Can you be born with borderline personality disorder? Or does BPD result from certain personal experiences or other external factors?
Most experts seem to agree that both genetic and environmental influences are responsible for the development of borderline personality disorder.
In other words, it may not be correct to say that you are born with borderline personality disorder. But if you inherit certain genetic traits, then you may be at increased risk for developing this condition.
What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder, or BPD, is a type of mental illness that is characterized by instability and impulsivity.
People who have borderline personality disorder often struggle to form and maintain healthy relationships. They may also have dramatic shifts in their goals and values. The symptoms of BPD can undermine a person’s ability to complete their education, get a job, and follow a satisfying career path.
Borderline personality disorder can also have a negative impact on how people view themselves. This can lead to several devastating outcomes, including death by suicide.
According to a 2021 study that was published by JAMA Network Open, 22.7% of people who have BPD will attempt to end their own lives. For people who do not have this disorder, the rate of attempted suicide is about 2.9%
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder?
Signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder can include the following.
- Extreme fear of being abandoned
- A pattern of intense but unstable relationships
- Dissociation (feeling that they are detached from their emotions, thoughts, and memories)
- Intense outbursts of anger
- Spending sprees, substance abuse, unsafe sex, and other dangerous, impulsive behaviors
- Poor self-image
- Paranoid thoughts (which can include thinking that they are being spied on or persecuted)
- Frequent threats of suicide
Someone who exhibits BPD signs and symptoms should be assessed by a doctor or another qualified professional.
The symptoms of borderline personality disorder may begin to become apparent when a person is a teenager, but most BPD diagnoses involve adults.
How Common Is Borderline Personality Disorder?
The following statistics about the prevalence of borderline personality disorder were reported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
- Experts estimate that about 1.4% of adults in the United States have borderline personality disorder. According to the 2020 census, there are about 258 million adults in the U.S. The NIMH estimate means that about 3.6 million American adults may have BPD.
- More than 84% of people who have BPD also have another mental or behavioral health disorder.
- Anxiety is the most common co-occurring mental health disorder. Six out of 10 of people who have BPD also have an anxiety disorder.
- Just under 40% of people who have borderline personality disorder also have a substance use disorder (which is the clinical term for addiction).
The NIMH also reported that most people who have borderline personality disorder have not received any professional treatment in the previous 12 months. NIMH data indicates that only about 42% of people with BPD received care in the past year.
Can You Be Born With Borderline Personality Disorder?
Are you born with borderline personality disorder, or is it caused by something that happens to you? This is one of the more pressing questions about BPD – and other types of mental illness, too.
Researchers have not yet been able to identify a definitive cause for borderline personality disorder. But they are aware of several factors that seem to influence a person’s risk for developing this condition.
It appears that genetics play an important role. According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the risk of BPD is five times higher among people who have a parent, sibling, or child who has the condition than it is among the general public.
Other potential risk factors for BPD include being abused or neglected during childhood, having other traumatic experiences during childhood, growing up in an impoverished area, and having substandard impulse-control or anger-management capabilities.
How Is Borderline Personality Disorder Treated?
Various types of therapy have proved to be beneficial for people who have borderline personality disorder. Also, certain prescription medications may ease some symptoms of BPD.
Dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, was developed specifically to treat people who have borderline personality disorder. Dr. Marsha Linehan created DBT while working with women who had a history of self-harm and suicide, which are two symptoms of borderline personality disorder.
DBT helps people develop four types of skills: mindfulness, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and emotion regulation.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, may also be included in treatment for borderline personality disorder. During CBT sessions, people can identify self-defeating thought and behavior patterns, and then learn how to replace them with healthier ways of thinking and acting.
Some people will receive care for borderline personality disorder at several levels, while others may enter and exit treatment at the same level. What’s most important is finding the type and level of care that aligns most closely with the individual’s history, needs, and goals.
Get Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder in Nashville, TN
Arbor Wellness is a trusted source of comprehensive BPD treatment for people in the Nashville, Tennessee, area. If someone that you care about has been struggling with the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, our team is here to help. We can assess the full scope of your loved one’s needs and develop a customized plan just for them. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.