Borderline Personality Disorder

30 April 2021

Often misunderstood, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a recognised and serious mental health condition. When seeking support, it is noted that people with BPD and families/ carers encounter social and medical discrimination, experiencing stigma, shame and judgement based on the diagnosis.

Family/relationship counselling play an important role as part of treatment.

Misdiagnosis

The number of people identified as having BPD may not be accurate as many people with the condition have not been diagnosed or have been misdiagnosed.  The most common misdiagnoses are bipolar disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). BPD is a complex disorder with symptoms that are like many other mental health conditions. 

However, it is the case that co-occurring conditions are not uncommon for people with BPD and that PTSD in particular is often part of the diagnosis. Did you know that people with BPD are 13 times more likely to report childhood trauma than people with any other mental health issues?

Analysis of data from 42 international studies of over 5,000 people found that 71.1% of people who were diagnosed with the condition reported at least one traumatic childhood experience. This underlines the importance of trauma informed practice for people accessing mental health supports.

Recovery from BPD

Recovery from BPD is possible despite previous misconceptions that the condition is untreatable. There are now many evidence-based treatments and programs to support and facilitate recovery for a people living with BPD, and for families/ carers of people living with BPD.

NMHCCF Recommendations

The NMHCCF recognised that BPD consumers are often considered manipulative and attention-seeking, including by mental health professionals tasked with providing their support and care. More training, knowledge and understanding is required to change the prevailing negative attitudes of health and mental health professionals about BPD, which can result in poor access to and refusal of treatment.  Ongoing education, training and upskilling, including trauma informed practice, of the mental health workforce and the community needs to be provided to address the stigma and discrimination associated with a diagnosis of BPD.

Download the full advoacy brief

Advocacy Brief - Borderline Personality Disorder