When Pete Davidson received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD), he did what any comedian and cast member of Saturday Night Live would have done: Pete used humor and kindness to spread awareness. During SNL’s segment Weekend Update, Colin Jost interviewed Pete about what he is experiencing and how he is seeking treatment for BPD. Pete let people know how hard the disorder has been for him, but how much treatment has helped. He also encouraged others to seek help when they need it, saying, “First of all, if you think you’re depressed, see a doctor and talk to them about medication, and also be healthy. Eating right and exercise can make a huge difference. And finally, if you are in the cast of a late-night comedy show, it might help, if they, ya know, do more of your sketches.”
That last piece of advice may not apply to many people, but the first part is important. BPD can harm the way an individual thinks about themselves and how they relate to others. However, many people who go to therapy for borderline personality disorder are able to manage their symptoms effectively and live a healthy, happy life.
The therapists, psychiatrists, and other licensed providers at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO have worked with many clients, helping them find treatment for borderline personality disorder. We have seen the difference a holistic and personalized treatment plan can make when an individual has BPD.
What Is BPD?
The criteria for diagnosing borderline personality disorder is outline in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). The DSM-5 categorizes BPD as one of ten personality disorders that can develop. Personality disorders are characterized by maladaptive behavior that often undermines an individual’s ability to function well in their personal or professional lives. BPD is distinguished from the other personality disorders by how it can cause instability in an individual’s emotions, identity, and relationships.
“This heart of mine has just two setting: nothing at all or too much.
There is no in between.”
What Are the Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder?
The symptoms of BPD can begin as people are in the late-teens to early adulthood years. Such symptoms include the following:
- A deep-seated fear of being forsaken, abandoned, or left behind, and going to great lengths to avoid any kind of separation.
- A pattern of intense, rocky relationships. BPD can cause people to idealize others and then sink into deep disappointment when those unrealistic expectations are not met.
- Shifting easily and often between different goals, identities, values, and perceptions.
- Living with times of paranoia that may last for minutes to hours wherein people lose touch with reality.
- A sensitivity to being criticized, even to healthy, constructive criticism.
- Putting oneself in danger unnecessarily through impulsive and risky actions like daredevil driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, gambling, drug use, self-sabotage, binge eating, and more.
- Attempting or threatening to attempt suicide or self-injury as a way to cope with criticism, fear, or rejection.
- Fluctuating between extreme emotions: euphoria and irritation, happiness and anger, desperation and delight.
- An ongoing feeling of emptiness.
- Belligerence—outburst of anger, sarcasm, and bitterness.
What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?
Nearly 2 percent of the US population is affected by borderline personality disorder. It is three times as likely to be diagnosed in women as it is to be diagnosed in men, although mental health professionals believe it is under-diagnosed in men. There are certain social, environmental, and genetic factors that can increase an individual’s risk of BPD, such as the following:
- Experiencing trauma in one’s childhood (particularly sexual, emotional, or physical abuse from a parent or caregiver)
- A genetic history of mental illness
- Experiencing the death of a parent or caregiver as a child
- A reduced hippocampus size (region of the brain that regulates stress responses and emotion)
A licensed therapist at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO can help clients understand how they might have developed borderline personality disorder, and how they might treat their symptoms effectively so they can achieve their goals.
How Is BPD Treated?
When people are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, there are a number of treatment options available to them, including different types of therapies and medications. Thriveworks therapists in Littleton, CO might use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, or even emotional skills training that might help teach the following:
- Emotional regulation: the ability to know what one is feeling, process it, and respond accordingly.
- Mindfulness: growing one’s awareness of one’s body, feelings, thoughts, and more. Its focus is to pay attention to oneself without judging what one finds.
- Distress tolerance: similar to resiliency. Life is full of disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks. Distress tolerance allows people to respond to the ups and downs of life in a healthy way.
- Interpersonal effectiveness: increases an individual’s ability to function well in a wide variety of relationships. It gives people the skills they need to pursue professional connections, family harmony, deep friendships, acquaintances, romantic partners, and more.
Schedule a Session to Talk About Borderline Personality Disorder at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO
If you recognized any of the symptoms of BPD that you read about, it may be time to reach out. Help is available, and many who work with a therapist are often able to manage the symptoms and live the life they want—not the unstable life that BPD often tries to dictate. The fully licensed providers at Thriveworks in Littleton, CO have appointments available, and when you call our office, you may be meeting with a counselor the following day. We offer evening and weekend sessions, but we do not put our clients on a waitlist. Instead, we want them to have the support they need when they need it. Thriveworks also accepts many different insurance plans. Call today. We look forward to hearing from you.