According to estimates, approximately 1.4 percent of the adult population of the United States suffers from some form of borderline personality disorder. That equates to more than 3.6 million people, or nearly the entire population of Los Angeles, California. There are several subtypes of borderline personality disorder, or BPD. Today, we’re going to look at a BPD subtype known as impulsive borderline personality disorder.
What is impulsive borderline personality disorder? What are the common symptoms of this mental health disease? What are some warning signs that loved ones should watch for in people who may suffer from it? How is impulsive borderline personality disorder treated? Our team of Orange County mental health professionals at SoCal Empowered is going to discuss these issues in detail below.
Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder – A Definition
We have discussed this disease by describing the four different types of BPD and digging into specific subtypes of it that include petulant BPD and quiet BPD. To date, the specific condition of impulsive borderline personality disorder is not included in the DSM-5, or the official manual used by psychologists and psychiatrists to reference mental health conditions. However, borderline personality disorder overall is included, and impulsive borderline personality disorder is quite common.
The Cleveland Clinic defines borderline personality disorder in general as “a mental health condition marked by extreme mood fluctuations, instability in interpersonal relationships and impulsivity.” Those who suffer from impulsive borderline personality disorder tend to display certain characteristics that are unique to this challenge. We’ll discuss some of the more common impulsive borderline personality disorder symptoms below.
Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms
In addition to generally suffering from common BPD symptoms, those who are dealing with impulsive borderline personality disorder also tend to experience – as the term itself suggests – bouts with impulsivity. That means that people with impulsive BPD usually gravitate towards that which will provide them with a sense of instant gratification, regardless of the consequences involved for themselves or others. Some of these behaviors may even be dangerous or harmful, and like all BPD sufferers, people with impulsive borderline personality disorder are quick to anger if they face criticism for these impulsive decisions, statements or acts.
There are several common examples of what could be called symptoms of impulsive borderline personality disorder, and some of them include:
- Aggressive behavior
- The need for attention
- Thrill-seeking behaviors, even if extremely dangerous
- A potential for self-harm
- Intense internal self-criticism to the point of suicidal thoughts
- Extreme emotional reactions to otherwise common situations
- A tendency to act in a theatrical or operatic sense in order to obtain attention
- Manipulation of others in relationships
- A lack of stability with regards to sticking with decisions or outcomes
Overall, a person with impulsive borderline personality disorder is very hard to predict, hard to get along with on a regular basis and even sometimes violent. This is a person who seemingly is never wrong, at least outwardly, and who cannot stand to be corrected or criticized for anything. This obviously makes it very difficult for someone with impulsive borderline personality disorder to enjoy stable relationships with family, friends or romantically, although many sufferers are charming enough to win people over initially.
Warning Signs of Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder
There is no hard-and-fast list of symptoms for impulsive borderline personality disorder, which means that every person who suffers from it could ultimately have it for a long period of time before it’s noticed and diagnosed. If you’re wondering whether or not someone in your life suffers from impulsive BPD, you’ll notice that many of its warning signs are similar to its symptoms.
Some common behaviors of those who suffer from impulsive borderline personality disorder include:
- The tendency to engage in binging, whether it involves food, gambling or something else
- Extreme emotional swings, from very high to very low or vice versa
- Spending money impulsively and seemingly without much thought
- An inability to engage with people beyond the most superficial levels
- Becoming bored easily
- Elusiveness with regards to otherwise straightforward questions
Treating Impulsive Borderline Personality Disorder
Given the difficulty in diagnosing impulsive borderline personality disorder, coming up with a treatment protocol can also be a challenge. However, there are ways to help someone suffering from impulsive BPD, and the key is to plot a course that fits best for that individual, as there is no template for this situation.
There is no medication specifically used for impulsive borderline personality disorder, but different medications that treat some of the symptoms of it can be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy. Once again, which medication or medications used will depend on several individual factors and circumstances.
The most common clinical treatment approach for impulsive BPD is what is known as dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT. DBT is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. Most people undergoing DBT will work with therapists on an individual level and sit in on group sessions. In addition, DBT involves between-session contact and an ongoing commitment on the part of the person receiving treatment to regularly self-evaluate his or her overall circumstances and mental state.
The goal of DBT is to teach people strategies to self-regulate their emotions such that they are able to retrain their chains of thought away from impulsive and destructive behaviors. It takes time to accomplish such a goal, but it can be done if the proper techniques and mindsets are in place.
How SoCal Empowered Can Help
If you are concerned that you or someone you love may be suffering from impulsive borderline personality disorder, you do have options for help. Your first step should be to contact our team of Orange County mental health professionals at SoCal Empowered. We will listen to you situation and help you decide how you should proceed.
If that process involves a stay with us, then we will work directly with your insurance company to define your coverage before you make any commitments. That will help you avoid any surprises and allow you to focus on your treatment. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you.