5 Myths about Borderline Personality Disorder Debunked

The stigma around mental health disorders is slowly breaking down. More people are learning about mental health issues, but while many people understand anxiety and depression there are still many misconceptions about borderline personality disorder (BPD). BPD is a commonly misunderstood illness, even by healthcare professionals. To help people understand this mental health disorder better, we’ve debunked some of the most common myths about borderline personality disorder.


Myth 1: Borderline Personality Disorder is Untreatable

The truth is that BPD is a difficult disorder to treat, but it absolutely can be treated. People with BPD often feel helpless and don’t seek treatment because of this misconception. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is the most popular treatment for BPD but there are medications and other forms of therapy available for treatment as well. As with any mental illness, treatment takes hard work and time, but people with BPD can lead very good lives!


Myth 2: Borderline Personality Disorder is the Same Thing as Bipolar Disorder

BPD and bipolar disorder are completely different, however, they are often confused for one another. The symptoms of these disorders are very similar, and many people with BPD are incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar in the beginning. It is also possible for people to have both BPD and bipolar disorder. Many healthcare providers lack information on borderline personality disorder, but thankfully that is changing and leading to more initially correct diagnoses.


Myth 3: Only Women are Impacted by Borderline Personality Disorder

All genders are impacted by BPD, but it is true that women have higher rates of it. Women are around 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder than men. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean women are more likely to develop it. It is possible that men are simply diagnosed with it less, that their symptoms are mistaken for other disorders, or that they don’t seek treatment as often.


Myth 4: All People with BPD are Childhood Abuse Victims

As with most other mental illnesses, doctors do not know exactly what causes it. There are many things that are believed to cause BPD, one of which is childhood abuse. This abuse could be physical, sexual, emotional, or neglect. However, 10-20% of people with BPD have no known childhood trauma. So while childhood trauma can cause BPD, it does not always and not everyone with borderline personality disorder has childhood abuse.


Myth 5: BPD Isn’t a Real Mental Illness

The name “borderline personality disorder” can often be seen as invalidating for the severity of the illness. The term “borderline” often leads people to think that this is a condition bordering between a real mental illness or not. However, the term was originally used to describe patients that bordered between neurosis and psychosis. Due to how difficult BPD is to diagnosis and treat, for a long time people questioned whether it was its own individual illness. Today though doctors know that BPD is not only a real mental illness, it is also a very serious one that greatly impacts people’s lives.


If you or someone you know is struggling with borderline personality disorder, or if you are interested in dialectical behavioral therapy, contact us today!


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Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day. Dr. Rodriguez founded the Delray Center in 2003 and built it on a foundation of core clinical, professional, and ethical principles that are adhered to still to this day.