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Borderline Personality Disorder: Raising Questions, Finding Answers
New Information on Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline personality disorder has been defined as a person with an unstable moods, an intense fear of abandonment and a lack of an identity. Typically, women experience BPD more often than men, and usually have experienced an abusive or traumatic childhood. More than 20 percent of patients in mental health hospitals are diagnosed with BPD, and often have an additional mental illness that co-exists with the personality disorder. Although primarily treated as a mental or personality disorder, new light has been shed on the origins and mechanisms of BPD. Dr. Leland Heller, a medical physician, has broken new ground with his theory that BPD is related to a seizure disorder in the brain, and not solely the psychological component originally thought. His books and research studies have supported evidence that BPD may not be the result of a psychological disorder, but may even be a medical condition that affects the brain and neurological structures.
Definition of Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder is a condition in which people have long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions, such as feelings about themselves and others.These inner experiences often cause them to take impulsive actions and have chaotic relationships. They have difficulty with defining their self-identity, and may act out with physical or verbal aggression in response to a perceived threat of abandonment.
The Dimensions of Borderline Personality
- Intense, unstable and unregulated emotional responses.A relatively mild stressor may create an angry outburst known as an "emotional storm" that is expressed as emotional anguish or a panic attack.
- The person with BPD has great difficulty controlling anger and rage. Sufferers may engage in physical fights and hurt others and themselves in the process. The person may experience extreme guilt and self hatred due to their uncontrollable behavior after the fact.
- A person with BPD may act out to release emotional anxiety or irritability with substance abuse, risky sexual activity, spending sprees or other harmful behaviors to escape the intense pain.
- People with BPD often see behavior has good or bad, and cannot distinguish the gray areas of human behavior. They have no sense of identity, and will change their preferences and opinions quickly and often. They may complain of chronic emptiness, or boredom.
- Impaired memory under stress and irrational behavior in a stressful situation.
- Expected negative attitudes from others in most situations.
- Intense emotional response to real or perceived abandonment.
Defining Traits of Borderline Personality Disorder
Characteristics of BPD
Examples of Behaviors
Inappropriate responses to stress
Exaggerated emotional "storm" as a result of a stressor
People with BPD may initiate physical aggression, verbal abuse, or threatening behavior in stressful situations. Memory impairment may also be experienced
Spree spending, risky sexual activity, gambling, alcohol and drug addictions.
Behaviors are performed to surpress the intense pain of their shame, guilt and perceptions of persecution
Intense fear of abandonment
Person may respond with emotional distress to real or perceived separation from loved ones
May be a reaction to the self-hatred or guilt from previous negative and uncontrollable behavior
Perception of "all good or all evil" in others
BPD sufferers may believe that someone is all good one day, and all bad the next.
Unstable relationships and loose ideals of self identity
Genetics and BPD
BPD does run in families and appears to have a genetic component. Biological studies in twins confirmed a high propensity for the genetics of BPD. A person with BPD has a chance of six times higher in having a child with BPD. Dr Heller has also concluded that there is a link between a blood antigen and personality disorders.
Neurological vs Psychosocial
Dr Leland Heller's Medical Approach to BDP
In the past, BPD treatment was treated as a psychiatric disorder that included psychotropic medications to decrease the emotional intensity of the the borderline patient. Success may be limited due to the limitations of treating a personality, which isn't always defined as a mental illness, but a condition that has evolved in a human being overtime. Although many people with BPD have found relief in medication and treatment, others have found little help from treatment from the mental health community.
The Heller Approach to BPD
Dr Heller believes that BPD is the result of a brain that responds to stress as a "seizure" and not a psychological component. He has studied numerous brain waves in his patients with BPD and has discovered an impressive amount of evidence that they are indicative of anomalies similar in patients with seizure disorders. In addition, he has discovered that his patients have similar disorders or disturbances that include insomnia, sound interpretation impairment, hypothyroid, serotonin problems and other factors that are strikingly similar to neurological impairment. His findings define BPD as a medical condition that affects the psychological component of the person.
Heller's Treatment for BPD
Dr. Heller has cured many patients with BPD, and although he believes in therapy from the mental health community as part of his approach, he defines BPD as a medical illness and not a psychological disorder. His treatment protocol consists of:
- Neuroleptics or antiseizure medications stop the person from experiencing the "emotional storm" that develops from stressors
- Prozac is the only antidepressant he prescribes for BPD. He feels it is the most effective serotonin treatment for people with the disorder.
- Patients should never be given Xanax, Elavil and other medications that have adverse effects in people with BPD
- The treatment of other physical problems and disorders associated with BPD
The Mysterious Borderline Personality Disorder
Dr. Heller has suggested that BPD is the result of a brain anomaly that causes the sufferer to respond in an inappropriate manner to simple stress, and lose control when faced with an extreme stressor. A person with BPD may react with anger, rage or fear to a mild stressor that would seem mildly frustrating to people without the disorder. The affected person's brain is wired to create intense emotional anxiety and rage in response to even mild stress. Similar to a seizure, the disorder induces highly emotional responses in the brain that cannot be controlled by the sufferer.
The New Theory: BDP or a Seizure Disorder?
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder in which a person has episodes of seizures over time. Seizures are episodes of brain activity that act as a "short circuit" and the affected person experiences a change in behavior or becomes unconscious. In the case of BPD, it is now believed that these brain structures have been genetically altered and cause a disturbance in the brain that mimics anger, rage and wide mood changes.
Books by Dr. Leland Heller
Dr Leland Heller and BPD Treatment
People who have been blaming themselves for their behavior or uninformed parenting of a child with BPD may find help with the approach of Dr Heller. He has claimed numerous successes and has opened the door to further research in both the medical and mental health community to finding the answers of the mysterious brain. Dr Leland Heller is a family practice medical physician and has written numerous books on his findings and successes. For more information on this breakthrough medical research, visit Dr Heller's website: Biological Unhappiness.