While clinicians perceive mood disorders as curable and sympathy-evoking illnesses, BPD patients are considered more problematic, and are held accountable for their suicidal behaviors.
Psychiatrists’ Fear of Death Linked to Negative Feelings Towards Certain Patients
Around The Web July 11, 2015
A survey of 120 psychiatrists published in Psychiatry Research found that the more psychiatrists fear death, the more negative emotions they have towards people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
A team of Israeli researchers conducted statistical analyses on answers from psychiatrists to survey questions about their attitudes towards death generally and to suicide, and about their attitudes towards patients diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. “In line with the hypothesis that fear of death would contribute to negative emotions toward BPD patients, psychiatrists’ fear of death greatly contributed to negative emotions toward BPD, as it explained half of the variance of the entire model, even after controlling for professional experience with BPD and for attitudes toward suicide and death,” they write.
The researchers suggest that people diagnosed with borderline personality disorder are people who often present particular types of challenges to psychiatrists. “Among the psychiatric diagnoses, suicide mortality in borderline personality disorder (BPD) is similar to that of mood disorders,” they write. “However, while clinicians perceive mood disorders as curable and sympathy-evoking illnesses, BPD patients are considered more problematic, and are held accountable for their suicidal behaviors. Such patients often tend to undermine the therapeutic process, may turn members of staff against each other, have high drop-out rates from therapy, and exhibit acting out episodes that may cause psychiatrists a sense of professional impotence.”