Why Borderline Personality Disorder Can Give New Meaning to Feeling Intense Emotions

Borderline personality disorder is probably one of the most misunderstood mental health diagnoses. In this post, which was a collaboration between me and another writer, we hope to educate you a bit more on this often misunderstood diagnosis. 

Men and women with borderline personality disorder (BPD) experience intense emotions. Emotions often get supercharged, so what might make another person sad can make them feel extremely depressed and even suicidal, and what makes someone else happy can make them euphoric. Emotions can be so intense that they are all-consuming. They can feel as if they are drowning in the emotion they are experiencing. Even pleasant emotions can be overpowering to the point where they are unbearable. What should people know about this mental health issue and the emotions those with this condition experience?

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Individuals with borderline personality disorder struggle with intense mood swings. They tend to act impulsively and their sense of self isn't stable. The extreme emotions these men and women experience can alter their entire reality. The mood swings often happen rapidly, particularly when the person encounters a social or interpersonal trigger. Social situations can be challenging for them. Holding back the overwhelming emotions once they kick in is hard and won't be of much help. Fortunately, borderline personality disorder treatment options are offered.

The Biological Basis of BPD

Men and women who struggle with borderline personality disorder have structural and functional differences in the brain. The amygdala and prefrontal cortex are two areas of the brain that play a role in emotion regulation. Researchers have noticed differences in these areas in those with BPD, and these differences help explain why those with this disorder have heightened emotional reactivity and find it hard to modulate intense emotional responses

The Positive Aspects of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Those with BPD might find it hard to maintain relationships. They often engage in self-destructive and impulsive behaviors. However, because of the intensity of their emotions, they can be very empathetic and some of them become the type of person that others will flock to for emotional support during challenging times. With a lot of passion, these people can be very creative and craft moving and emotionally evocative pieces of art. Their impulsivity can allow them to be bold and brave and do things others may be too afraid to do. However, these positive aspects can be overshadowed by the challenges of this disorder, and getting help can allow them to let these traits shine without suffering from the negative aspects of their emotional intensity.

BPD Treatment Options

Holding back intense emotions is not something a person with borderline personality disorder does easily. They need help in learning how to regulate their emotions. Many mental health professionals today turn to dialectical behavior therapy when working with these men and women. This therapy is specifically designed for use with those suffering from BPD.

This therapy is aims to help individuals practice radical acceptance of their emotions and situations while fostering positive behavioral change. Proven successful for over 50 years, it treats a range of conditions, including borderline personality disorder, self-harm, eating disorders, PTSD, anxiety, and more.

However, dialectical behavior therapy is only part of the equation. Loved ones of the person struggling with BPD can also help. They must learn more about emotional dysregulation and its underlying causes. While the events that trigger these intense emotions may seem trivial to them, they aren't to the person with BPD. Validating this individual's emotional experiences is of great help.

Marsha Linehan, the creator of DBT, emphasizes the biosocial theory in understanding BPD. She said that people with BPD are naturally more emotionally intense, and then growing up in an invalidating environment together with that is what causes BPD. By validating the emotions, even the smaller and seemingly insignificant emotions of the person suffering with BPD, they help the person heal and helps the subconcious realize that it doesn't need to manifest extreme emotions in order to get the empathy and validation it needs.

Borderline personality disorder is treatable if a person seeks help. Any person who suspects they or someone they love might have this condition should seek advice from a mental health professional right away. Help is available when one knows where to turn, so begin the search for a therapist today.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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