Symptoms & Diagnosis

Five Areas of Dysregulation in People with BPD

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People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are most often associated with emotion dysregulation. However, according to Marsha Linehan, the founder of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), there are five areas of dysregulation experienced by people with BPD: 

1. Emotion Dysregulation: Emotion dysregulation means not managing your emotions in context. It happens when you must reduce or escape your emotions by not managing them, without regard to consequences. Emotional dysregulation can be rage, anxiety, depression, and not feeling validated.   

2. Interpersonal Dysregulation: Interpersonal dysregulation is indicated by chaotic relationships and fears of abandonment. 

3. Self Dysregulation: Self dysregulation means an unstable sense of self and a sense of emptiness. 

4. Behavioral Dysregulation: Behavioral dysregulation is characterized by self-injury and impulsive behaviors (such as substance abuse and promiscuity). 

5. Cognitive Dysregulation: Cognitive dysregulation is indicated by paranoia and dissociative responses that are made worse by stressful situations.  

Dysregulation in any of these areas occurs when a person with BPD is out of control, not simply upset. Through the skills learned in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, you can learn to better control all of these areas by taking a step back, being more mindful, analyzing what works, and acquiring new behaviors.

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