Borderline Personality Disorder (cont.)

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What causes borderline personality disorder?

Although there is no specific cause for BPD, like most other mental disorders, it is understood to be the result of a combination of biological vulnerabilities, ways of thinking, and social stressors (biopsychosocial model). Biologically, individuals with BPD are more likely to have abnormalities in the size of the hippocampus, in the size and functioning of the amygdala, and in the functioning of the frontal lobes, which are the areas of the brain that are understood to regulate emotions and integrate thoughts with emotions. Although some research asserts that people with BPD seem to have areas of the brain that are more and less active compared to individuals who do not have the disorder, other research contradicts that. Therefore, specific patterns of brain functioning, as they are currently studied and understood, seem unreliable predictors of BPD.

While it is not thought to be genetic, it can somewhat run in families. Psychologically, BPD seems to make a person more vulnerable to difficulty managing their emotions, particularly impulsive aggression. Socially, this disorder predisposes sufferers to be more likely to excessively expect to be criticized or rejected and negatively personalize disinterest or inattention from others. Their social tendencies make for great difficulty in their relationships. In addition to these issues, people with BPD are more likely to have suffered from childhood abuse or neglectful parenting.

What are the risk factors for borderline personality disorder?

Adults who come from families of origin where divorce, neglect, sexual abuse, substance abuse, or death occurred are at higher risk of developing BPD. In children, the risk for developing this disorder appears to increase when they have a learning problem or certain temperaments. Adolescents who develop alcohol abuse or addiction are also apparently at higher risk of developing BPD compared to those who do not.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/17/2014

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