Although BPD was just as frequent, impairing and lethal — if not more — as bipolar disorder, it receives a tenth of the research funding.
Advocacy needed for borderline personality disorder
Dane Wanniarachige, Windsor, Ont.
August 4, 2015
Experts say that lack of advocacy for patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) means it garners scant attention or resources and insufficient funding for research. One family says these shortfalls cost them their daughter’s life.
Four years after her first suicide attempt Sasha Menu Courey was finally diagnosed with BPD and given treatment. People with BPD have poor ability to regulate their emotions, which leads to amplification of all feelings — anger, fear, happiness, sadness — sometimes to unbearable levels.
This emotional dysregulation, experienced by 0.5%–5.9% of the population, according to a 2011 Lancet article, manifests itself in a number of ways. Patients may experience a lack of self-identity, trouble with relationships and a severe fear of abandonment. To be diagnosed with BPD, a person must experience at least five of the nine key symptoms.
Risky, impulsive behaviour such as substance or alcohol abuse, and suicidal or self-injuring behaviour are the most dangerous features. About 75% of patients with BPD self-harm and about 10% eventually end their own lives.
Despite the severity of the disorder, Dr. Mark Zimmerman, a researcher and professor at Brown Alpert Medical School in Rhode Island, said that BPD is under-funded, under-recognized and often misdiagnosed.