What is Borderline Personality Disorder?: Myths and Truths about BPD

May 11, 2024

Every May, we observe Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Awareness Month, a time dedicated to raising awareness about this often misunderstood mental health condition.

Borderline Personality Disorder affects not less than 1.6% of the adult population worldwide, yet it remains shrouded in stigma and misconceptions. In this article, we shed light on BPD, providing insights into its nature, causes, management strategies, and ways to support individuals living with this condition.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by prevalent patterns of instability in mood, self-image, interpersonal relationships, and behavior. Individuals with BPD may experience intense and fluctuating emotions, have difficulty regulating their emotions, exhibit impulsive behaviors, and struggle with maintaining stable relationships.

What Causes BPD?

The exact cause of BPD is not fully understood, but research has it that a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors may contribute to its development. Traumatic experiences, such as childhood abuse or neglect, may also play a significant role in the genesis of BPD.

How Can We Manage Borderline Personality Disorder?

While there is no identified cure for BPD, various treatment approaches can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Psychotherapy, particularly Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), is considered the standard treatment for BPD. DBT focuses on enhancing mindfulness, emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, and distress tolerance skills.

Medication may also be prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms associated with BPD, such as depression, anxiety, or impulsivity. However, medication alone is typically not sufficient for managing BPD and is often used in combination with therapy.

What Can We Do for People Living with BPD?

Support and understanding are crucial for individuals living with BPD. These tips can be helpful to effectively support someone with BPD:

1. Educate yourself about BPD to better understand the challenges individuals with this condition face. Let us familiarize ourselves with contents on the subject matter, and be generally concerned with issues of mental health.

2. Practice empathy and validation by acknowledging their emotions and experiences without judgment. We understand you may not fully comprehend all of their actions, however, it is crucial that you do not judge their decisions; instead, reason with them to understand and come to terms with what is helpful.

3. Encourage them to seek professional help and accompany them to therapy sessions if needed. Amidst the difficulty in regulating their emotions, seeing us by their side, even at therapy is in itself therapeutic. Always involve a professional therapist when delivering support to an individual living with BPD.

4. Be patient and consistent in your support, as recovery from BPD can be a long and challenging journey. Do not give full assurance of your support if you cannot be available for them consistently; and be your calmest self when attending to them

5. Foster open and honest communication, and be willing to listen without trying to “fix” their problems. Sometimes, they don’t ‘need’ our honest opinion, what they truly need is our full attention. At other times, all they need is our presence.

Common Myths About BPD

The following are some misconceptions surrounding BPD that contribute to stigma and discrimination.

People with BPD are manipulative or attention-seeking.BPD symptoms arise from underlying emotional dysregulation, not manipulation.
BPD is untreatable.With appropriate treatment and support, individuals with BPD can experience significant improvement in their symptoms and overall functioning.
BPD only affects women.BPD affects people of all genders equally

Frequently Asked Questions About BPD

1. Can people with BPD have successful relationships?

Yes, with therapy and support, individuals with BPD can develop healthier relationships.

2. Is BPD the same as bipolar disorder?

No, although both disorders involve mood instability, they are distinct conditions with different symptoms and treatment approaches.

3. Is BPD a form of psychosis?

No, BPD is not characterized by a loss of contact with reality, which is a hallmark feature of psychosis.


Borderline Personality Disorder is one of mental health condition that requires understanding, compassion, and support. By increasing awareness and challenging stigma, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for individuals living with BPD.

Let us use this Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month as an opportunity to educate ourselves and advocate for better resources and support for those affected by this condition.


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