In our daily interactions, we often meet people who have mood swings and their state may vary from a few hours to a few days. The impact of these unhealthy mood swings damages their personal as well as professional life. The person suffering from these mood swings may have depression, bipolar or borderline personality disorder. There are more than 10 million Individuals diagnosed with each of these psychological issues every year in India. In this article, we are going to talk about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or emotional instability i.e. a pattern of abnormal behaviour characterized by unstable relationships with other people at a longer period of time.
Individuals with such instability have an unstable sense of self, may feel empty or afraid of being neglected. They might be unusually sensitive in a relationship, have trust issues with everyone, difficulty in regulating their emotions, and quite impulsive in nature. This impulsive nature mostly provides them immediate relief from their emotional pain and in extreme situations to lesser down this pain, they get involved into risk-taking, dangerous behaviours like rash driving, compulsive gambling, substance abuse, binge eating, unprotected sex, and accumulating debt, the threat of suicide or self-mutilation tendencies.
They most likely have a history of breakups or a sequence of a futile love relationship. Even the possibility of multiple sexual partners, not just impulsively but intentionally too. It helps them to fight the feelings of emptiness. Whenever they feel empty, lonely, or even bored, sex may generate positive feelings. While, some Individuals, on the other hand, can even have a negative attitude towards sex, thus avoidance of sex for fear of experiencing an exacerbation of their symptoms is also quite common amongst them.
Individuals with this psychological illness tend to believe in an all or none phenomenon, they might feel intense joy and gratitude at perceived expressions of kindness, and intense sadness or anger at perceived criticism or hurtfulness. A slight disappointment with others can cause a shift in their feeling from admiration or love to anger or dislike. These mood disturbances can undermine relationships with family, friends and even colleagues. We all might be ignorant about such mood swings, but we have to understand that at times they could be quite abnormal and require professional help.
There are various reasons for the very occurrence of this type of emotional instability or BPD, some of them are:
1. Traumas like being neglected, rejected, separated from their parents, at an early age can have a later impact too.
2. The most prominent causes are molestation, sexual or physical abuse experienced by an individual. Research points out that an incident of sexual or physical abuse can increase the chances of developing disorder manifold.
3. Brain Development also plays a major role many people with BPD have something wrong with the neurotransmitters in their brain, particularly serotonin. Altered levels of serotonin have been linked to depression, aggression and difficulty controlling destructive urges.
4. Family History where parents or sibling might be suffering from BPD can also lead to a higher risk of developing it. It can injure many areas of life.
5. Not just inheritance but also the environment in which an individual grows up influences his thought process and his behavioural patterns. People have a hard time dealing with it and their hypersensitivity often results in a very intense and variable response by a person. The individual learns to express his emotions in an extreme way or completely inhibits them. The root cause of the problem can be traced back to childhood.
6. Emotionally unstable Individuals lack self-awareness and are not very certain about how they see themselves and their interests. In most of the cases, people suffering from it have low self-worth and self-image. Their behaviour is very intense and most of the time doesn’t fit the situation.
The psychological condition (mood swings) can last for years and may be quite long-lasting, so it would be highly recommendable to seek for professional help if you are facing such issues. Borderline Personality Disorder is usually treated with counselling (talk therapy). Although medication may reduce the symptoms, they do not cure as the therapies do. Therapy is beneficial for people at this stage as the counsellor has the appropriate training and patience to comprehend the emotional crises that the person experiences.
The main intent of the counsellor is to help the person to identify the cause of these mood swings and to make the individual learn how to modify such behavioural patterns. The counsellor also further helps them to develop better communicative strategies and improve interpersonal relationships. Through counselling, the Individuals learn how to cope positively in tough situations, tolerate stress and how to start responding instead of reacting.