In response to Ryan’s post about Brandon Marshall and BPD, midwestmatt posted a great, in-depth response. He gets into detail with the symptoms of BPD, the problems those with BPD face, and the statistics of those suffering from the disorder in the U.S. Here it is:
I have a close loved one facing a likely diagnosis of BPD or BPD tendencies and I can assure you that those that suffer from it are not simply jerks, assholes or psychos. Their brain cannot process emotions like a “normal” person can and it shows up on FMRI scans as a misfiring in the anterior insula. In other words, these people are not faking it, their brain is not allowing them to react in socially acceptable ways and their ability to interact with others is seriously impaired.
BPD can be addressed via dialectic behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) but it is best addressed with therapy and medication to help slow the anger response down. People with BPD are quick to anger and very slow to come down after triggered.
It is the anger response that is the most destructive thing that happens to a person with BPD as the anger is almost always directed at those they know well and love. They drive people away even though they desperately need them and their support. The book “I Hate You, Please Don’t Leave Me” describes this paradox very well as sufferers are sometime ruthless to those they love while silently calling out for help to them.
For now, insurers will not cover any BPD treatment as it is an Axis 2 disorder and considered beyond help. In fact, if you get a diagnosis of BPD, you will likely never get mental health coverage again because of the ignorance of the health insurers. Despite the fact that sufferers show brain function abnormalities, health insurers are resolute in not helping those with BPD and some people end up on Social Security Disability because they cannot afford the tremendous cost of treatment and cannot hold a job due to the effects of BPD. Ironically, the cost to provide treatment is not that different than 1-3 years of weekly speech therapy for sufferers of depression.
The McLean Study of Adult Development showed, over a 12 year research span, that those diagnosed with BPD can, and do, get better. As many as 88% of them are symptom free 12 years later. They can function in society and maintain healthy relationships with those they love but therapy and meds play a large role in getting better and the decision to get better begins with the sufferer. Without that choice, the sufferer will likely face a doubled chance of suicide, ruined careers and relationships and a lifetime of chaotic experiences that leave them alone and unable to function within society.
Until recently, BPD was considered a disorder of women but new research indicates that the diagnosis is more evenly split as men were often diagnosed with anti-social personality disorder of conduct personality disorder and BPD was overlooked.
With Mr. Marshall’s diagnosis, he has the rare opportunity to help all those suffering from and those suffering in the shadow of a BPD and his decision to bring it into the light is a giant leap forward for sufferers. The undertaking he has begun will make a 104 yard return for a touchdown seem like a walk in the park as too many in America see mental health issues as little more than weak minded people or someone looking to get something for nothing. Only in America do we ignore the plight of as many as 18 million Americans suffering from this disorder (the latest estimate puts the number as high as 6% of all people suffering from some degree of BPD, up from 2-4%) who are literally crying out for help.
Mr. Marhsall, please use your situation for good. So many need your leadership.
I am among them.
We really appreciate the comment, both in its length and earnestness. We wish the best for midwestmatt’s loved one, Brandon Marshall, and everyone else suffering from BPD.
—Photo via CanIDoIt.org