The Truth About Borderline Personality Disorder

The Truth About Borderline Personality Disorder

Though less well-known than schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, BPD is more common and affects more than six million adults in the U.S.

Published August 3, 2011

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall leaves it all on the field come game day, but it is his troubled life off the field that keeps people talking. Yet this week Marshall changed public perception when he revealed to a Florida newspaper that he suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD.


The National Institute for Mental Health characterizes BPD as an illness that causes “pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image and behavior.” BPD is most common in adults and affects more than six million people in the U.S. each year, according to recent studies. These symptoms can make it difficult for the individual to manage their home and work lives, but with help, many sufferers improve over time and can live healthy, productive lives.


What are the symptoms?


A person with BPD may experience intense bouts of anger, depression and anxiety that may last only hours, or at most a day. They may suffer erratic changes in long-term goals, career plans, jobs, friendships, gender identity and values.


What are the treatment options?


Treatments for BPD have improved in recent years. The National Institute of Mental Health cites group and individual psychotherapy as effective treatments of BPD. Other psychosocial treatments have also been developed especially to treat the disorder. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers may also be helpful in coping with symptomatic depression.


How do I find treatment?


If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from BPD, talk to someone you know and trust who can help you seek professional help.


Listed below are the types of people and places that will make a referral to, or provide, diagnostic and treatment services.


(From The National Institute of Mental Health)


- Family doctors


- Mental health specialists, such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers or mental health counselors


- Religious leaders/counselors


- Community mental health centers


- Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics


- University- or medical school-affiliated programs


- Employee assistance programs


You can also locate mental health services in your area by visiting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Visit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or Health Resources and Services Administration for help finding affordable health care.


If you or someone you know is in a crisis and needs immediate help, call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

(Photo: AP Photo/J Pat Carter)

Written by Britt Middleton


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