Borderline Personality Disorder – What if it is a traumatic stress disorder?
When most people think of Borderline Personality Disorder – they think of bad behavior. It is someone that is very difficult to deal with, someone that you have to be on guard against, someone who will try their best to manipulate you.
But, while that may be the outcome, just like most psychiatric disorders, it isn’t exactly their fault.
Many of us have already spent hundreds of hours with a therapist – who may or may not help. In addition, the best therapists are likely people who can “see through the bullshit” and refuse to be manipulated. This obviously goes against the nature of someone with Borderline Personality Disorder.
One theory may help. Some therapists have developed an automatic assumption that a Borderline patient is also a trauma victim. While this co-morbid condition may not always be true, it can help some therapists feel more comfortable treating the patient.
Due to many soldiers returning from impossible battlefields in the Middle East, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is fairly well recognized. Remember; I am not saying that it is easily treatable, but to some extent, the stigma is less.
When therapists look at Borderline patients as truly a PTSD patient, they may be more willing to treat the disorder. And they will attempt to get to the underlying causes of abandonment, impulsive and destructive issues, loss of control and poor self-image.
While PTSD is well defined by the professional psychiatric community, a longer-term disorder currently known as complex traumatic disorder is not. Most examples of CTSD still involve soldiers, or they may involve women who had difficult pregnancies or who were violently sexually abused, repeatedly.
However, what if you don’t fit any of those recognized categories?
Unlike CBT, there is no “processing” component – making it work well as an initial treatment, starting before the patient has developed coping skills. It builds up the feeling of emotional safety so that coping skills may develop.
Differentiating between “plain” Borderline patients – and those whose behavior is brought on by traumatic experience may help to eliminate some of the stigma still associated with BPD. It may also offer actual, more effective treatment than CBT or other approaches.