Borderline Personality Disorder,  DBT,  Emotions

Fight Stigma: Facts about Borderline Personality Disorder

Myths about BPD abound. Part of fighting the stigma is to know the facts.

Bon: From one of my favorite sources – Karen Hall’s Emotionally Sensitive Person blog.

Fight Stigma: Facts about Borderline Personality Disorder
By Karyn Hall, PhD

May is Borderline Personality Awareness Month. To fight the stigma that is so difficult for individuals with mental illness and particularly for individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), I encourage you to learn more about the disorder. Stigma can be devastating to individuals who are already struggling with intensely painful emotions and a fear of not belonging or fitting in. Stigma also can stop individuals from getting the help that is available or in continuing in treatment.

Myths about BPD abound. Part of fighting the stigma is to know the facts.

Myth: Individuals with BPD Are Dangerous.

Individuals with BPD are some of the most caring individuals you could meet. They have intense emotions that arise quickly. They can anger quickly and be most expressive with their anger. These intense emotions, including anger, typically pose a danger for the individual with BPD rather than for others. By far the majority of individuals with BPD are dangerous only to themselves. Their intense emotions may lead to self-harm and/or suicide attempts.

Because individuals with BPD have intense emotions and may act impulsively without thinking through the consequences, that can be unsettling to others. This impulsivity may also contribute to the view that individuals with BPD have no self-control. The fact is that individuals with BPD do have self-control. They often go to great lengths to manage their emotions. When they are overwhelmed they may act in ways that are not helpful or effective, but rarely in a way that is dangerous to others.

Myth: Only Women have BPD

For many years borderline personality disorder was believed to be more prevalent in women than men, with about a 3 to 1 ratio. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a guide to diagnoses used by clinicians and created by the American Psychiatric Association, has consistently reported that the diagnosis is more prevalent in women


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