Borderline personality disorder (BPD), characterized by pervasive instability in moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image and behavior, afflicts approximately 2 percent of the general population and is a leading cause of suicide. Eight to 10 percent of individuals with this disorder take their own lives.
“A common misapprehension by family, friends and often by clinicians is that patients with borderline personality disorder are not likely to commit suicide since suicidal behavior is seen as a bid for attention, misjudged as not serious. The prevalence is more than 400 times higher than in the general population,” said John Oldham, MD, MS, senior vice president and chief of staff, The Menninger Clinic, and professor of psychiatry and executive vice chair, Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine.
Despite the prevalence of BPD, its diagnosis by therapists is often impeded by the lack of awareness and frequent co-occurrence with other conditions, such as depression, substance abuse and anxiety. To help therapists diagnose this disorder and build an alliance with their BPD patients, new ways of categorizing and defining BPD are in consideration. Dr. Oldham is one of the consultants on the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), expected to be published in 2011.
BPD usually manifests itself in late adolescence or early adulthood, according to Dr. Oldham.
“Patients with borderline personality disorder often have a stormy course, punctuated with episodes of high-risk behavior. The patient’s symptom profile as well as coexisting conditions, such as substance abuse, influence an individual’s course. Due to the disabling nature of the disorder, accompanied by high levels of emotional pain and distress, patients generally seek treatment and if they adhere to treatment and overcome high-risk behavior, they may ultimately do quite well.”
Officially recognized in 1980 by the psychiatric community, borderline personality disorder is at least two decades behind in research treatment options and education compared to other serious mental illnesses. Congressional Resolution, H. Res. 1005, is awaiting final action to designate May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. This resolution acknowledges the pressing burden of those afflicted with borderline personality disorder, confirms the widespread prevalence of this disorder and seeks to spread awareness of this under-recognized and often misunderstood mental illness.
This Menninger Continuing Education Conference, offering continuing education credit to health professionals, is co-sponsored by the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD) and The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Metropolitan Houston. Topics and speakers include:
- Borderline Personality Disorder: Overview of Recent Research Findings by John M. Oldham, MD, MS
- Mentalizing in the Treatment of BPD by Jon G. Allen, PhD
- Evidence-Based Treatment of BPD by Glen O. Gabbard, MD
- Borderline Personality as a Self-Other Representational Disturbance by Donna S. Bender, PhD
- New Developments in the Neurobiology of BPD by Larry J. Siever, MD
- Borderline Personality Disorder in DSM-V by Andrew E. Skodal, MD
For conference information, see http://www.menningerclinic.com/calendar/BorderlineConf.pdf or call Menninger Education at 713-275-5060. The conference schedule and online registration form is also accessible at: MenningerClinic.com, Calendar, Conferences & Forums; NEABPD.org and NAMI.org, NAMI Metropolitan Houston Website.
The Menninger Clinic is an international specialty psychiatric center, providing treatment, research and education. Founded in 1925 in Kansas, Menninger relocated to Houston in 2003 and is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital. For 17 consecutive years, Menninger has been named among the leading psychiatric hospitals in U.S.News & World Report‘s annual ranking of America’s Best Hospitals