Borderline Personality Disorder: Myths and Facts

Mental health conditions like borderline personality disorder (BPD) are often misunderstood. Unfortunately, this perpetuates many myths and misconceptions about the disorder and how people with it live their lives. This is especially true in the case of affluent people. 

Outsiders might think that people with borderline personality disorder are just acting up or are attention-seeking, but the truth is that it is beyond their control. Without appropriate treatment and professional medical advice, those with the disorder find it difficult to regulate and control their emotions. 

Instead of being inundated with myths, individuals with borderline personality disorder need love and support. One of the best ways to better understand this disorder is by taking a look at the most common misconceptions surrounding it.

BPD Cannot Be Treated

Though there is no set cure for borderline personality disorder, various treatments can help people manage their symptoms. Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT), mood stabilisers, and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) are just a few treatments that support those living with the disorder to cope better.

In some cases, treatment might involve staying at an inpatient clinic that specialises in mood disorders. This is especially effective if a person requires around the clock care and support.

BPD Is Caused by Trauma

Though this is not exactly a myth, it is important to note that personality disorders are not caused by trauma alone. Although childhood trauma and environmental factors like sexual abuse and neglect are leading causes in the development of borderline personality disorder, other factors also play a part.

Some other causes of BPD include:

  • Social Factors. If a child grows up in an environment where many people have mental health conditions like borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder, the chance of them receiving a diagnosis is higher.
  • Genetics. A person is more likely to develop BPD if they have a family history of mental health disorders. 
  • Brain Development. Researchers who have studied the brains of people with BPD using MRI scans have found that the majority have lower brain activity levels. It is also thought that those with BPD have problems regulating brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) like serotonin. 

BPD Is Rare 

It is important to note that mental health conditions like borderline personality disorder are not common. After all, they produce atypical symptoms and levels of functioning. However, this does not mean that BPD is rare. In total, it is estimated that up to 1.6% of the general population lives with borderline personality disorder.

People With BPD Cannot Live Independently 

One of the many misconceptions surrounding BPD and mental disorders is that they limit a person’s life. Many people seem to believe that those with BPD cannot live independently and that they will always need assistance. However, this is not true.

In most cases, those with BPD lead fulfilling lives once they have received adequate treatment and support. After all, the whole point of treatment is to equip clients with the tools and resources needed to manage their symptoms better.

borderline personality disorder myths and facts

People With BPD Are Just Attention-Seekers

It is easy for outsiders to label people with BPD or other mental health conditions as attention-seekers. Their behaviour might be challenging or irrational at times, especially as angry outbursts, anxiety, and mood swings are common symptoms of borderline personality disorder. This myth might be common, but it is incredibly damaging.

Those with BPD act the way they do because they cannot regulate their emotions appropriately, but that is not something they should be blamed for. This is another reason why it is so important to teach people about mental health care – limiting rumours and misinformation will help people with mental health disorders feel as though they can speak up and seek help. After all, people with BPD need love, care, and support, not judgement or blame.

BPD Is a Choice

Another common myth is that borderline personality disorder is a choice. As with any mental health condition, people with BPD do not choose to have the disorder. Instead, environmental, genetic, and social factors contribute to its development.

It is easy to see why so many fall into this myth, though, as people with BPD often exhibit challenging behaviours. Some people might think that these behaviours are just part of a person’s personality and that they can easily change it if they try hard enough, but BPD is a lot more complicated than that.

Only Women Have BPD

Though it is true that the majority of those who receive a BPD diagnosis are women, it is a myth that borderline personality disorder only affects one gender.

There are already many stigmas attached to men and mental illness, and misconceptions like this only make it more difficult for them to seek treatment. They might feel worried about being judged by their family or society, just like women might worry that they are stereotyped because of their disorder.

You Cannot Receive Inpatient Treatment for BPD

There are many clinics that provide inpatient treatment for people with BPD. This particular treatment option is usually recommended in cases where therapy or medication has not had any noticeable effect.

People With BPD Do Not Commit Suicide 

People with BPD are prone to suicidal thoughts and behaviours, yet a lot of people often label this as attention-seeking. This is a dangerous myth as it can lead many people with a mental illness like BPD to go without treatment. It can also cause self-harm to be ignored and overlooked by those around them.

As with any mental illness, all suicide attempts or thoughts should be taken seriously – particularly if a person has already tried to attempt suicide.

BPD Does Not Affect Affluent People

Mental illness does not just swerve certain groups of people or societies. Just because someone is wealthy does not mean their life is perfect.

It is the same with borderline personality disorder – affluent people are as susceptible to developing BPD as the average person.

People With BPD Are Dangerous

Some of the most common BPD symptoms are mood swings and angry outbursts, often making it difficult for people to control or regulate their emotions. This behaviour can seem alarming to those who do not understand the disorder.

The truth is, people with BPD are much less a danger to others and more a danger to themselves. Up to 10% of those diagnosed with BPD commit suicide – proof that the disorder is more damaging to the individual than people around them.

Discreet BPD Treatment at Addcounsel

At Addcounsel, we understand just how difficult it can be to seek treatment for BPD. After all, those living with mental illnesses do not want to be judged or risk scarring their reputation. However, the reality is that treatment via mental health professionals is the only way anyone can move on and live the best life possible.

We understand the needs of our clients and will always strive to provide a treatment service that is discreet and private whilst catering to each person’s lifestyle.

If you would like to learn more about our treatments or services, contact our care team today. They will be more than happy to walk you through the admissions process and answer any questions you might have.

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