Personality Disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Affects nearly 6% of adults, males and females are affected equally, however more women seek treatment. Usually diagnosed in adolescence or adulthood. Exact cause is unknown but believed to be a combination of biological factors, ways of thinking and social stressors. People with BPD are more likely to have abnormalities in the size of the hippocampus, the size and functioning of the amygdala, and in frontal lobe functioning, which are the areas of the brain which impact a person’s ability to regulate emotions.

While BPD is not thought to be genetic, it can sometimes run in families, this may be due to what behaviors are modelled by the family. Individuals with BPD are more likely to have suffered from abusive or neglectful childhoods.

Characterized by

  • difficulty with emotional regulation (to the point that the emotional reactions are not appropriate to the situation)
  • black and white thinking (strong feelings of liking someone or not liking someone-someone can be seen as either all good or all bad one day, another day, or both within a matter of minutes or hours)
  • the strong emotions can colour the way the individuals perceives things.
  • the individual is not out of touch with reality, nor delusional, but they perceive things and events differently because of the emotions (although brief psychotic episodes can occur to some people with severe BPD).
  • The person may have an unstable self-image, exhibit severe impulsive behaviors, repeated suicide attempts or threats, engage in self-mutilating behaviours, feelings of emptiness, inappropriate anger and difficulty regulating anger

Book Recommendation

If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with or shows signs of Borderline Personality Disorder, Mental Health Estrie highly recommends the book “Overcoming Borderline Personality Disorder:  A Family Guide for Healing and Change,” by Valerie Porr, M.A.  Porr’s understanding of the effects of BPD on both the individual as well as family and friends is outstanding.  This book uses the principles of Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mentalization-based Therapy to help family members develop skills that have proven to be highly effective in reducing family conflict and in increasing trust.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

About 6% of the population is thought to have NPD.  It is more prevalent among males than females.  As with most personality disorders, traits of NPD tend to decrease with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in their 40’s – 50s. NPD is usually diagnosed in adulthood, because personality disorders describe patterns of behavior (children or teens are in constant development).

Exact cause is unknown, many clinicians believe the disorder may be caused by a combination of biological and genetic factors, social factors (how the person interacted with their environment as a child) and psychological factors (temperament, personality and learned coping skills).

Characterized by

  • Long standing pattern of grandiosity (self-importance) either in fantasy or actual behavior (exaggerates achievements, expects to be recognized as superior)
  • An overwhelming need for admiration
  • Usually a complete lack of empathy for others
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement (others owe him or her or should automatically comply with his/her wishes)
  • Is exploitative with others (may take advantage of others to achieve his/her own goals)

Mental Health Estrie offers support groups for  family and friends who have a loved one coping with a mental illness. For more information, click here

Mental Health Estrie offers support groups for individuals coping with a lived experience of mental illness. For more information, click here