Viewing borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a form of neurodivergence may help us embrace our innate strengths and find new ways to approach diagnosis.
The term “neurodivergent” means
The autistic singer wanted to change the way people think about neurodevelopmental disorders like autism.
Over time, the concept of neurodiversity
Some have suggested that borderline personality disorder (BPD) may also fall under the umbrella of neurodiversity. BPD is a mental health condition characterized by sudden mood swings, difficulty regulating emotions, dissociation, intense fear of abandonment, or a distorted and variable sense of self.
Currently, experts do not formally recognize BPD as a neurodivergent disease, but that may change in the future.
Research continues to delve into the neurological underpinnings of BPD.
“According to published research, BPD has not yet been formally classified as a neurodivergent disease, but evidence suggests that it should be considered a neurodivergent disorder,” New York City said. said Janet Rolandini, a trained clinical social worker and director of Suffolk DBT.
For example, a 2022 review investigated the high prevalence of overlapping symptoms such as impulsivity and emotional difficulties in BPD and ADHD. ADHD is a recognized neurodiverse condition. The review authors found that both conditions involve alterations in the same two areas of her brain.
Neurodiversity in BPD may not be limited to neuronal function. In a 2019 review, experts found that people with BPD may experience changes in brain structure and brain function.
People with BPD may have underlying neurological differences compared to those without BPD. These differences can contribute to the experience of intense emotions and the difficulty in controlling them, explains Rolandini.
These differences in brain structure and function may also be responsible for certain traits and behaviors common to both BPD and recognized neuronal branching conditions.
Stimulation refers to repetitive self-soothing behaviors such as:
- tap your fingertips together
- pen click
- hum or make other sounds
- rubbing patches on skin or clothing
Although people often associate stimuli with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, anyone can express stimulus behavior.
I have BPD and find myself doing small, repetitive movements like biting my nails, twirling my hair, or tapping the side of my leg with a pencil when I’m stressed or having trouble concentrating. In some cases, these may act as a form of self-stimulation. .
Stimulation is not a bad thing. It offers a way to deal with stress and discomfort, allowing you to feel relief when you need it most.
That said, recognizing stimulus patterns can help you identify when other forms of stress relief can help. For example, if you find yourself rocking back and forth in an uncomfortable social setting, you might be able to go outside and calm down for a while.
Many people with autism and other neurodivergent conditions occasionally experience some degree of sensory overload.
You may also notice an increased sensitivity to environmental factors such as sound, says Rolandini.
Or if you can smell it, you have BPD and are finding it difficult to cope with these stimuli.
Managing sensory overload can be difficult, especially when you’re stressed and tense. But remember, if the world suddenly feels too much to handle, it’s okay to have some space.
These moments can be used to better understand sensory thresholds. This will make it easier for you to take a break before you become overwhelmed in the future.
Systematization describes the need to organize the world around us into analytical or practical systems.
Some everyday examples of systemization include:
- Follow a strict schedule and struggle when plans change
- devote time to a few very specific interests
- You must store your belongings in exactly the same place
- wear certain clothes on certain days of the week
The researchers noted that systemization may simply be one aspect of BPD. They also raised the idea that systematized traits may develop as a way of balancing or compensating for difficult-to-manage emotions.
So even if you find it difficult to predict or control your moods and emotions, it can be reassuring to know that you have a sense of control over your routine and other aspects of your life. not.
Additionally, sticking to a set system or schedule may do more than ease you.
Many neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism and ADHD, are associated with difficulty regulating emotions, a hallmark of BPD.
Emotional dysregulation means that you are more likely to experience outbursts, impulsivity, and sudden mood swings.
However, when emotions do spike, you can use exercises like journaling and mindfulness to turn your emotions into personal growth.
You can also try opposite behaviors or practice counteracting your emotions. For example, when you’re really tense and tense, you can take a slow breath and sit still to suggest a calm mindset.
Differences in executive functions
Cognitive differences could also be a sign of neural divergence in BPD, says Rolandini.
For example, many people with BPD also have problems with working memory and processing speed, which can make it difficult to make decisions and coordinate behavior, she says.
People process information in different ways. With a little experimentation, you can find the method that works best for you. This may include using notes or other reminders to help you remember things.
You can also remember more information from hands-on learning and watching videos than from reading books or having someone explain it to you.
Please know that thinking outside the box does not mean that there is something “issue” with your brain.
Approaching BPD as a form of neurodivergence can represent a useful first step in changing your perspective—and that of others—in receiving a diagnosis.
BPD has many prejudices, and facing negative attitudes from others can cause embarrassment and fear of judgment.
However, looking at BPD through the lens of neurodiversity may help reframe public perceptions of people with BPD, as well as provide more compassionate and understanding treatment approaches. There is
There is no cure for BPD, but support from a mental health professional can make a big difference in quality of life, relationships, and daily functioning.
If you have BPD, your therapist may recommend trying dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a type of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically designed to help people with BPD.
DBT is focused on helping you learn to bear pain and to productively accept and manage difficult emotions.
For your information
No medicine can specifically treat BPD.
That said, if you experience severe anxiety or depression, your therapist may refer you to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medications to help manage these symptoms.
Check out our options for online therapy and psychiatric services.