What Are Misconceptions About Borderline Personality Disorder?

In the world of mental health disorders, there is perhaps none that is greater stigmatized or misunderstood than borderline personality disorder (BPD). Even many mental health professionals hold misconceptions about this disorder, which can impact many of the clients under their care. If you or someone you love has signs of BPD, it’s essential to understand the facts about this mental health disorder.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD affects the way you feel about yourself and how you relate to others around you. Symptoms of this mental health disorder may include:

  • Deep fears of abandonment
  • Rapid changes in identity or self-perception
  • Losing contact with reality
  • Risky behaviors like unprotected sex, reckless driving, gambling, drugs, or making sudden, rash decisions like quitting a job or ending a relationship
  • Suicidal threats or self-harm
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Frequent bouts of intense anger

If you or someone you know has at least five of these symptoms, it's best to consult a medical professional for an official diagnosis.

Can Borderline Personality Disorder Affect Children?

Clinicians often hesitate to diagnose adolescents with BPD due to the teenage years and puberty being a time of turmoil. However, people under the age of 18 can and are diagnosed with BPD, although it is less common in children than in adults.

Is Borderline Personality Disorder a Rare Condition?

BPD is not as rare as many people think. According to McLean Hospital's article “4 Myths About Borderline Personality Disorder,” BPD is more common than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Psychologists estimate that roughly 14 million Americans have some form of BPD.

Are People With Borderline Personality Disorder Survivors of Trauma or Abuse?

Not everyone with BPD is a survivor of trauma or abuse. Understanding this myth will affect how medical professionals treat clients with this mental health disorder. No exact cause for BPD is known, but it is believed to derive from genetics, environment, or both. However, it's not out of the realm of possibility for BPD to be linked with trauma and PTSD.

Does Borderline Personality Disorder Only Affect Women?

In popular culture, it’s common for female characters to display signs of BPD. However, the reality is that men and women are equally likely to develop BPD. This myth exists because there is not as much research on how BPD affects men. This could be because women with BPD are more likely to seek help. Consequently, psychiatric facilities tend to have more female clients, creating the illusion that BPD is a female-only disorder.

Is Borderline Personality Disorder Treatable?

While there is no cure for BPD, the condition is manageable with treatment. Psychotherapy or medication can make a huge difference in clients with symptoms, allowing them to live an otherwise normal, healthy life. However, even if someone does not seek treatment, the symptoms of BPD can change over time. Recovery will not look the same for every person.

Is Borderline Personality Disorder Related to Bipolar Disorder?

BPD is quite different from bipolar disorder, even if some symptoms overlap. Because many healthcare providers lack knowledge of BPD, some clients are misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder instead. From a medical perspective, it’s important to note that medications for bipolar disorder often don’t work for BPD. When seeking treatment, it’s essential to look for a mental health professional with a specific background in treating BPD for the most successful treatment outcomes.

Are People With Borderline Personality Disorder Just Looking for Attention?

No. People with BPD may engage in self-destructive behavior, but this is more of a call for help than attention for attention’s sake. Typically, people with BPD who self-harm will hide their scars or cuts under clothes. The stigma against BPD and self-harm is too real and damaging to risk exposure.

Similarly, any emotional outburst from someone with BPD is due not to a desire for attention but an inability to manage intense feelings. Someone who struggles with BPD is more likely to seem “dramatic” because they are frequently misunderstood. BPD is not a strange personality quirk but a sign of dysfunction with a person’s thought process; their behavior is ruled by emotions rather than rational thought. This can cause reactionary behaviors that seem impulsive and extreme.

Are People With Borderline Personality Disorder Dangerous?

No, they are not. If anything, people with BPD are more inclined to harm themselves than others. While irritability or intense anger are common signs of BPD, this does not automatically equate with being a threat or a danger to others. Instead, people with BPD may be likely to lose patience easily, have bad tempers, or act in a confrontational manner. Unfortunately, the media tends to promote unhealthy and inaccurate stereotypes of people with BPD. If you want to learn more about what life with BPD is really like, it's best to consult a reputable medical journal.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can seem scary or strange when it's not properly understood. The stigmas and misconceptions can prevent people from seeking the help they truly need. If you or someone you love shows signs of BPD, know you are not alone. While frequently misunderstood and misdiagnosed, this disorder is more common than people think. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat BPD. We offer a range of treatments, from behavioral therapies to medications, depending on the severity of your disorder and unique needs and circumstances. We provide a safe, non-judgmental environment for clients with BPD and other mental health disorders to heal. No matter what your symptoms look like, we see you and are here to help. Don't hesitate to reach out for help today by calling Crownview Co-Occurring Institute at (760) 477-4754. We can help you heal.