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Borderline Personality Disorder and its Effect on Families

Borderline Personality Disorder and its Effect on Families, diagnosed with BDP,

Borderline personality was a relatively new mental health disorder when it was first introduced in the United States in 1938. Originally, the concept traveled to North America from Europe. The psychologist who coined the name was searching for a phrase to describe individuals with behaviors that bordered on both the psychotic and the psychoneurotic. Below you can get a better idea of what each type of behavior can entail.

Common Psychoneurotic Disorders:

  • Anxiety disorders 
  • Chronic fatigue disorders
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Common Psychotic Disorders and Behaviors:

  • Schizophrenia and related illnesses
  • Substance-induced psychotic disorder
  • Mood swings or other mood disorders like depression
  • Manic episodes

You can see that both types of disorders can involve symptoms related to anxiety, trauma, and mood disorders. 

By the 1970s, psychologists were observing more and more patients who consistently showed a blending of these symptoms. Their behaviors and the general framework of their lives were characterized by instability and a disturbed self-image. These people were frequently recorded shifting abruptly from confident emotional highs to devastating depression. Mood swings, a severe fear of abandonment, and noted habits of suicidal ideation or self-harm were also common experiences for these patients. 

The other striking commonality in borderline personalities was comorbidity or the presence of two or more mental health illnesses at once. Health professionals saw that their borderline patients also typically suffered from depression, eating disorders, and PTSD. 

Today, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a well-known mental illness that negatively influences a person’s emotional regulation and management. Think of BPD as forcing someone to lose control of their emotions and impulses. It often strains and even destroys relationships with others along with the self. BPD is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Viewing almost everything in extremes
  • A phobia of rejection or abandonment that causes abrupt ends to relationships or diving too deeply into them too soon
  • A considerably distorted and unstable self-image 
  • Patterns of intense but ultimately unstable familial, platonic, and romantic relationships
  • Risky, impulsive behavior such as unprotected sex, poor money management, and substance abuse or misuse
  • Chronic and inappropriate feelings of anger, emptiness, suicidal desire, and dissociation 

How Borderline Personality Disorder Affects Families

The presence of BPD in a family member can have devastating effects on the family unit. Many individuals with BPD create patterns of conflict at home due to their illness. They tend to position themselves in competition rather than cooperation with family members. They also frequently participate in triangulation, which involves manipulating or drawing a third person into an argument or conflict to gang up on or attack an ‘opponent.’  

It’s also common for family members to report feeling like they’re completely at the mercy of the person’s emotions and moods. They can experience feelings of being trapped or held hostage within the relationship—as if strapped into an emotional rollercoaster that never ends.  

The good news is that with education, group and individual therapy, and at-home changes that strengthen the family unit, family members and friends can reach a rewarding, healthy space for their relationship with someone who has BPD. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment With Miramont Behavioral Health

Miramont Behavioral Health Center is well-versed in dual-diagnosis situations. They’re commonly seen at our Wisconsin facilities, and we’re equipped to effectively treat people of all ages who suffer from BPD and other common co-occurring illnesses like substance use disorder (SUD), depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. We offer the following evidence-based, integrated treatment plans that are known to ease BPD symptoms and solidify healthy coping skills for the future:

  • Individual, recreational, and group therapy
  • Family support services and education 
  • Comprehensive medical and physical evaluations
  • Trauma-informed care and evidence-based programming
  • Personalized care plans 

When you choose Miramont, you’re opting for a diverse set of inpatient, outpatient, and after-care options that will position you to be the best version of yourself despite your BPD diagnosis. We find that our clients with advanced borderline gravitate toward and thrive in outpatient day treatment plans, where they can receive extensive care 3 days a week. 

Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder Near Waukesha and Middleton, WI

If you or your loved one has recently been diagnosed with BDP, don’t panic. Many people with the disorder manage it well daily and enjoy fulfilling, functional, and stable lives. It’s a shock, yes—but no one is perfect. You are not to blame for BPD and its effects, but you are capable of mitigating both. Don’t hesitate to contact us at any point to turn over a new emotional leaf that allows you to live outside the confines of BPD.  

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About programs offered at Miramont Behavioral Health

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