Borderline Personality Disorder

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Borderline Personality Disorder Counseling & Therapy Services in Orlando, East Orlando, Lake Mary, Winter Park & Clermont Florida FL

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental disorder characterized by difficulty with interpersonal relationships, drama, conflict, impulsive and reckless behavior, many “ups and downs”, and a tendency to see things black and white with no in-between.  Someone with BPD will have conflicting views of self and are especially dependent on how others are treating them at the current time.  They tend to be unable to control their emotions and unable to function when upset.  These individuals can be high functioning in the workplace and social setting, but unable to function well in interpersonal relationships.

Adults diagnosed with BPD usually have a history of significant childhood traumas such as emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and/or parental neglect or loss.  They often use drugs and alcohol or addictive behaviors such as overeating or excessive shopping to self soothe their feelings of being overwhelmed and insufficient.  They are often difficult to get along with and can be very manipulative.

The DSM-IV-TR criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder:

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1)   frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. – Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

(2)   a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.

(3)   identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.

(4)   impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

(5)   recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

(6)   affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).

(7)   chronic feelings of emptiness

(8)   inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

(9)   transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms

borderline personality disorder dialectical behavior therapy cognitive behavior counseling counselor orlando florida central floridaWhat causes a person to develop BPD?  The cause of BPD is unknown; However, Marsha Linehan developed the biosocial theory of Borderline Personality Disorder that sees the cause of BPD as biological factors, social factors, and the interaction between these two factors.

  1. 75% of people diagnosed with BPD have a history of sexual abuse.
  2. 10% of people diagnosed with BPD commit suicide.
  3. 2% of the general population has BPD.
  4. 75% of those diagnosed are women.


borderline personality disorder dialectical behavior therapy cognitive behavior counseling counselor orlando florida central floridaWhat is the treatment for BPD?

Treatment usually involves the use of medication and psychotherapy (psychological counseling).  Most professionals agree that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are the most effective forms of treatment for BPD.  Dialectical Behavioral Therapy is a specific type of CBT that was developed by a psychologist named Marsha Linehan in the late 1980s.  DBT treatment usually consists of weekly sessions with a counselor and group therapy to learn the following skills:

  • Interpersonal effectiveness
  • Distress tolerance & Reality acceptance skills
  • Emotion regulation
  • Mindfulness skills

It is important to be diagnosed and treated by a professional counselor because many times treatment can require medication, hospital stays, group therapy and family therapy along with individual counseling sessions.

Although treatment is usually long-term, people can learn to manage BPD and live productive lives.

Call Us Today (407) 248-0030 for a Complimentary 15 Minute Consultation!


American Psychiatric Association.  (2002). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).

Linehan, M. M., (1993). Cognitive-Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder. New York: Guilford Press.

Linehan, M. M., (1993). Skills Training Manual for Treating Borderline Personality Disorder, New York: The Guilford Press.

Porr, Valerie, (2010). Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder: A Family Guide for Healing and Change. Oxford University Press.

Author: Crystal Hollenbeck