Warning Signs And Complications Of Borderline Personality Disorder

April 30, 2024

Borderline personality disorder is a severe mental illness with a significant impact on how patients view themselves and those around them. This disorder comes with patterns of unstable relationships, extreme emotions, impulsive behaviors, and a distorted sense of self. Patients with borderline personality disorder tend to have intense fears of instability and abandonment. They may have a hard time with solitude. At the same time, they may experience inappropriate anger and emotions toward those around them.

Borderline personality disorder treatment is necessary for many patients to have healthy and satisfying lives. A variety of psychotherapy for borderline personality disorder is often used. Although there is no cure for borderline personality disorder, medications such as antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants are common strategies to manage it.

Extreme Mood Swings

One of borderline personality disorder's most defining characteristics is extreme mood swings. Patients with this condition may sometimes be mistakenly diagnosed with bipolar disorder or another mood disorder. However, the emotions in bipolar disorder tend to present differently. Bipolar disorder patients experience highs and lows over long periods. Even rapid-cycling bipolar involves mood changes over weeks, rather than hours.

Meanwhile, individuals with borderline personality disorder may swing wildly from one mood to another during one conversation. They may lash out with seemingly-unprovoked anger, then be giddy within the hour, and then have a severe downturn in emotions again. Borderline personality disorder can cause patients to experience their emotions as extreme highs and lows. Environmental triggers that would usually cause stress instead cause extreme depression or upset. Conflict results in uncontrollable rage and even positive emotions can be heightened to impulsive behavior.

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Pattern Of Intense And Unstable Relationships

Borderline personality disorder patients tend to have a pattern of intense, unstable relationships with others. One intense relationship is not enough for a diagnosis. However, if an individual's relationships tend to become unstable and fragmented regardless of who the other party is, it may be partially caused by the individual's unhealthy approach to relationships. Individuals with borderline personality disorder can sometimes look for validation and happiness in others, believing themselves incapable of validating themselves or being happy on their own. They may become excessively attached to others and idealize them. When the individual they are attached to makes a mistake or falls short of expectations, it leads to a fracturing of the relationship and turbulent conflict. If the other party decides to break off the relationship because they are too emotionally drained, it can cause a patient to experience intense self-loathing and unhappiness.

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Episodes Of Paranoia

Episodes of paranoia are common in individuals with borderline personality disorder. This paranoia can also lead to misdiagnoses, sometimes of bipolar I, schizophrenia, and other mood or psychotic disorders. The paranoia tends to be brought on by stress. These periods of paranoia can last anywhere from several minutes to several hours. However, it is rare for them to continue for more than twenty-four hours at a time. If a patient finds out someone important to them has been hiding something from them, they may become convinced everyone is hiding things. They may also conclude that other individuals are keeping secrets or conspiring against them by misinterpreting behavioral cues, leading to a great deal of tension and conflict.

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Disconnect From Reality

Individuals with borderline personality disorder may experience a disconnect from reality. This may occur in conjunction with paranoid episodes, and stress often triggers it. It is common to have continuing feelings of emptiness or apathy. This emptiness often contributes to the fear of abandonment and feeling it is impossible to be happy while alone. When losing contact with reality, patients may react to others in paranoid ways or experience delusions. Delusions are a form of psychosis in which individuals strongly believe in ideas that are not real. It is also common for borderline personality disorder patients to dissociate. Dissociation is a feeling of separation from the self. It can make individuals feel like they exist 'outside' their body, like they cannot touch their emotions, are not in contact with the world, or they do not even exist. Dissociation can be distressing, but it can also come with a sense of detachment and apathy that may alarm others.

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Repeated Job Changes

One common complication of untreated borderline personality disorder is repeated job changes. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, the emotional volatility of the disorder can cause relationships with coworkers to become fraught. It may be challenging to keep up a job that requires individuals to work regularly with others. However, borderline personality disorder patients may change jobs frequently, even if they are self-employed or do not have to interact much with others. This condition often includes rapid changes in self-image and self-identity. An individual's values and goals may change. Rather than having one career path or interest, an individual with borderline personality disorder might start new jobs as soon as something new catches their interest. On top of this, the impulsive behavior associated with borderline personality disorder makes patients more likely to quit their jobs on a whim than neurotypical individuals.

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