Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month – May 2021

May

In the U.S., Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month is observed in May as declared by the U.S. House of Representatives. It is dedicated to spreading awareness, encouraging people to not hesitate in getting help, and ending the stigma that surrounds borderline personality disorder. For those who are unaware of the condition, borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that is characterized by difficulty managing self-image, moods, and behavior. People with this condition experience intense phases of depression, anxiety, and anger that can last from some hours to days.

History of Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month

Before 1980, borderline personality disorder (BPD) was not officially diagnosable. It was only in that year that it was added into the third edition of “Diagnostic Manual for Mental Disorders.” Its history, however, goes back much further.

The term ‘borderline’ was coined by Adolf Stern, a New York-based psychoanalyst in 1938. He used this word because he believed that the condition lay on the borderline between psychosis and neurosis.

Harvard University psychiatrist George Valliant stated in his article written in 1992 that borderline personality disorder diagnoses often reflected the frustrated responses of the clinicians to their patients with BPD. Barry University Psychiatrist Len Sperry in a 2003 review stated that borderline personality disorder is the most-researched personality disorder. And this is true even to this day.

In May of 2007, the NEABPD (National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder) organized a number of hearings before Congress to enlighten the legislators about BPD. And it was a year later, in April 2008, that the U.S. House of Representatives declared the month of May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month.

As for the disorder itself, BPD’s symptoms include risky behaviors like reckless driving and substance abuse, suicidal tendencies, mood swings, feelings of emptiness, out-of-control anger, continuous efforts to prevent real or imagined abandonment, and stress-based paranoia.

The causes of BPD can be one of three things: genetics (parental), neurobiological changes (functional and structural changes in the brain’s areas that control impulses and emotions), and external factors (history of trauma, like physical- and emotional abuse).

Therapy methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and mentalization-based therapy (MBT) are effective in treating BPD. However, since the roots of the disorder lie in feelings of loneliness and fear of abandonment, family members and friends also play a crucial role.

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month timeline

1967
Defining the Boundaries

Otto Kernberg places ‘borderline personality’ in the middle of psychosis and neurosis, thus defining the boundaries.

1975
The First Published Research

Harvard University psychiatrist and Professor John Gunderson publishes the first research on the diagnosis of BPD.

1993
Effective Treatment

American psychologist and author Marsha Linehan introduces DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) as an effective BPD treatment.

April 1, 2008
Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month

The month of May is declared as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month FAQs

What is the new name for borderline personality disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD).

Are borderlines aware?

People with BPD are aware of their erratic behavior. The root cause of BPD is mainly childhood trauma, like physical, sexual, or mental abuse and other traumatic childhood experiences.

Is BPD a disability?

The Social Security Administration mentions BPD in its disabilities list of mental health disorders.

How to Observe Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month

  1. Celebrate their strengths

    Encourage people with BPD to not hide but come out and talk about what they are going through. Celebrate their strengths to make them feel free.

  2. Encourage people

    Encourage the people in your neighborhood to reach out to those with BPD. Promote their strengths and turn the challenges they face into a language of strength.

  3. Watch movies to find out more

    Many Hollywood movies will help you learn more about BPD such as “Uncut Gems” (2019), “Girl, Interrupted” (1999), “Silver Linings Playbook” (2014), “Welcome to Me” (2014), “Prozac Nation” (2001), and “One Hour Photo” (2002).

5 Facts About Borderline Personality Disorder

  1. 14 million

    Over 14 million Americans suffer from BPD.

  2. High suicide rates

    The rate at which BPD individuals commit suicide is 400 times that of the general population.

  3. Third leading cause of death

    BPD is the third leading cause of death among women aged 15 to 24.

  4. Untreatable disorder

    Due to its nature, BPD is sometimes called “the untreatable disorder.”

  5. More than Schizophrenia

    The number of people with BPD is higher than those with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder combined.

Why Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month Is Significant

  1. It spreads awareness

    Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month is aimed at spreading awareness about BPD and eliminate any stigma or false ideas surrounding it.

  2. It celebrates the strengths of the individuals

    Those who have BPD undergo a lot of stress from the intense feelings of abandonment and loneliness. Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month is here to celebrate their strengths and help them share their feelings with others. This makes them feel supported and loved.

  3. It promotes better health of the mind

    Mental health is a prominent topic in current society. It is important to promote the importance of a healthy mind in being better individuals.

Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2021May 1Saturday
2022May 1Sunday
2023May 1Monday
2024May 1Wednesday
2025May 1Thursday