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What causes Borderline Personality Disorder

Both social and genetic factors play a role in the development of Borderline Personality Disorder. Using hi-tech imaging devices provides researchers with an intimate look inside the brain. Studies suggest that about 60% of the risk for developing BPD is due to physical abnormalities in the structure of the brain. These abnormalities affect the proper functioning of brain circuits that control emotional processing, impulse control and cognitive abilities like perception and reasoning.

This can result in a person that is more hypersensitive, over-reactive and impulsive than others. The person with BPD may develop a very rigid way of thinking that lacks nuance and empathy for the feelings of other people – the so-called ‘splitting’ or black or white response of all bad or all good, with no in between. This puts a great strain on any close relationship, and over time can become a trigger for the extreme behaviors that are typical of people who have BPD.

In addition to the role of genetics, negative social interactions like exposure to a turbulent environment at home, work, or among peers increase the risk for the development of the BPD. The intertwining of biological and social factors is referred to as the Biosocial Model. Of all the social factors influencing the development of borderline personality disorder, extreme family difficulties are the most common.

In addition to the role of genetics, negative social interactions like exposure to a turbulent environment at home, work, or among peers increase the risk for the development of the BPD. The intertwining of biological and social factors is referred to as the Biosocial Model. Of all the social factors influencing the development of borderline personality disorder, extreme family difficulties are the most common. It is important to understand that people who have not been exposed to a negative social environment may still be at risk for developing borderline personality disorder. This suggests that genetics do have a significant role in some individuals and may fuel the development of BPD even in the absence of family and other social stressors.   SYMPTOMS→