Is BPD a Severe Mental Impairment?

BPD can have deep consequences on one’s life. But is BPD a severe mental impairment? Here, we answer this question and more with help of a BPD test.

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Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental health condition that renders the sufferer with an inability to control their mood and behaviors. The mood swings and the shifts from one behavioral set to another can cause instability and create complications in the life of the person struggling. So much so that their day-to-day lives and relationships could be affected drastically.

However, one of the major concerns of many is whether or not BPD is in fact a severe mental impairment – causing permanent or long-term damage. It’s a valid concern, especially looking at the symptom set of those that suffer from this disorder.

So, is BPD a severe mental impairment? Throughout this article, we’re going to answer this question and give you some insight in how to identify BPD symptoms. At the end, we invite you to ask further questions.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that is marked by drastic changes to one’s own emotions, overall mood, and behaviors. Those who struggle with BPD often have vastly different mood subsets that change drastically throughout a given period of time and these mood shifts are often exhibited by erratic behaviors and situations that the sufferer may find themselves experiencing.

These kinds of drastic and rapid shifts from one emotional state to another can create a strain on relationships that the patient may have with friends, colleagues, and loved ones. ¹

What Are the Symptoms of BPD?

The symptoms of BPD are categorized by the different shifts in mood and behaviors. While every case is unique in its subset of symptoms, there are common ones that can distinguish a BPD case from other mental health conditions. ² Those common symptoms are:

  • Unstable relationships at work, home, or otherwise. Most of those dealing with BPD have real issues sincerely connecting with other people due to the rapid and evolving shifts in mood and behavior.
  • An overwhelming fear of abandonment from those someone with BPD close to. Most times, this fear of abandonment isn’t logical and more perceived than realistic – however, that fear of abandonment is a common symptom of BPD.
  • Exhibiting and experimenting with impulsive behaviors that could be detrimental to the sufferer’s own health – whether it be one’s own physical or mental health or their overall financial wellbeing. Examples of these kinds of impulsive behaviors could be unsafe sex, excessive spending, or reckless driving.
  • Dissociation and dissociative thoughts which causes the sufferer to become detached from reality, creating their own kind of reality.
  • Self-harming behaviors that can come about erratically and could be driven by suicidal thoughts or ideations.

What Causes BPD?

Scientists still don’t completely understand what causes BPD. However, psychologists and researchers that have looked into this mental health phenomenon have agreed that it routinely involves specific key factors. These include: ³

  • Brain Function – Due to advances in medical technology, there is now a new understanding that the emotional regulation system may be different in people with BPD. With this understanding, there could be a neurological basis for some of the symptoms. Specifically, the portions of the brain that control emotions and decision-making/judgment may not communicate optimally with one another.
  • Environmental and Social Factors – Of those diagnosed with BPD, many have a history of past trauma. This can poor living conditions, violent or abuse in their past, and even sexual abuse at the hands of someone they admire or knew.
  • Genetics – There is a belief that those who have developed a mental illness, like BPD, have contracted it through the genes carried by and passed down to them by their parents. It’s worth noting that if anyone in the family has had BPD (i.e. grandparent, aunt, cousin, etc.), there’s an increased chance of another family member developing the condition.

Is BPD a Severe Mental Impairment?

BPD is a disruption in the regulation of controlling and exhibiting emotions. Unlike other mental health conditions, BPD is a cyclical chronic condition that doesn’t go away. That being stated, there are ways in which to combat and control the more severe symptoms of the condition.

Still, the reality is that BPD is a permanent disorder and if it grows unstable, it can become even more severe than initially expected. The primary reason this is a concern is the fact that BPD comes with a number of serious risk factors, including self-harm and suicidal ideation.

How Do You Know If You Have BPD?

Finding out if you or someone you love has BPD is not a simple task and usually requires a mental health professional’s expertise. They will be able to correctly identify symptoms and complications to see whether or not you meet the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) 5.

With that said, there are diagnostic measures that can be taken by one’s own reconnaissance in order to help start the path for treatment. Still, if you aren’t sure and simply want to take a quick test, you can always take a questionnaire on yourr current situations, mood swings, and level of disassociation that often occurs in cases of BPD.

Borderline Personality Disorder Test

There are many tests online that can help put you in the right direction. Most of these will ask questions regarding feelings of anger or sadness, the volume and ferocity of mood swings, and self-harm and suicidal ideations or actions.

Although these tests are not completely definitive in diagnosing a potential patient of BPD, it can help in organizing and identifying several key diagnostic factors which could aid in getting a complete and overall diagnosis from a mental health professional.

However, it should be noted that these tests aren’t usually applicable for the various types of BPD. For example, there is no high functioning borderline personality disorder test that can accurately determine a condition as specific as such.

We here at Bedlamite have conducted a few of these online questionnaires for BPD and have constructed a sample BPD test for those interested in having a better understanding of what may be asked on said self-administered exam: ⁴ ⁵ ⁶

  • Do you suffer from an overwhelming fear of abandonment, either by those you love or look up to in your life?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you often feel like you are low, empty, or have an overall unstable image of yourself?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you have periods of time in your day-to-day life where you feel a sudden shift in the way you look at your life, often changing goals or overall focus?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you have impulsive or self-destructive behaviors? Behaviors may include excessive spending, overdrinking, unsafe or dangerous sexual actions.
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Have you suffered from uncontrollable anger?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you suffer from overwhelming episodes of extreme emptiness, loneliness, or boredom that disrupt your day-to-day functionality?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you have periods of time where you have paranoia over those you hold close leaving or abandoning you and opt to take action to prevent that, whether the abandonment is perceived or real?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you have times where you feel that you are ‘out of the loop’ with reality, dissociating from reality for extended periods of time?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you have repeated impulsive suicidal or self-harm thoughts or ideations?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No
  • Do you act out on those suicidal or self-harm thoughts or beliefs, causing bodily injury or mutilation?
    • Yes
    • Sometimes
    • No

If you have answered yes to multiple questions, it’s best to seek some mental health treatment to address these concerns.

Due note: This is a sample self-administered examination and any results that this test yield isn’t to be taken as a diagnosis or a confirmation that you or others have BPD or suffer from mental disorders that align with the symptoms that are presented above.

Final Word

BPD can be a disruptive and severe mental disorder. It can intercede in relationships, career, and life goals and can become overwhelming. However, that doesn’t mean that someone can’t find ways in which to control their BPD symptoms and find consistency and comfort in their lives.

As mentioned, BPD is a lifelong condition that will constantly bring about its difficulties. Yet, through proper treatment, you can find ways to manage these symptoms and move on to live a fulfilling life.

Your Questions

Still have questions concerning whether or not BPD is a severe mental impairment?

We invite you to ask them in the comment’s section below. If you have any further knowledge to share – whether personal or professional – we’d also love to hear from you.

Reference Sources

¹ National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): Borderline Personality Disorder – Overview

² National Alliance on Mental Health (NIMH): Borderline Personality Disorder – Symptoms

³ National Health System UK: Causes for Borderline Personality Disorder

⁴ Psycom: Borderline Personality Disorder Self Administered Identification Test

⁵ VeryWellMind: Do You Have Borderline Personality Disorder? A Self Administered Test

⁶ PsychCentral: Borderline Personality Test

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