Saturday, July 16, 2011

Additional Comments on Borderline Personality Disorder

This blog post won't be the usual integrated essay that I normally write. It is just a series of comments pertaining to BPD.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD, or "body dysmorphia"; or, as it is called in Norge, dysmorfofobi) is a condition in which the sufferer frequently feels a very painful or disorientating sense of alienation from one's own natural-born physical features. One can look in the mirror and think, "Who is that? This is wrong. This is all wrong." One can even see oneself as ugly, no matter how much others assure one that one is the opposite of ugly.

When 70 patients diagnosed with BPD were surveyed, 54.3 percent of them reported also having Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Gender Identity Confusion
Moreover, this other survey was given to both patients diagnosed with BPD and psychotherapy patients not diagnosed with any personality disorder.

The applicability of various categories of identity confusion to their own lives was rated on a scale of 1-7, 1 meaning hardly applicable.

Gender identity confusion refers to frequent and distressing uncertainty over which gender one wants to be. This does not refer to someone being born one sex and always or even consistently desiring to be the opposite sex. Rather, gender identity confusion refers to persistent indecision on the matter.

When it comes to the prevalence of gender identity confusion, the average of the answers for the BPD patients was 2.42, whereas the average of the answers for the psychotherapy-patients-not​-diagnosed-with-any-person​ality-disorder was 1.66. That means that the prevalence of gender identity confusion is low for both groups. However, note that this suggests that those with BPD are 45 percent likelier to experience gender identity confusion than the general population.

Indecision on Sexual Orientation (Same Survey)
Moreover, the presence of uncertainty about one's own sexual orientation (heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual) is low for both those with BPD and those who do not have it. However, the survey suggests that those with BPD are about 31 percent likelier to have this uncertainty than those without BPD.

YouTube Cartoon About BPD Symptoms
Here is an eccentric cartoon on YouTube that describes some of the symptoms.

Concluding Remarks
Naturally, there is nothing inherently wrong -- in either the psychological or moral sense -- about experiencing uncertainty about one's gender identity or sexual orientation. Nor should one feel ashamed about having body dysmorphia.

To the degree that one is distressed by having any of these conditions, a return to psychiatric care can be very beneficial. It's worth it. :'-)

UPDATE from Wednesday, October 19, 2011: On my Facebook page about BPD, I had a helpful exchange with someone back on March 16, 2011, on the subjects of Borderline Personality Disorder, gender identity confusion, and confusion on sexual orientation. That specific exchange is over here. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that someone confused over gender identity is not necessarily undecided on sexual orientation, and someone undecided on sexual orientation is not necessarily confused about gender identity. Moreover, someone can have BPD and not be confused in either area.