DBT Helps Those with Borderline Personality Disorder Restore Harmony in Their Lives
Borderline personality disorder creates a world of intense emotions with no middle ground. Without proper guidance and coping mechanisms, interpersonal relationships can crumble and individuals can be left with a pervasive feeling of emptiness. Using Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), you can learn to understand and control the constant flux of emotions that invades your everyday experiences and restore balance and stability to your life.
Experiencing the world with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be a hellish journey. Communicating and dealing with people that you care about brings on waves of intense emotion that turn every relationship you have into a rollercoaster ride. Unstable relationships and a constant struggle to pinpoint who you are and why you are feeling the way that you do becomes commonplace. The most difficult part of this experience lies in the fact that most individuals suffering from BPD don’t know how to cope with these emotions and lack the necessary support groups to offer the understanding to help them learn.
“BPD behaviors are nothing but inefficient ways to escape the pain,” a woman with BPD explains. “It is a vicious circle because these behaviors bring even more pain. Our perception of reality is so distorted by intense affect we do not think straight. Only after recovery do we realize how we were wrong and how our perceptions were distorted by the illness.”
Understanding that you are experiencing a distorted reality and knowing that there are ways to remove the veil of extreme emotions that blankets your world is the first step toward taking control of the way that you feel. With the help of Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT), you can gain an awareness of the numerous emotions that you experience and their connection to the relationships around you, ultimately helping you turn the impact that they have on your life from negative to positive.
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Using Dialectic Behavioral Therapy to Reconcile Your Emotions
DBT is a form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that was developed specifically to help those suffering from suicidal ideation and self-harm, before it became recognized for its benefits in the treatment of BPD. Through the emphasis of the connection between social relationships and the psychology of clients suffering from this illness, DBT hinges on the idea that some people experience intensified arousal in certain emotional situations, especially within close relationships such as those between family members or loved ones.
DBT theory suggests that individuals with BPD experience increased levels of emotional arousal during their interactions with those they are close to. Coming to terms with these reactions is one of the most difficult parts about living with BPD. The feeling of not knowing why you are experiencing such sudden, intense feelings, compounded by the fact that family members and loved ones also don’t understand, often causes personal strain and turns the world into one of black and white emotions.
Whether you realize it or not, BPD can cause you to detach yourself from your experiences in an attempt to deal with your overwhelming reality. However, learning to live in the moment and reconcile your opposing emotions is a key process in taking charge of them, and in turn yourself. DBT places emphasis on mindfulness—the practice of increasing your awareness of the present moment—in order to accept the yin and yang emotions of BPD and ultimately reconcile them.
Current research shows that hyperactivity of the amygdala, a region of the brain that plays a role in the processing of emotions, is observed in those with BPD. Data shows that DBT can curb this hyperactivity, with studies revealing that 12 months of treatment can decrease the reactivity of the amygdala. These same participants showed improvements on the Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS), suggesting an increase in their ability to regulate their emotions. All of this data supports the notion that DBT can affect the brain at a biological level and cause changes that help individuals suffering from BPD control their emotions in a more effective manner.
Restoring Your Life’s Balance
Through DBT, you will come to learn that you are not at fault for the turmoil that you experience in the relationships with those around you, while at the same time realizing that you do have the power to change the way that you react to your emotions, and improve your relationships. With the aid of other holistic therapies such as meditation, which is believed to help improve emotional stability, you can begin to see the numerous possibilities for change that lie in front of you.
Living in a world where all of your emotions and personal relationships are in a constant state of instability can make it extremely difficult to develop an accurate perception of both yourself and those around you. Understand that what you are feeling can be dealt with in a positive, healthy manner, and grant yourself the control and stability that you need to maintain and enjoy the relationships in your life.
Bridges to Recovery integrates DBT into our unique treatment program for individuals suffering at the hands of borderline personality disorder, as well as other co-occurring mental health disorders, substance abuse, or process addictions. Contact us to learn how you or your loved one can benefit from our program and reconcile the emotional turmoil that can so easily send life spiraling out of control.
Lead Image Source: Unsplash user Arkady Lifshits