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Borderline Personality Disorder or Traumatic Stress Disorder

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, Borderline Disordersomeone 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.

One of the problems with BPD is that since it is a “personality disorder“, there is often no recognized medical treatment.

We simply expect that the patient should self-monitor and control their behavior.  Therapy may help this, but how many of us (psychiatric patients, in general) really want to go to therapy.

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.

In fact, the stigma is so bad that some therapists won’t even work with Borderline patients.

Co Morbid DisordersOne 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?

There are more ways to treat traumatic stress disorders such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or a newer one, Dialectical Behavior TherapyDBT focuses on four major areas:

•    Regulation of emotionsPost-Traumatic Stress Disorder
•    Tolerance for distress
•    Interpersonal effectiveness
•    Mindfulness

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.

Melissa Lind

Is it Antisocial Personality Disorder?

Some teenagers act as if they have antisocial personality disorder

I once knew a family with a son who was diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder.  The “kid” had grown up in a wealthy subdivision with a father who was a former professional athlete.  The “kid” had everything that most “kids” would want.  In high school, he had a brand new car that he immediately totaled after a party.  He was in trouble with the law several times during high school.

When his father tried to put his foot down, his mother took the “kid’s” side.  She thought he would grow out of it.  Others said that his behavior was the result of “privilege”, which certainly didn’t help, but it is clear that not every wealthy kid is a spoiled brat – and a dangerous one at that.

Antisocial Personality DisorderRather than using his position and financial ability to go to college and earn a degree, he started doing drugs and got kicked out.  He was sent to a famous rehabilitation center where as soon as he “dried out”, he beat up a staff member and was thrown out.  He went home and beat up his girlfriend, but his mother hired the most expensive lawyer available, and he was given probation.  He was arrested with a sizeable amount of drugs – and again was bailed out by his mother.

This went on for a number of years – but the teenage behavior never stopped.  He finally exhausted the judge’s leniency and ended up in a state penitentiary.  Each time, he blamed his behavior on someone else.  He wouldn’t have gotten drunk if he hadn’t been so mad, he wouldn’t have beaten his girlfriend if she had just done what he said… and on and on.  This “kid” was 35 by the time he went to prison, but he never understood what he had done wrong.  It was still someone else’s fault.

When someone is disagreeable, people will often say “He is anti-social.”  What they are referring to is an actual psychiatric diagnosis, Antisocial Personality Disorder, but just because someone is disagreeable or even downright rude doesn’t mean they have the condition.

A personality disorder is a pervasive pattern of behavior that is not “acceptable” by cultural standards.  It is readily seen as abnormal behavior and usually starts in adolescence or early adulthood.  In order to qualify as a “disorder”, it must lead to personal distress or impairment.

Antisocial personality disorder cannot be diagnosed until the age of 18 because many of the “symptoms” seem like typical teenage behavior.  It is characterized by disregarding and violating the rights of other people.  Many teenagers act as if they have antisocial personality disorder – but they don’t.  In addition, in order to be labeled as “antisocial“, there must have been some conduct disorder symptoms before age 15 – or the time kids are often worst as teenagers.

Ashamed of Mental Health StigmasThings that kids do or say during the teen years, don’t count.

A person with antisocial personality disorder has a general disdain for the rights of other people and may violate those rights on a routine basis.  They may be charming, but ruthless and are likely to be irresponsible, irritable, and aggressive.  They are also likely to be in legal trouble and likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

Antisocial Personality disorder also comes in a range of severity.  A person with mild antisocial personality disorder could be compared to a teenager who continuously borrows her mother’s jewelry when she has been told not to.  This would not be completely out of the norm in some teen girls, but in adults, it may indicate pathology.

People with more dangerous or harmful behavior are referred to as sociopaths or even psychopathsSociopaths have even less regard for someone else’s rights or property and may not even feel the need to argue if confronted – acting like a schoolyard bully.  Psychopaths are said to have a complete lack of conscience and are unable to recognize the violation and do not have the ability to empathize – something like “The Joker” in Batman.

People with antisocial behavior patterns are also extremely manipulative and splendid liars.  It is hard to tell what is true and what is not true.  They may appear to be friendly when they want something, or they may attempt suicide when they want something else.  It is a fine line to walk, whether to believe them or not.

Unfortunately, personality disorders are not something that can be changed through medication.  In this case, it is a failure of conscience, and there is no pill for that.  In some cases, therapy can work but the therapist must be very skilled in order to avoid being manipulated themselves.

Melissa Lind

Aromatherapy as Treatment of Depression

We are all affected by sights, sounds, and smells.

That is why aromatherapy is effective for so many different things that we may experience in our lives. It includes physical illnesses as well as mental setbacks, such as depression. In fact, aromatherapy is highly effective in easing the symptoms of depression.

LavenderLavender is one of the most effective scents for the treatment of depression. This scent increases the instance of waves in the back of the head, which promotes relaxation. Jasmine is also another well-known scent, as it increases the example of waves in the front of the head.

However, the waves increased in the back of the head with lavender are alpha waves — for relaxation — while the waves increased in the front of the head are beta waves — for alertness.

Aside from lavender and jasmine, other scents are also useful for various aspects of depression symptoms. These include clary sage (insomnia), basil (fatigue), rose (nervous system), and sandalwood (tension). Other prominent scents that may ease symptoms of depression include chamomile, patchouli, bergamot, rosemary, and geranium.

Essential OilWhile you can use candles for aromatherapy, the ideal method is to use essential oils of the herb scent that you require. Essential oils can be used as diffusers, in baths, massages, or even as perfume or body splashes.

Again, when using scents for aromatherapy, the oils are more effective than candles. These oils can be purchased from health food stores and online sources. In many cases, you will receive a small break on the cost when ordering larger quantities.

While aromatherapy will ease symptoms of depression, it should not replace therapy that is needed to treat depression, and it may not even replace medications used for treatment of depression.

Be sure to discuss treatment options with your doctor.

When aromatherapy is used as treatment of depression, oils are more effective than candles

Borderline Personality Disorder – True Story

A true Borderline Personality Disorder story

BPD – The likeable guy who suddenly isn’t

I once knew a man who I met through a friend.  When I met him, she was already planning on marrying him so I could not say much of anything.  He was an utterly likeable guy who was fun, fun-loving and an all-around joy to be near, but there was something I couldn’t understand.

My friend, due to her previous life experiences involving traumatic loss, was extremely opposed to anyone she loved being in the police service.  Her fiancé had been a marine and had later gone into the military police.  He had retired from the military and was working in his family business as the Vice President but had also grown his hair out, dressed in very casual clothing and loved race-cars.  He swore “blind” that he would never enter the military or law enforcement again.

This fun-loving person with long hair, wearing tank tops and racing cars was the guy I met.  He was also mechanically inept – couldn’t put a shelf on a wall or even put a barbeque grill together with instructions.  After they had got married, my husband and another friend spent many hours doing “fix-it” work around their house – taking things such as grass spreaders and playground sets apart to put them back together correctly.

Borderline Personality Disorder - Swirly MindHe was also very generous – spending money all the time for all and anyone around.  He would take 15 people to see a rock concert or a hockey game, bought the boys new video game systems and video games every weekend, bought garden supplies, supplies to put in a backyard kiln after my friend had said she thought she might want to make a pot, had a pool installed, bought a go-cart and mini-bike for the boys, $3000 vacuum cleaner… He traded her car in for a new, better, bigger car at least once a year, sometimes after only a few months. They were not in financial distress, but he was never concerned with how much money he spent.

I could never reconcile the goofball man with long hair and a beard who used to be a marine and an MP.

Fast forward a few years.  One day, my friend called me, totally hysterical because she came home to find him with a military style haircut, wearing a police uniform with guns and all – preparing to go to a part-time job that he had gotten with a police department in a small town nearby, having done all this in secret.  He swore it was only part-time because they needed the extra income (which they didn’t).

For several months, she expressed her extreme displeasure, fear, hatred.  Each time I would drive to their house, I would think, “What are the police doing here?”

Then I would remember that it was his patrol car.

Fast forward a few more months.  He is now working full-time as a cop – even though he promised it would only be part time.  She hates it.  He is also starting to exhibit bizarre behavior, restrictive rules for the kids, can’t keep from calling her every 10 minutes – even while he is at work, even while she is grocery shopping or picking up kids from school.

Tensions rise, arguments ensue, culminating in an episode involving him threatening to shoot himself in front of the 10 year old who runs from the house in his underwear to hide at the neighbors.

BPD - Borderline Personality DisorderHe eventually calms down and suggests that they need marital counseling – that she needs “help.”  Of course, he says it is “her” that needs help, and he is only going for her problems.

They go to the counseling where the therapist disagrees with his idea that the core issue is her problem.  They are both referred to a psychiatrist.  The psychiatrist diagnoses him with Borderline Personality Disorder – giving him medication and recommends extended therapy.  The psychiatrist gives her a prescription for situational anxiety disorder – as she is having intermittent panic attacks due to his behavior.  He recommends that my friend go to therapy to deal with her emotions surrounding the family issues and for their son to go to therapy to deal with the fact that his father flips out.

She decides to stay – based on his agreement to take medications and go to therapy.  Which he does not.  He does not believe the therapist or the physician were correct.
He then tells her that she needs to go to all of his police and wives functions – and makes plans to join the State Police Controlled Substances Crime division – sponsored by the governor.  Another episode involving a mental breakdown and a couple of loaded firearms occurs.

She puts her kid in the car – and leaves a beautiful home with a pool and all the money she could want, in order to escape.  He calls and calls and appears not to understand what happened, blaming the whole situation on her paranoia.  She never goes back and now lives as a single mom in a low-rent housing unit without financial assistance from him.  Apparently this is much better than dealing with him.

This man, my goofball friend – turned into a raving nutcase and likely it was not the first time (or the last time) he had done so.  He went back to his former wife to marry her for the third time.

Years later, we still get “restricted number” phone calls from him – for no apparent reason other than to check up on her.

Until this experience, I always thought that Borderline Personality Disorder was a fairly benign thing – they were secret manipulators but relatively innocuous – along the same lines as Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is irritating but not dangerous.  Now I know that is not true, Borderline Personality Disorder, also known as Emotionally UnstablePersonality Disorder is a real and valid psychiatric disorder that should be treated.

It is characterized by:

•    Occupational – Economic issues such as a sudden shift in career field cue to sudden changes in values, self-opinion
•    Antagonism
•    Separation anxiety and abandonment issues
•    Suicidal behavior
•    Multiple separations or divorces
•    Unstable, intense close relationships are vacillating with extreme anger
•    Harmful impulsiveness – including spending, reckless driving, thrill-seeking
•    Physical Violence
•    Chronic feelings of boredom which may contribute to impulsive activities
•    Irresponsibility

The National Institute of Mental Health says that Borderline Personality disorder is likely to last for many years and may be subject to relapse of symptoms which remiss but those core symptoms such as highly changeable moods and impulsive behavior will likely continue.

Melissa Lind

Dealing with Stress and Coping in the 21st Century

Modern day life is so fast paced that it leads to increasing episodes of stress.

It is quite common for each one of us to experience stress, be it the workplace or at home. While it is not possible to eliminate stress altogether, we can survive by changing our response to stressing and how we deal with it.

Nervous and StressedWhen you are constantly under pressure, not only are you facing mental strain, but your body also become dysfunctional and suffer physically. Stress might have antagonistic effects on your health and your general health might go south. You might be easily affected by hypertension, heart ailments and problems like diabetes, eating disorders, etc.

For this reason, it is essential to get pressure head on and deal with it and head to reduce stress levels. Let us now learn a few steps to help control and cope with stress.

Understand the Cause for Stress

Many people worry for anything and everything. Sometimes they do not even realize they are worrying and are getting stressed out. If you are feeling stressed, understand why you are feeling stressed. Sometimes the cause is so trivial that you will understand that you need not be stressed for that cause. So, by understanding the cause for stress, you may be able to eliminate the stress altogether.

Forget Your Worries

Sometimes it is essential to let go of everything and forget your worries. Find something else to do so that you are not worrying. Find time to pursue a hobby, go on a vacation, play a sport, sing if you can, etc are some of the ways that people try to eliminate stress and cope with it.

Do not fret about Things you have any Control Over

Some people are stressed because of some general occurrence such as a calamity, the traffic situation while driving, how your local team performed in the annual meet, etc. Understand that this is a situation where you have no say and avoid getting stressed due to such reasons.

Healthy Food Can Reduce StressEat Right

Stress can cause severe disturbances to eating habits. While some might skip meals altogether, others might tend to overeat. Eat right! This is essential to help you cope up with stress and be able to deal with it.

Exercise will help you relieve stress as this is a major stress buster. Not only will it help eliminate stress, it will also help you overcome problems associated with stress like hypertension, heart ailments, diabetes, etc.

In the course of our everyday life stress is a serious problem that each and everyone. It is possible to alter the way we react to stress and thus not get into many health problems that are associated with increased stress, although we cannot eliminate stress from our lives.

Anxiety Acupuncture – Fighting Hospital Anxiety

Acupuncture for Parents.

A recent study points toward a new way of fighting hospital anxiety acupuncture. The study used acupuncture around the ears of mothers of children undergoing surgical procedures and discovered that the process not only made things easier for the moms, but for the children, as well.Acupuncture Clinic

A relatively small test group of mothers whose children would be undergoing surgery in the site hospital was given an acupuncture treatment around the ear using small needles. The mothers later reported a significant reduction in their level of anxiety. Acupuncture did not just work for the moms. However, their relative calm and lack of worry had an impact on their children too.

A calm mother, it seems, tends to produce a less anxious child. This certainly appeared to be the case of the kids whose moms had underwent the treatment, they experienced far less anxiety. Acupuncture for their mothers allowed them to have a more relaxing and less stressful experience in the hospital and prior to surgery. Children often have an extremely difficult time, in terms of anxiety, with surgery. They experience all of the fears adults do but without the experience and knowledge that allow older people to approach the situation more calmly and rationally.

Scary Mental HospitaleThis finding is potentially significant for a few reasons. Initially, it demonstrates that there may be another weapon in the war against anxiety. Acupuncture seems to have a real impact on stress levels and holds out a great deal of potential for reducing anxious feelings and worries. The research is confirming the long held beliefs of many in Eastern countries whose civilizations have long practiced acupuncture and consider it a traditional part of their medicine.

Additionally, the surgical procedure can be improved by reducing anxiety.

Acupuncture for the parents made the surgical experience easier for the children. The reduction in pre-procedure stress and usually resulting crying and outbursts allowed those responsible for the children’s care to better concentrate on the surgical procedure and medical matters. Medical professionals could spend less time to take care of people on anxiety and more time on the surgery. Acupuncture for the parents of children slated for surgeries may be a brilliant idea for hospitals everywhere.

Finally, everyone agreed to take away the frightening and trying experience of the medical procedure since this would be a positive thing and, easier for children. If children, by calming parents, can have a less horrifying stay at the hospital and in preparation for surgery, it is beneficial, regardless of whether or not it dramatically assists healthcare providers.

The acupuncture process itself was relatively painless, featuring a handful of truly small needles placed around the ears. Most study participants were surprised that the remarkably small devices were able to have such a significant impact on their mindset and behavior.

The research, which was conducted by a physician at the Yale School of Medicine, shows us that there might be a relatively easy way significantly to reduce hospital waiting room anxiety: Acupuncture.

Check out the page Acupuncture for Anxiety!