Not Just A Matter of Taste: The Effects of Borderline Personality Disorder on Perception

Was the dress black and blue or white and gold? The recent controversy about a mysterious dress threw the internet into a frenzy and served as a prime example of how people can perceive even seemingly simple information in drastically different ways. While dress colors are inconsequential, some differences in perception are more markedly profound, and can result in deep emotional and functional upheaval. Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder marked by serious perceptional shifts and disordered reactions to those perceptions. In order to appreciate the impact of the disorder, you must understand the ways in which it distorts the way in which people see the world.

Origins and Effects

Borderline personality disorder is one of most popularly misunderstood and misdiagnosed mental health disorders in existence. Most experts agree that complex biological and environmental factors contribute to the development of the illness, but there are common experiential themes that frequently occur amongst people with borderline personality disorder. Of particular importance are early childhood experiences, especially in the relationships patients have with their caretakers, most commonly their mothers. When the child-parent relationship is characterized by turmoil, unpredictability, invalidation, constant criticism, and punishment for expressing emotions, normal development is disrupted and you can begin to present the symptoms of maladaptive personality formation. The lack of supportive, healthy bonding leaves you with high levels of neuroticism, fear of abandonment, propensity for explosive anger, and the inability to regulate your emotions. It also colors the way you interpret information; you may magnify emotional slights, see neutral statements as highly critical, view minor roadblocks as catastrophic, suffer from distorted, negative self-image, and assume that others view you in the same light. Your ability to perceive situations in a normal way is fractured and, as a result, your emotional toolbox is missing vital components for relating to yourself and the world around you in a stable and realistic way.

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Sensory Distortion in Borderline Personality Disorder

The all-encompassing nature of borderline personality disorder affects more than emotional and social functioning. A new study suggests that the perceptive distortions of BPD extend to physical senses, even to your sense of taste. Research subjects were asked to evaluate the taste of three different liquids. People with borderline personality disorder were significantly more likely to describe the liquids as unpleasant or disgusting, reflecting the patients’ sense of self-disgust. The study is a significant reminder of the scope of the disorder: it colors your entire perception of the world. Your interactions with others, your sense of self, and your very body are affected by your borderline personality disorder. While social and emotional functioning are the primary focus of treatment programs, successful treatment can lead to unexpected changes; it can literally change the way the world looks, feels, smells, and tastes.

Towards Healing

Treatment for borderline personality disorder has historically been elusive, not least due to the stigma attached to the disorder. Many people have found it difficult to connect with clinicians who have both the expertise to successfully treat the illness and the empathy and understanding to truly support you. The emotional volatility, high suicide risk, and difficulty complying with treatment that so many people with the disorder experience can create biases amongst some clinicians and hamper their ability and willingness to work with you. However, finding effective treatment is vital to end your suffering and lead a healthy, productive life.

At Bridges to Recovery, we offer specialized treatment for borderline personality disorder that combines extensive clinical experience with truly compassionate, respectful care. We conduct an extensive psychological assessment for clear, precise diagnosis, ensuring that you know exactly what is causing your distress and giving you a personalized treatment plan designed to address your needs in the most relevant, meaningful way possible. Our program draws on the most innovative, evidence-based treatment modalities proven to produce positive outcomes for people living with borderline personality disorder. Through an intensive combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and creative and holistic therapies, we provide comprehensive treatment that helps you recover emotionally, physically, and spiritually. By exploring your formative experiences, you can begin to heal from the damaging relationships that contribute to your psychological distress, and gain the ability to more accurately perceive yourself and the world around you through a healthy and realistic lens. Through CBT and DBT, you build the skills to more positively react to stressors and enhance your emotional regulation. Throughout treatment, you are instilled with a newfound sense of self-awareness, insight, self-acceptance, and relief from inner turmoil. We show you that recovery is possible and guide you towards the stable, fulfilling life you want.

For more information about treatment options at Bridges to Recovery, please contact us at any time.