behaviors, chronic anxiety, and chaotic relationships, as well as lifestyle (Chanen & Thompson, 2016). The causes of the development of this condition can be biological and environmental. For example, The National Institute of Mental Health (2017) suggests that such factors as genetics and brain structure involve emotion regulation and the inability to control impulses all the time. Environmental and social factors like personal traumas, abuse, or conflicts also increase the risks of having BPD.
A licensed mental health expert is responsible for diagnosing BPD. It is expected to perform a specialized medical exam, investigate family history, and ask several questions as a part of a thorough interview with a patient (The National Institute of Mental Health, 2017). The discussion of symptoms with a patient is a good chance to learn more about his/her preferences and observe mood change if any. The difficulty in diagnosing BPD is based on the resemblance of this disease to other mental health disorders and the inability to present a successful treatment plan as soon as the first signs occur.
To reduce the possibility of self-harm, BPD patients should immediately begin treatment. The studies developed at the National Health Service (2016) prove the possibility to use psychological and medical treatment approaches. A properly developed care framework has to be discussed with patients and their families to make sure the required help is offered. Psychotherapy is one of the most effective first-line treatment options where therapists teach people with BPD how to interact with each other and develop trustful relationships (The National Institute of Mental Health, 2017).
Chanen and Thompson (2016) do not recommend using medications as a part of therapy unless associated mental conditions are observed, and a patient needs urgent help. Various modes of psychotherapy can be offered to a patient, including dialectical behavioral therapy and mentalization-based therapy that help manage personal thoughts and feelings and make tolerant decisions.
In case a patient follows the chosen treatment plan and completes all the necessary tasks, there is a chance to experience an evident relief in one or two years. With time, BPD people can achieve the desired (or appropriate) functional levels and become reliable members of society. The development of normal social relationships, work, and hobby progress can be identified in people soon, but it is also necessary to control behavioral changes not to allow the same problem to occur with time.
In general, BPD symptoms and causes may vary making this disorder hard for diagnosing. In clinical practices, healthcare workers continue investigating potential risks of this mental health problem. Although there is no particular cure against BPD, patients can use psychotherapy as an effective treatment. Many doctors are challenged by the necessity to identify patients with BPD. Therefore, it is expected to continue working in this field and promoting new interventions that can be used in diagnosing BPD.
Chanen, A. M., & Thompson, K. N. (2016). Prescribing and borderline personality disorder. Australian Prescriber, 39(2), 49-53. Web.
National Health Service. (2016). Overview. Borderline personality disorder. Web.
The National Institute of Mental Health. (2017). Borderline personality disorder. Web.