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Borderline Personality Disorders

Posted by J. Benjamin Stevens | Feb 21, 2006 | 0 Comments

My significant other has lost his/her mind!!! How many times have you said (or at least thought) these words? I recently had a case in which a party's mental status was a legitimate issue. In the course of my representation, I had to research the issues of Borderline Personality Disorder. I thought it might be helpful to share some basic information on this topic with you.
The DSM-IV sets out the following diagnostic criteria for Borderline Personality Disorder:
A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5);
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation;
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self;
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). (does not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5);
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior;
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days);
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness;
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights);
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

To get more information on this topic, you can visit BPDCentral.com, a list of resources for people who care about someone with borderline personality disorder. You might also want to read the following books on this topic: Stop Walking on Eggshells; Coping When Somebody You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreiger;Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Tense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship by Christine Ann Lawson; and The Borderline Personality: Vision and Healing by Nathan Schwartz-Salant. Thanks to Clarke Logan Young Law Office of Santa Monica, California for their excellent post on this important topic.

About the Author

J. Benjamin Stevens

Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Ben is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocates. He is one of only four attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. To schedule a consultation with Ben Stevens call (864) 598-9172.

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