What is a personality disorder?

A personality disorders is a form of mental illness in which the individual has difficulty recognizing and interacting appropriately to situations and with people – including self-interaction. Generally, a personality disorder is characterized by an unyielding and unhealthy pattern of behavior and thought processes, regardless of the situation, which leads to problems in work, social, and interpersonal relationships. The biggest obstacle to identifying a personality disorder is that, for the person needing help, the behavior seems normal and problems lie outside of them.

History of borderline personality disorder

The symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder have been noted and recorded from the earliest times. The presence of impulsive anger, melancholy, and mania has been described from as far back as 800 CE. Following the suppression of the concept during the Middle Ages (due in part to the conflict it created with ecclesiastical teachings), more serious acknowledgement of its existence begins in the mid-17th century. By the late 1930s, the first clinical analysis of the disorder appears, however lack of specific definitions and terminology hindered studies as the term “borderline” became a catchall term applied to a number of conditions.

By the late 1970s, efforts were made to create a standardized model of BPD and by 1980 it was recognized as a personality disorder in the DSM-III, with the current terminology established by the APA.


Because of the lack of understanding and the development of definitive criteria, BPD has been looked upon as a set of behaviors rooted in the decision-making process of the individual. Those who experience symptoms have long been called “difficult”, “troublesome”, “manipulative”, “moody”, and other terms that indicate the problem rests with the individual and it is only a question of wanting to behave properly that will make things better. Even today, though it is recognized as a personality disorder, those who have been identified as having BPD are looked upon fearfully because of the past misunderstandings.

Treatment for borderline personality disorder

Significant advances in treatment for BPD have emerged in recent years. Studies show that group and individual psychotherapy can be effective for most patients and the development of Dialectical Behavior Treatment (DBT) shows great promise.

Pharmacological treatments including antidepressants, mood stabilizer, antipsychotics or other pharmacological treatments are often prescribed based on specific target symptoms shown by the individual patient. Serotonin, norepinephrine and acetylcholine are among the chemical messengers that play a role in the regulation of emotions, including sadness, anger, anxiety, and irritability. Because of this, drugs that enhance the presence of these chemicals and their functions may improve emotional symptoms in BPD, allowing people to manage BPD in the same as fashion as those susceptible to diabetes or high blood pressure. Long term rehabilitations for inpatient treatment of borderline personality disorder seems to be one of the most effect treatment modalities especially those with drug addiction or alcoholism. This is due to the high structure and constant therapeutic support.