When Pete Davidson was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), he did what any comedian would do: he used his vulnerability and humor to raise awareness and encourage others to get help, just like he did. Pete is a cast member on Saturday Night Live, and on the show’s segment, Weekend Update, Colin Jost interviewed him about what it was like to receive the BPD diagnosis and seek treatment for it. He had this to say to others who may be struggling, “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 be the most practical, but the first part is fantastic. Reaching out for help and seeking care are often important steps in healing. BPD is a difficult diagnosis to hear, but many of its symptoms can be mitigated through mental health care. Therapy for BPD has helped many people regain the balance they need after a BPD diagnosis.
The therapists at Thriveworks in Raleigh offer treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder. We have seen the instability that BPD can cause in an individual’s life, but we have also seen how the disorder’s symptoms can be managed so that people can live their own life.
Borderline Personality Disorder’s Symptoms and Signs
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) classifies ten different mental illnesses into a category it calls personality disorders. There are each marked by maladaptive behavior, but each has a unique flare. Borderline Personality Disorder’s uniqueness is characterized by volatility. People with BPD often experience instability in their relationships, emotions, and even their identity.
“It is as if my life were magically run by two electric currents: joyous positive and despairing negative —whichever is running at the moment dominates my life, floods it.” — The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath
BPD’s volatility shows itself through symptoms and signs like…
- Swinging between emotional extremes: euphoria and irritability, anxiety and happiness, and so forth.
- Many broken and turbulent relationships: often, people with BPD idealize other people and then vilify them when they do not live up to expectations.
- Shifting between different identities, goals, and values quickly.
- Difficulty receiving any kind of criticism, exclusion, or rejection (even healthy ones, such as constructive criticism).
- Being afraid of separation or abandonment and taking extreme action in response to a real or perceived threat of either.
- Participating in risky, careless behavior that could sabotage one’s well-being such as gambling, daredevil driving, unsafe sex, self-sabotage, spending sprees, binge eating, drug use, et cetera.
- Threatening or attempting suicide or self-injuries as a coping mechanism for rejection, criticism, or fear.
- Outbursts of anger, sarcasm, bitterness and other forms of belligerence.
- The on-going feeling of being empty.
BPD Risk Factors
Mental health professionals do not know exactly why Borderline Personality Disorder develops in some people but not other. It is estimated that in between 1 and 2 percent of people in the US have BPD, and certain social, physical, genetic, and environmental factors can increase an individual’s risk of the disorder developing, things like…
- Loss of a caregiver or parent as a child.
- Experiencing childhood trauma (particularly sexual, emotional, or physical abuse by a parent or caregiver).
- A reduced hippocampus size (region of the brain that manages emotion and stress responses).
- A genetic history of mental illness, especially BPD.
BPD’s Treatment Options
A quick glance at BPD’s symptoms shows the harm it can cause, but it is important to note that these symptoms are not inevitable. These symptoms may be manage and the harm mitigated with therapy. Dialectical Behavior Therapy is at treatment that was cultivated to treat BPD specifically. It teaches healing skills like…
- Emotional regulation – this skill helps people process their emotions in a way that is healthy and helpful to them instead of overwhelming them or sabotaging them.
- Distress tolerance – it is normal to experience setbacks, letdowns, obstacles, and adversity in life. Distress tolerance is the skill that allows people to respond with resiliency to the rougher edges of life.
- Mindfulness – is the skill of paying attention to oneself without judgment for what one finds. Mindfulness notices random thoughts, bodily sensations, fleeting feelings, and more. It takes note of what is happening.
- Interpersonal effectiveness – relationships matter for mental health, and interpersonal effectiveness focuses upon teaching people the skills they need to establish healthy relationships in the community, at the office, and at home.
Thriveworks Offers Therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder in Raleigh, NC
Did you recognize any of the symptoms of BPD within your own life? Maybe your own volatile behavior is confusing. If so, consider reaching out for help. Maybe you have been diagnosed with BPD but have not sought treatment yet. If so, consider reaching out for help. Thriveworks Counseling in Raleigh, NC offers therapy for BPD, and we have appointments available. When you contact our office, a real person (a Scheduling Specialist) will answer and help you find an appointment time. We offer evening and weekend sessions. New clients often have their first session within 24 hours of their first call. We also accept many different insurance plans. Call today.