Do I need a BPD diagnosis and what are the diagnostic criteria?
A lot of professionals believe diagnosis hinders treatment because it’s stigmatising or might even predispose an individual to act according to the symptoms.
On the other hand, labelling your mental health difficulties can be helpful as it gives you closure.
For someone with borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) who struggles with identity, it also means they can feel more understood and have a sense of belonging.
For example, they can join online support groups to connect with others going through the same thing. Having a diagnosis can also make it easier to receive the right treatment – someone officially diagnosed with BPD might be offered DBT before another individual struggling with the same symptoms but without the diagnosis.
Unfortunately, a lot of professionals don’t know enough about the disorder and avoid diagnosing their patients because of fear of stigma.
To be diagnosed with BPD, you have to meet the following criteria:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or perceived abandonment – for example, whenever your partner arrives home late you might take it as a rejection.
- Chronic feeling of emptiness and boredom – you might feel like there’s a hole inside you can’t fill no matter how hard you try.
- Unstable self-image and sense of self – you might struggle to know who you are and what you want from life.
- Impulsive behaviour in at least two areas such as reckless driving, spending, binge eating, substance abuse and sex.
- Inappropriate anger and difficulty controlling it.
- Pattern of unstable relationships with other people – you might constantly make up and break up with your partners, you might try to push them away to avoid abandonment and pick fights.
- Recurring suicidal threats, gestures or self-harm behaviour – you might use self-injury as a way to cope with difficult emotions.
- Paranoia or dissociative symptoms – when under a lot of stress you might feel like you’re detached from reality.
- Mood swings and intense emotions – you might experience frequent and intense ups and downs.
Remember, to meet the criteria for BPD, you have to experience 5 out of 9 above symptoms so don’t worry if you can’t relate to everything mentioned on the list.
Your experience is valid, even if it differs from other people’s or if you don’t have an official diagnosis.
If you are feeling pressured or need someone to speak to, contact My Family Psychologist for a confidential chat about how we may be able to help.
You can contact the My Family Psychologist Offices between 8 am and 8 pm to book an appointment.
Get in touch to see how we can help.