Saturday, January 19, 2019

Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder

Crisis negotiators are not tasked with diagnosing people in crisis- the job is to resolve the immediate crisis at hand peacefully and then hand the person over to get the more long-term care and support they need (and deserve). This also goes for crisis counselors and others working in crisis incidents.


That said, it is still important to have a deep understanding of different mental illnesses, know the statistics associated with each, and understand the indictors and symptoms of each. Why? This information then allows the negotiator and team to develop an effective communication strategy and plan.


Borderline Personality Disorder
(From NIMH)


Overview

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. These symptoms often result in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days.


Signs and Symptoms

People with borderline personality disorder may experience mood swings and display uncertainty about how they see themselves and their role in the world. As a result, their interests and values can change quickly.

People with borderline personality disorder also tend to view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad. Their opinions of other people can also change quickly. An individual who is seen as a friend one day may be considered an enemy or traitor the next. These shifting feelings can lead to intense and unstable relationships.

Other signs or symptoms may include:
  • Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, such as rapidly initiating intimate (physical or emotional) relationships or cutting off communication with someone in anticipation of being abandoned
  • A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
  • Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  • Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating. Please note: If these behaviors occur primarily during a period of elevated mood or energy, they may be signs of a mood disorder—not borderline personality disorder
  • Self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  • Recurring thoughts of suicidal behaviors or threats
  • Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Difficulty trusting, which is sometimes accompanied by irrational fear of other people’s intentions
  • Feelings of dissociation, such as feeling cut off from oneself, seeing oneself from outside one’s body, or feelings of unreality
*My note: Think of each of the above and how you would respond using active listening skills. Also importantly, how would you eventually counter those negative feelings and emotions? Stuck? Read about 'Strength ID's' from Crisis Text Line. 

Not everyone with borderline personality disorder experiences every symptom. Some individuals experience only a few symptoms, while others have many. Symptoms can be triggered by seemingly ordinary events. 

For example, people with borderline personality disorder may become angry and distressed over minor separations from people to whom they feel close, such as traveling on business trips. The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last will vary depending on the individual and their illness.

Read more [HERE]. 

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