Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental illness that is often misunderstood. People with this disorder frequently experience stigma and discrimination.
Symptoms for people include emotional distress, self-harm, difficulty relating to others and the world around them. This can be very distressing for the person and for people close to them.
Currently between 2% and 5% of Australians, that is 440,000 to 1,100,000 individuals are affected by BPD at some stage in their lives. The symptoms of the disorder usually first appear in mid to late teens or in early adulthood, with women three times more likely to be diagnosed with BPD than men.
The causes of BPD are not fully understood. They are likely to involve biological, social and/or environmental factors. For some people these factors may relate to childhood experiences of trauma or neglect.
Contrary to common belief, people with BPD can recover! With early diagnosis, appropriate treatment and support, the prognosis for people with BPD is positive. Still today, myths persist about BPD being untreatable, resulting in many people with this diagnosis unable to access appropriate services especially in the public mental health sector.
BPD can be difficult for other people to understand. People with BPD often experience stigma and discrimination - not only by the community but also within mental health services. This compounds the feelings of shame and worthlessness people feel and contributes to the high risk of self-harm and suicide associated with BPD.