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What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Oftentimes, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can coexist alongside eating disorders. Those who battle anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder that also experience signs of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) should receive treatment that targets the disorders in conjunction, addressing the delicate circumstances that affect both. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health illness characterized by ongoing instability in mood, emotions, behavior, and perception of self-image. Due to the flighty and impulsive nature of this mental illness, people suffering from borderline personality disorder have difficulty staying in school, maintaining jobs, as well as intrapersonal relationships with those they love. BPD is very frequently comorbid with other disorders including anorexia, bulimia, anxiety, depression, self-harm, and more. The constant instability caused by BPD is very serious, causing constant pain, anger, and confusion in the lives of sufferers. One myth surrounding BPD is that it is a lifelong sentence due to its deeply rooted psychological and clinical nature. This notion is largely false. Although it is the more serious and complex of its cohort mood disorders, BPD is very treatable through advanced therapies and innovative techniques. Research shows that integrative, multi-method treatment approaches are remarkably effective in treating BPD and mitigating overall symptoms. Rosewood Centers provides comprehensive and advanced treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder present alongside eating disorders at our residential treatment centers. Every person living with an eating disorder and BPD has his or her unique story, needs, and goals, which is why Rosewood customizes treatment to best serve each patient in his or her life-changing recovery journey. BPD combined with eating disorders present a multi-faceted mental illness that needs to be tackled from all angles to lead to a successful and full recovery. Rosewood’s treatment approach for eating disorders with BPD aims to target the disorder at its root and heal all aspects of an individual – mind, body, and spirit.

Signs and Symptoms of BPD

There is a lot of confusion around what it looks like to live with BPD. The signs and symptoms are often misinterpreted and misunderstood by others as different mental health illnesses like bipolar disorder, anxiety, depression, or dysthymia. It’s important to understand that BPD affects all aspects of personality at different times. Here are some common signs and symptoms of BPD:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Self-harm behaviors including cutting, burning, or head-banging
  • Inappropriate anger
  • Destructive behavior
  • Intense episodes of panic or anxiety
  • Fear of abandonment, real or imagined
  • Partaking in unhealthy habits (driving recklessly, unsafe sex, binge drinking, spending sprees, etc.)
  • Dangerous substance abuse with alcohol and drugs
  • Unstable self-image
  • Feeling dissociative and out of touch with reality
  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)
  • Depression and dysthymia
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • “All or nothing” mentality
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Feelings of self-hatred
  • Suicidal tendencies
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How it Affects Relationships

BPD causes people to act inappropriately and aggressively towards people whom they love. Later, they will experience extreme regret, guilt, and self-hatred for the way they treated those they deliberately hurt. Another characteristic of people with BPD is black and white thinking or dichotomous thinking. This can affect how individuals with BPD interact in relationships, because they can view loved ones as all good or all bad based on a singular incidence or slight of comment.

How it Affects Daily Responsibilities

It’s difficult for people with BPD to maintain jobs and perform well in school, because of the disorder’s impulsive nature, inability to maintain consistency, and inability to build trust in social and working relationships. BPD will also cause people to be absent several days from school and jobs when the effects of the disorder flare up.


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What Causes BPD?

Though the exact cause of BPD is still unclear, researchers believe it to involve both environmental and psychological factors.


Sometimes BPD can develop due to traumatic childhood experiences including chronic fear and distress, abandonment, neglect, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or losing a parent. It’s difficult to diagnose BPD in children, because their personality is still in the early developmental stages.


There are several studies that suggest that borderline personality disorders are largely inherited. So if someone’s parents have BPD, their children are more at risk to develop it as well. There is some debate over this theory because it’s difficult to know if the child developed symptoms of BPD from genetics, or just adopted BPD behaviors displayed by their parents in the household growing up.

Brain Abnormalities

Although researchers are still untangling the complex ways that BPD affects the brain, certain assumptions are clear. People living with BPD have a high fight-or-flight response than normal and react with more fear and stress than other people. Once the fight-or-flight response is triggered, it takes a stronger hold on the brain and obstructs all rational thinking. Because people with BPD have a different brain composition, it might sound like there is nothing that can be done to treat this serious disorder. The truth is that you can change your brain and train it to develop healthier coping responses that can help you live a more free life unobstructed by BPD roadblocks. With time, dedication, and proper guidance from a professional treatment center, BPD is largely treatable.

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Treating BPD With Eating Disorders

Unfortunately, BPD is often under-diagnosed or misdiagnosed, because the signs and symptoms can overlap with those of other disorders. Symptoms of BPD can be easily confused with other mental health issues such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, and eating disorders, so it is very important to seek diagnosis and treatment from a knowledgeable treatment facility that knows how to recognize BPD when it cooccurs with eating disorders. Rosewood Centers has extensive experience in treating BPD as it coexists with eating disorders. We understand the complexity of BPD and how it relates to eating disorders, mood disorders, and PTSD and trauma. Each patient that walks through the doors of Rosewood has a unique relationship with BPD that has a special story and goals for recovery. We learn each one of our patients’ history, previous obstacles, current physical and mental health, and overall needs. Our BPD treatment is customized to serve each patient on an individual basis. Intake: Rosewood performs a thorough intake evaluation for every new patient. This evaluation is significant and comprehensive and will ultimately determine each patient’s roadmap to full recovery. During the intake, our multidisciplinary team of doctors and psychiatrists will perform a physical examination to make sure the patient is, first and foremost, stable. They will also conduct a questionnaire and interview to determine the presence of any coexisting disorders and understand the patient’s unique personality, goals and needs. The intake assessment will give our doctors enough insight to compose a special treatment plan to confidently set each patient on a journey to success. Level of Care: Because each eating disorder patient with BPD has varying intensities of BPD, Rosewood provides different programs to accommodate everyone. Doctors will recommend one of the following levels of care for each patient:

Individualized Treatment: Each patient at Rosewood will be assigned a team of multidisciplinary professionals including doctors, psychiatrists, specialists and nutritionists. Together, they will address the presence of BDP and create an individualized treatment plan for recovery. BDP with eating disorders is effectively treatable through psychotherapy, meditative initiatives, dialectical therapy, and other holistic and cognitive-behavioral techniques.

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For more information on Borderline Personality Disorder, please call Rosewood Centers at 1 (844) 334-7879. We will be happy to answer any questions and concerns you have about BPD or provide you information on our treatment process, insurance options, and facility amenities.

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