Myth 1: People who have BPD are attention-seeking and manipulative
People who have BPD are often viewed as being manipulative or attention-seeking. However, this is often not the case or intention. When someone is intentionally manipulative, the person deliberately seeks to manipulate someone else to gain what they want. However, a person with BPD often has little control over their emotional reactions and impulsive behaviour. Therefore, whilst their actions may seem calculated or attention-seeking, people with BPD often act on impulse and desperation in response to having a strong emotional reaction.
Myth 2: BPD is a rare mental health condition that only affects women
In fact, BPD is estimated to affect 1-4% of the population! Whilst that may not seem like a large percentage, that is more than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder combined! Although BPD is more commonly diagnosed in females compared to males, men can also be diagnosed with BPD. In fact, around 25% diagnoses have been found to be in males.
Myth 3. BPD is caused by childhood trauma
Although Childhood trauma has been suggested to be one of the possible causes of BPD, it is important to acknowledge that this is not always the case. Research has shown that aside from childhood trauma, there are various factors that may cause someone to develop or be at risk of developing BPD. Such factors include biological, environmental, and sociocultural factors. In some cases, someone with BPD may experience a combination of these factors.
Myth 4: BPD is the same as a bipolar disorder
Whilst BPD and bipolar disorder share some similarities, they are two different conditions. Having a bipolar disorder can cause a person to experience episodic periods in which they may have extreme mood swings or periods of depression. However, in between those periods, they are able to function. A person with BPD usually experiences chronic suicidality and self-harming behaviours. Although they are different conditions, some people do experience both BPD and bipolar disorders.
Myth 5: Once diagnosed, BPD is untreatable
Treating BPD can often be difficult given the stigma and discrimination that people with BPD sometimes face when trying to seek appropriate support and treatment. However, there are treatment options and a range of psychological therapies that have been shown to be effective for treating BPD. One of the most popular and effective therapies for people with BPD is Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). DBT is used to help people who have difficulty regulating emotions and also experience chronic suicidality.
At LETSS, we recognise that people with BPD often face discrimination and stigma because of their mental health condition. At LETSS, we are here to listen, support, and understand people with BPD, and their carers. If you would like some afterhours support please call LETSS at 1800 013 755 or webchat at www.letss.org.au