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Question Can Borderline Personality Disorder be cured? (Posted by: Anonymous )

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Can Borderline Personality Disorder be cured?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a serious diagnosis within the medical field of psychiatry. It is recorded within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), under the Axis II category, which also contains the other recognized personality disorders. The DSM-IV is a diagnostic compilation of all recognized psychiatric illnesses and it provides the criteria that must be met for each diagnosis.

BPD can afflict both males and females; however, it seems to be found in younger women more often. Possibly 2% of the general population has diagnosable BPD, but it is near impossible to calculate this particular statistic. This is because there is an abundance of individuals that do not seek treatment, as well as those who are misdiagnosed. BPD shares many of the same symptoms exhibited in other psychiatric diagnoses, so BPD patients are commonly misdiagnosed, especially in the beginning of their treatment.

BPD is believed by some mental health professionals to be a hopeless diagnosis due to an apparent perception that successful recovery among those afflicted by this condition simply does not exist. Is BPD really hopeless for those who are diagnosed with it? I do not believe this to be true.

It is beyond the scope of this article to examine all the various symptoms associated with BPD. The focus here is on the possibility that individuals diagnosed with BPD can over time acquire a significant improvement in their previously chronic symptoms. Through years of hard work in counseling, could not some patients technically fail to meet the diagnostic criteria for a BPD diagnosis? If an individual no longer meets the criteria for a diagnosis of BPD, then what happens to this diagnosis that has been correctly recorded for years in their psychiatric records? Is the BPD considered “cured” at that point? Or is it merely a temporary rest from the chaos of BPD’s emotional roller coaster?

I would suggest that BPD is, in fact, a curable condition. However, the healing process is long-term, intensive, and very difficult for the patient to endure for years. Back steps do occur and realistically this should be expected. Some do remain on the path to recovery from the personal enslavement of BPD. Others never quite reach this level of healing and tragedy eventually takes over.

The foundation of my theory, that BPD is actually curable, is based upon the fact that this condition is not biologically based. With the assumption that we are actually capable of retraining our minds, it is then possible for someone to sift through themselves and extract the unhealthy characteristics and habits. This type of self-help necessitates a chemically balanced brain, whether that is natural or medication induced. A chemically imbalanced brain is a sick brain that cannot support a healthy mind. Only a healthy brain can support the work it takes to heal a sick mind.

Unlike biological Axis I mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, BPD is not managed with medications that treat a neurological imbalance in the brain. However, some patients are given medications to directly treat BPD's physical symptoms. For example, some patients are prescribed a benzodiazepine, like Ativan, to treat the intense anxiety associated with the emotional outbursts common to BPD. This distinction is very important to understand.

Let’s consider bipolar disorder for a moment in order to demonstrate this critical distinction. As an Axis I diagnosis, bipolar disorder is known by psychiatric medical science to be a chemical imbalance among the brain’s neurotransmitters. Scientists have come a very long way over the past few decades in better understanding psychiatric illnesses on a biological level. This medical research is producing ongoing, potential treatment discoveries for patients with bipolar disorder.

The effects of appropriate psychotropic medications are profound for these patients because this disorder is caused by a physical problem within the brain that is ultimately independent from one’s external environment. Still, the brain is susceptible to chemical disturbances in response to stressful external stimuli. Therefore, a bipolar episode can be triggered by extreme distress or it may occur for no apparent reason. This is because bipolar disorder originates from a physically ill brain.

It is widely agreed upon within the professional psychiatry community that there exists no cure for bipolar disorder. Yet, medications can correct the imbalance among the brain’s neurotransmitters and cause the symptoms of bipolar disorder to lessen or disappear. The patient is relieved, as if it had been cured, but removing the medication(s) will cause the patient’s brain to return to its former ill state and cause the return of clinical symptoms. These patients truly depend upon the appropriate medication(s) to make it possible to manage their condition. Without these medications, patients with bipolar disorder are essentially at the mercy of their own brain.

To the individual suffering from borderline personality disorder, it does feel like they are at the mercy of their brain’s whims, but this is not accurate. Since this disorder originated from an abnormal personality development during childhood, the biological element is not present nor is it a cause of BPD. Any physical symptoms or a chemical imbalance occurring in a patient with a single diagnosis of BPD is the direct effect of an “ill” personality. The stress this patient endures emotionally and mentally will typically trigger worsening symptoms of BPD, which can in turn affect the natural chemical balance in this patient’s brain. It is the cause and effect relationship that differs between the Axis II diagnosis of BPD and bipolar disorder, which is an Axis I diagnosis.

It has been observed that BPD is frequently accompanied by a separate Axis I disorder rendering the patient diagnosable with two psychiatric disorders that are both in a different diagnostic axis within the DSM-IV. Often times there are symptoms present that are found within the diagnostic criteria for both disorders. These two disorders may share the same symptoms, but these symptoms have very different causes.

Instead of a biological trigger, the symptoms found within BPD are produced by one’s dysfunctional thinking and abnormal outlook on life. During a child’s personality development, dysfunctional personality traits & habits become well-ingrained into a person’s identity and thus are very difficult to isolate and undo. To complicate matters further, there are countless forms of dysfunctional ways of thinking, interpreting, understanding, reacting, and behaving that are present in the person whose total symptoms meet the diagnostic criteria for a BPD diagnosis.

To manage BPD disorder, the patient must rely on treatment through the form of counseling, also known as psychotherapy. The focus for the patient is to identify one’s dysfunctional thinking and inaccurate interpretations that have developed over time. Reality is disturbed for the BPD patient as a result of this cognitive dysfunction. A perceived reality that is disturbed will easily lead to disturbed behavior and reactions, which can lead to physical symptoms in the patient. These symptoms can include chronic or acute anxiety and loss of appetite, for example.

Despite all the similarities in BPD and Axis I disorders, it is the cause and effect that is different between the two. Bipolar disorder is caused by a biological disturbance and the effects are the resultant symptoms. BPD is caused by many factors in a child’s environment and their relationships with other people as they naturally develop who they are as an individual. The symptoms are created as a result of nurture and not nature. The distress endured from disturbed and inaccurate perceptions will cause the experience of psychiatric symptoms in an individual with BPD.

Having established that BPD does not originate from a physical illness in the brain, we can set aside this factor in order to further examine its true roots in the personality. Since one’s personality is so strongly connected to one’s own identity, it should be assumed to be a real challenge to separate dysfunctional parts from the healthy parts of one’s own personality. This assumption is proven correct as a BPD patient tries to navigate their way through years of professional counseling.

The mental health professional helps guide the process of recovery, but ultimately it is up to the patient to dig deep and look at themselves with total honesty. The patient must be willing to pick apart who they are and acknowledge where the problems arise that continually lead to the BPD symptoms.

The first determination of success is the patient’s willingness to submit to such critical analysis of themselves by themselves and do it with complete honesty. If the willingness is there, then the next determination of success is the patient’s ability to endure the emotional and mental difficulties that arise during the therapy process. Endurance is essential since the process is so lengthy, taking years of regular counseling sessions. A commitment to one’s recovery is simply mandatory.

The bottom line is that recovery is possible with borderline personality disorder. If recovery occurs and continues, then eventually the symptoms of BPD will slowly vanish. The individual can learn a healthier way of thinking and reacting that was formerly dysfunctional. There will come a point when this hard-working individual can no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for a BPD diagnosis. In my opinion, this means that the BPD has genuinely been cured.

Falling back into the BPD thinking and behaviors after successful recovery is possible, but not as likely. Once the individual, who was previously diagnosed with BPD, begins to see life through a different set of eyes, it is unlikely that they could return to the oblivion they previously had while in the grips of BPD. This person in BPD recovery will not see with such distortion because they have come to know a healthier and more realistic way of thinking and acting. The distortion of reality caused by BPD loses its power over the individual because they have come to know a less painful way of living and seeing life.

In summary, I believe that I have presented a theory that is lived out by some victims of BPD who come to know a new life that finally brings stability and contentment. These individuals have proactively dissected who they are and how they see the world. Such a process must bring a level of wisdom and knowledge of oneself that could not be achieved any other way. It would seem to me that the rewards of recovery from a BPD inflicted life are life changing and lifesaving.

A specific cure for BPD does not have an identity or name itself, as every case and every patient presents differently. Regardless, this cure exists and it saves lives. With a high rate of suicide among those with BPD, it is nothing less than a miracle that these individuals could come to know a life where suicide is never again an option and emotional stability is a continuing reality.

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Well done. By am3 on 22-10-11 at 11:59pm
Great... thanks for giving a hope. By Anonymous on 02-12-12 at 11:10pm
I am an individual who cured myself (through years of counseling) of BDP. Raised by a cruel Grandmother and a demeaning, narcissistic Mother and no father (she ran off both father, and all subsequent step-fathers. In the beginning, I did not know what was wrong with me, I just saw the world as a dangerous place. I had no friendships that lasted because in an effort to get along, I repressed all true feelings until, having enough, I exploded, leaving the friend to be astonished. I did the same with lovers and husbands, who often wondered what had gone wrong. But, in truth, I had never let them see the real me. Looking back, I see that all of the relationships could have been salvaged had I been a "real" person from the beginning. The first psychiatrist diagnosed me with Anxiety Disorder, which I later found out is somewhat of a catchall. My general misery, which masquaraded as depression most of my life, kept me in therapy with various therapists until I finally found one who helped me really look at myself with the help of a book entitled Feeling Good. Even now I struggle with my faulty outlook at times, but, I have been happily coupled for 5 years (
of those years married) and strive to reveal my true feelings, prefacing their expression with this quote: "I know this may sound off base and I know it does not represent reality, but these are my feelings...." I also, make deliberate choices to be kind when cruel urges creep in because the hallmark of BDP is cruelty. Granted, it is unfounded cruelty so I do not listen to it. I say to myself: this is just me being bad and I will not listen to it. One of the only residual problems is that I maintain comfortable distances from friends because I don't want to shock them with any unreasonable outbursts. I have friends, but the friendship is maintained with comfortable restraint from me. By Anonymous on 10-01-13 at 06:21am
I was a BPD , never cared to take care of that untill i hurt some girl i loved , i promised my self to get my self fixed , and here we are so happy together right now . i just asked her to ignore me whenever i turned mad . and just kiss me instead . this healed me in
months . now i dare her to make me angry . am so calm and happy and we are having a nice relationship since then . By Anonymous on 20-01-13 at 08:21am
i was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder 4 years ago, the first
-3 years it was very difficult, but i have been symptom fre for over a year and a half, thanks to my meds. my therapist said that BPD is not a curable disease. based on the last year and a half, i believe that she was wrong By Anonymous on 30-01-13 at 03:41pm
i have suffered for BPD for
0 years-It does not get easier,I do not feel there has been a successful therapy and I have gone through so many I have given up.Cant believe there is a cure for me, and the hardest thing is to read online and everywhere else that this shit is curable...when everyday is a struggle.too many suicide attempts and hospitalisation-Psychiatrists make me sick, writing rubbish they have never personally experienced......seems to be sick curiosity for them. By blanche on 10-02-13 at 03:32pm
I have suffered from BPD from a young age along with claustrophobia, bulimia and chronic insomnia as well a very uncertain sense of identity and great difficulty in maintaining stable relationships as well as in inability to define boundaries with others....I have been in therapy for 15 years!!!!!!! A very serious and committed effort and yet I still have all these therapists says that he is "proud of the work we have done together" and that I have change d a lot...I am not at all convinced because after this long in therapy I would have hoped for much better results....I don't feel that I will ever be delivered of most of theses symptoms and have designed a life to live despite them...there are many things I cannot do and I am mainly tense and unhappy but what is the alternative? By James on 15-02-13 at 02:25am
I have been diagnosed only two years ago. But actually I feel that I really have improved a lot since I was a teenager. I have been working on it since I was thirty and very determined to solve my problems (I am fifty now). I was in analytical treatment for a long time (I won't recommend this) but learned a lot trough self help books at the same time. Finally I found a very useful treatment: CBT and the book Reinventing Your Life. The Breakthough Program to End Negative Behavior... and Feel Great Again. I changed a lot of my negative patterns and thoughts. I am still vulnerable but I can handle it. I also think that BPD has a biological component: I am a highly sensitive person and I think my parents passed me their negative thoughts and behaviour. By Anonymous on 22-03-13 at 09:41am
im doing a research paper on borderline. i would like to talk to someone with boderline. anybody interested? By Anonymous on 14-04-13 at 02:48pm
Dr. Bruce Walters claims that BPD-type disorders "represent a state of entrenched rebellion against one or more tradtional moral principles (such as a lack of foregiveness manifesting itself as a tendency to blame others for one's problems; selfishness manifesting itself as narcissism or grandiosity; or unbelief in [God] manifesting itself as intractable bitterness)." By Anonymous on 19-06-13 at 07:03am
I was depressed, anxious and suffered insomnia for
6 years from the age of 14, getting into psychotherapy when I was aged 40. After
years, I slid into chaos and a borderline personality disorder gradually emerged. Symptoms included feeling terrified of being abandoned, numerous phobias, obsessions and compulsions, desire to commit suicide, anorexia nervosa, self-harming, etc. After 11 years working, sometimes twice weekly, with my therapist, I began to rejoin the world and after another 6 years was well enough embark on a 3 year course to become a practitioner in one of the complementary therapies and then to qualify. Am I cured? I still have boundary issues; can still go from high to low in an instant; tend to be obsessive, etc., but I certainly don't meet the criteria for BPD. It is true that in a crisis, I reach for my earlier survival kit, when I become much more obsessive and compulsive, depressed, withdrawn, regressed, etc., only, now, once the acute situation is over, I return to my 'normal'. By Anonymous on 19-07-13 at 05:05am
I found out I had BPD and PTSD from an abusive father and childhood. I was suicidal, homicidal, and I hated myself. I couldn't tolerate relationships of any kind and I was defensive when anyone confronted me about anything, even toward perceived confrontation. Later, a therapist, who did not know I had been diagnosed with BPD, told me-after I described my childhood and problems-that my father had forced upon me a set of negative learned behaviors, but that I could relearn my behaviors. I am 35 and I am finally coming out of my negative learned behaviors after a lot of therapy, studying mental illness during graduate school, and working with juvenile offenders who taught me so much about myself and how to respect others. You "can" overcome BPD. I'm proof. By Anonymous on 27-07-13 at 03:56pm
I have been through years and years of different therapies and nothing has changed. After 3 breakdowns in the last year I am now left with a diagnosis and not hope of ever recovering from this god forsaken condition. I do not believe there is a cure and think professionals should be more responsible in saying this as you give others hope which may not be based on FACTS or real life experience. By Anonymous on 07-08-13 at 03:54pm
I have a daughter with BPD and have only just found out. She had a daughter growing up in these conditions who is now a teenager and has bouts of unpredictible behaviour which I think she has copied from her mother or do you think she has BPD? By Anonymous on 04-09-13 at 09:30am
I cured myself of BPD by being brave enough to realize that I was creating circumstances that contributed to instability. This took YEARS of work and I now finally feel completely cured due in no small part to a daily meditation practice I have developed. The wheels started turning when I read the book "Anger" by Thich Nhat Hanh. I am now off medications and no longer feel the need for therapy (which I did for two decades). It's not an overnight success story but it CAN happen. By Anonymous on 18-09-13 at 03:47pm
I hear you Blanche, too many suicide attempts and in hospital all the time. Worse thing is that my psychiatrist at the time felt the way to cure me was for me to simply go out and find friends and everything would be ok in the end. Then I ended up in hospital after working with him for 1.5 years and instead he got angry with me for all the work we did and dumped me on the spot. While I was having a crisis and in hospital. I got dumped and to make it worse he even had attitude towards me when doing it. As he left the room he had a smile on his face as to say "finally, I got rid of him". By Anonymous on 27-09-13 at 06:00pm
You can be cured of this, I was a chaotic, cutting anorexic bulimic mess. I was in and out if psych units and ER's. 9 years of intensive therapy and brutal honesty with myself and now I am a 41 year old married mother of
with a business and true and loyal friends. Life no longer happens to me. I make choices and happen to life. This is not hopeless. The most important piece of recovering is permission to stop. You can simply stop the behaviors, chaos, self destructive thoughts and behaviors. You don't have to do anything to fix the past and you do not have to explain anything, just be all done and turn the page ....... Life is so much sweeter on chapter
By Jen on 01-10-13 at 10:54pm
Yes BPD can be cured. I blog about how I (a former borderline, now recovered) did it at bpdtransformation dot wordpress dot com - I also talk about why the biological theories of BPD are gravely mistaken. By Edward on 02-02-14 at 10:53pm
How can you help a person that is in denial and wont seek the help they need ? Thank you . By Anonymous on 03-02-14 at 06:49pm
I think you're article is excellent; however, I believe you are jumping to a conclusion that BPD can be cured. I think it's more accurate to state that 'in theory', by following the guidelines suggested the 'can' be hope that a cure exists for those committed to the diagnosis, and long term treatment that you outline. I truly do have hope for those with BPD in their recovery; but without a large sample of cases that have shown recovery, everything stays as unproven and 'in theory'. This is definitely one area that can benefit from more studies as it does reflect a very large sample of our population who suffer with this infliction. By Michael on 12-02-14 at 09:15am
"The foundation of my theory, that BPD is actually curable, is based upon the fact that this condition is not biologically based." Unfortunately, you're basing one theory upon another theory. When it comes to psychiatric diagnoses, everything's a theory, in spite of what most clinicians espouse. By Pete Sapper on 13-02-14 at 07:43pm
If ya can be cured why did it take so long for them to diagnose me... By cc on 21-04-14 at 12:17pm
the article is excellent but i also am of the same view as Michael. it is really very difficult to treat borderline personality disorder and above all chances of transformation of therapist itself makes it very difficult. but ya anything is possible and also depends on the severity of disorder By masood on 21-04-14 at 01:41pm
I was diagnosed with BPD in
009. I had a nervous breakdown and was placed in a physc hospital for 6+ weeks (I was so bad, I can't remember exactly how long) I was linked in with very intense therapist's over several programs, over several years, it at one stage was 5 days a week for a few months. One was DBT. I was determined to get better, I was so sick of feeling like that
4/7 I now live normally. I have several serve physical illnesses, and if anything I have learnt to be as positive as possible. I'm a every cloud has a silver lining kinda person. After what I went through for
9years, I still can't believe what it's like now, it's never that intensively horrible. Although I don't believe that one is ever completely "cured" from BPD. I still believe that the illness remains dormant. With the right conditions and triggers it's there, and what you do with it depends on where you are at. I still occasionally find myself "self checking" my behavior and stopping at a trigger, but I am certain that if a tragedy or given extreme circumstances it rears it's head and sometimes, only sometimes BPD can make me lose that struggle to recovery. The difference is that I can acknowledge it and seek help. By Anonymous on 21-04-14 at 02:16pm
I prefer the term remission. It gives more power to the idea that you need to continue to care for your mental health in a more involved way than those who do not have a personality disorder. We'd all love to be "cured" but the reality of it is that "normal" is always going to be a bit harder than it is for others. By Miss G on 21-04-14 at 09:36pm
My husband is npd/bpd overlap; he is very high functioning. I wanted to believe he could be helped, but I am now firmly convinced that he is incapable of change. He is miserable. He knows something is wrong, but he could never acknowledge that he has a personality disorder. Those who are able to be cured are low functioning pd people who are open to and seek help. By Anonymous on 20-06-14 at 11:34pm
Please for anyone suffering, please try dialectical behavior therapy. find someone who is really INTENSIVELY TRAINED by Dr. Linehan's group or at least has done lots and lots of conferences/education. This condition can be managed, you can go into remission. CBT helps too but DBT is best. residential is really smart for at least 3 months to really get change going. I didn't want to need that long but I did! By Anonymous on 24-06-14 at 09:11pm
The logic in this article is flawed. First it mixes up "cure" and "treatment". It also states there is nothing biologic because there are no medications for BPD. This is flawed logic. Not that long ago, bipolar had no meds. Now there are, but they by no means "cure" bipolar either. Same with a host of other conditions and their treatments Treatment and cure are two different things. So the lack of an appropriate medication does not mean one can't be cured. It also doesn't mean a treatment can't be discovered in the future. Also the statements that there is no biological basis in the brain that underlies BPD is erroneous as well. Given there are differences on functional MRI, there is something different in the brain of people with BPD that is different. By Anonymous on 07-08-14 at 05:23pm
I agree with the last person who answered, there is flawed logic. A Network Chiropractor is doing great work in helping me remove the horrible stuff inside, doing a far better job than the psychiatrist. I have tried psychologists but they don't know enough about the illness. I would urge BPDs to try a network chiropractor. The treatment is long and intensive, but I believe it shows great promise for a possible cure, or the nearest thing to that. By Anonymous on 13-08-14 at 05:48am
No mention of the invalidating environment and other family dynamics that cause BPD. or mention of Marsha Linehan and Dialectic Behavior Therapy in an article on BPD?! You’ve done a great disservice on the latter. By Anonymous on 20-12-14 at 03:09am
I have a daughter with BPD who has made great progress with Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, which is clinically proven. We had to be part of the parent group for 4 months & I not only got support in a safe place with other bewildered parents but learned a lot too. Please don't give up if you are suffering out there with other therapies that have not helped. Meds can help so I don't agree with the above statements that say they don't. Even though it has required heroic efforts on her part, persisting, not giving up even when she backslides, as well as intense stress almost to breaking point for our family, she is healing. Please try DBT, it is truly life-changing for everyone, not just the person with the disorder. And at DBT they say there may be a biological component, & I can tell you my daughter was different from the moment she came into this world. I noticed it right away. But there can be healing, so again, please don't despair. The patience, compassion & skills of DBT therapists is admirable & work. We had to learn some of them as family members, & are better human beings for it. I wish you all the best in your efforts to get better. May you have some relief and peace, love & health. Good luck. By Anonymous on 29-12-14 at 03:19am
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