What is borderline personality disorder? Is it possible that this is not a true disorder

Borderline personality disorder or BPD is described in the psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), as a pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships. According to the DSM, BPD affects self image and is exhibited by impulsive behavior that starts in early adulthood.

Medicalization (the process by which human conditions and problems come to be defined and treated as medical conditions and problems, and thus come under the authority of doctors and other health professionals to study, diagnose, prevent or treat) of behavior patterns is not scientific. Being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder is based on subjective questions that are interpreted by the person doing the assessment.  There are no medical tests that can evidence this apparent disorder.

Interestingly, there seems to be disagreement even among the ranks of psychiatrists as to what they use for the treatment of the symptoms that are diagnosed as borderline personality disorder. It was found that drug treatment with antidepressants was not beneficial. However, when omega-3 fatty acids were given, there was a substantial reduction in depression and suicidal thoughts and actions.

Despite this uncertainty, those who are diagnosed with BPD are still often treated with neuroleptics (antipsychotics). Some of the side effects of this drug type are quite troubling, and have been linked to violent assaults. At a state run mental hospital in Washington, it was discovered that violent patient behavior was on the upswing. This could be traced to an increased use of antipsychotic drugs, which were being heavily promoted. This was directly traced to Big Pharma’s interest in making a larger profit with these newer neuroleptic drugs.

A fatal toxic reaction has also been noted, called neuroleptic malignant syndrome. In this case, patients have become confused, agitated and rigid. Approximately 100,000 people in the USA have died from this condition after taking certain drugs of this class. Less severe but still troubling, Tardive Dyskinesia is another side effect. This involves abnormal muscle movement, and can result in a permanent lack of voluntary control over the lips, jaw, tongue, extremities and other body parts.

According to the psychiatric profession, 2% of all people have borderline personality disorder. However, some feel this label can be slapped on a person when nothing else seems to fit. Could this inability to diagnose and cure be responsible for the fact that up to 20% of all psychiatric inpatients supposedly suffer from BPD? Even among psychiatrists, there seems to be an unwillingness to treat those suffering from this condition. Apparently they are looked upon as difficult cases not easily treatable with drugs.

Having your patient pop a pill is certainly more convenient for the doctor. And perhaps it is embarrassing when your efforts at treatment are so blatantly ineffective. The psychiatric profession considers it a challenging condition, with many of those who have been diagnosed with BPD in and out of “treatment” their entire lives.

A study, initiated by a psychologist and researcher, Dr. Paul Wink, reveals that there is a protective effect on one’s mental and physical health simply through the act of helping others.