Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD can often be quite difficult to diagnose because it is quite similar to other mental health conditions, especially those that are considered mood disorders.
Percentage of Accurately Diagnosed Cases
The amount of accurately diagnosed cases can be alarming and is a good reason why so many people don’t receive the right diagnosis. The percentage of correct diagnosis is somewhat higher than one would expect since the prevalence of BPD is around 1% of the general population is predicted to suffer from it. There are accurate diagnosed cases in 10% of outpatients, 20% of inpatients and 6% of family medicine patients.
Research indicates that women tend to be 70% of the patients BPD patients in clinical settings and most of them showed their first symptoms in late adolescence.
Where Patients are Frequently Seen
Those who suffer from BPD are quite often first seen in the ER of most hospitals where they often have threatened to commit suicide or they have attempted to kill themselves. Over 500,000 visits to the ER happen every year just in the United States alone. Cases of suicide attempts among people with BPD tend to be the highest among people who are in their twenties, but death rates peak in the thirties, with 10% actually dying.
How is Borderline Personality Disorder Diagnosed?
Diagnosing BPD is always based on the symptoms that have been around since a patient’s adolescence or their early adulthood and appears in varies contexts. Sadly, there are no imaging tests or lab tests that can help with this type of diagnosis. There are however, a variety of different semi-structured and structured interviews that can help to assist in making this diagnosis, but often they do require someone who is specially trained to administer them.
When interviewing a patient, there are different types of symptoms that need to be explored. There are four categories of symptoms which include: affectivity, impulse control, interpersonal functioning, and cognitive. Each diagnosis requires that the patient show at least five of nine different criteria are met.
The 9 Different Criteria
BPD can lead to a pattern of instability when it comes to interpersonal relationships. It can also cause people to suffer from self-image issues and can be marked with impulsive behavior that can start in early adulthood and present itself in a variety of different ways. Professionals have a list of diagnostic criteria for BPD which are listed below:
1. There tend to be frantic efforts to try and avoid the real or imagined feelings of abandonment. Note, however, these feelings don’t include self-harming or suicidal behavior.
2. There tends to be a pattern of both intense and even unstable interpersonal relationships with others around them that is characterized by always alternating between extreme feelings of devaluation and idealization.
3. With BPD often there are identity issues that can be persistently and markedly unstable sense of one’s self or their self-image.
4. Impulsive behavior can be seen in at least two different areas that could potentially be self-harming such as overspending, alcohol and/or substance abuse, reckless driving, unsafe sex practices, and binge eating.
5. Suicidal behavior, threats, and gestures or other self-harming behavior.
6. BPD can cause affective instability because of their reactive moods such as intense episodes of dysphoria, irritability and/or severe anxiety that often will last a few hours to a few days at a time.
7. Chronic feelings of hopelessness or emptiness.
8. Intense anger that tends to be inappropriate, or may have great difficulty in controlling their anger such as often displaying temper outbursts, constantly angry or having physical fights often.
9. Those suffering from BPD may also tend to suffer from transient, paranoid ideation that’s stress-related or can show signs of severe dissociative symptoms.