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Common Misconceptions About Borderline Personality Disorder

Common Misconceptions About Borderline Personality Disorder

Even among mental health professionals, there is not nearly enough known about BPD and this leads to so many false diagnoses and misconceptions about the disorder.

Although borderline personality disorder (BPD) is often seen as a myth, that is not the case. This disorder often presents with symptoms that lead mental health professionals to diagnose clients incorrectly.  Even among mental health professionals, there is not nearly enough known about BPD and this leads to so many false diagnoses and misconceptions about the disorder. Here are some of the more common misconceptions about borderline personality disorder.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a “Woman’s-Only” Problem

Due to the prevalence of gender stereotypes, borderline personality disorder diagnoses are severely disproportionate. Despite the fact that it is equally prevalent in women and men, BPD is often over-diagnosed in women and under-diagnosed in men. Another reason for this misconception is that when studies are performed, women are represented far more than men. Regardless, anyone can develop borderline personality disorder.

It Cannot Be Diagnosed in Teens

So many mental health professionals see BPD as something that cannot be accurately diagnosed or treated in teens and young adults. The theory is that at that age, there are so many hormonal changes that make teens moody that BPD can’t be diagnosed or treated during this time. The unfortunate outcome of this belief is that so many teens and young adults who are actually living with borderline personality disorder don’t get the help that they desperately need. For individuals with BPD, early intervention is crucial to recovery.

It’s Not Treatable

Prior to the 1990s, individuals with BPD were basically written off as untreatable. It has been called the “imaginary” disorder, because many believe that individuals with borderline personality disorder simply never learned to control themselves or their emotions. But BPD is far from imaginary.  In reality, cognitive behavioral therapy has helped many suffering from BPD. One of the most helpful therapies for borderline personality disorder is called dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). In DBT, participants complete modules designed to teach skills necessary for coping with BPD. DBT has also proven to be effective for treating PTSD, depression, and substance abuse. As with many other mental health concerns, the first step of treatment is just the acknowledgement that the disorder is a valid concern. Validation alone can help a client feel better about their situation, even if they have a long road ahead to successfully cope with borderline personality disorder.

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