In April 2008, Congress voted to recognize May as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) Awareness Month. As May begins, we are given the opportunity to spread education and combat the stigma that is so present around this diagnosis. Originally, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed to treat the symptoms of BDP and remains the most evidence-supported way to treat the emotion dysregulation connected to BPD.

Historically, BDP has been a stigmatized disorder that affects 5.9% of adults (about 14 million Americans) at some point in their lives. Despite its prevalence, this diagnosis has faced stigma from the medical, mental health, and general populations. CBM would like to partner with the DBT-Linehan Board of Certification in combating this stigma through education and awareness.

What is BPD?

BDP is a diagnosis that describes an experience of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. Folks often struggle with impulsive actions and difficulties in relationships related to the intensity with which they feel emotions and their challenges regulating those emotions.

What causes BPD?

The short answer is: experts don’t know. Some common suspected causes include biological, social, and neurobiological factors. DBT teaches the “Bio-Social Theory of Emotion Dysregulation” which looks at the transaction between how folks respond emotionally and the environment in which they live and were raised.

How can BPD be treated?

DBT was designed as a skills-focused treatment to help folks who struggle with the symptoms of BPD. We believe that by learning and practicing different skills, people can successfully build a life they experience as worth living. The four skills modules we teach in DBT are emotion regulation, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and core mindfulness which help clients learn new ways of interacting with loved ones, getting their needs met, regulating their emotions, and tolerating difficult moments.

For more information on BPD, you can visit the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (https://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.org/).