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Borderline Personality Disorder: A Literature Review

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This paper provides a critical review of the existing literature and research on borderline personality disorder. First, there will be an introduction about Diagnostic Statistical Manual 4th Edition criteria and characteristics. Furthermore, risk factors, etiology and theories about borderline personality disorder (BPD) will be presented and discussed, and in the final part, will be introduced the various treatments and intervention plans proposed and applied for BPD, as well as treatment effectiveness and practice. The BPD diagnosis To begin with, the initial definition of BPD was quite vague and unclear, as borderline was lying somewhere between neurosis and psychosis, as it was described by the psychoanalyst Adolf Stern (Stern, 1938).…show more content…
While the validity of BPD is now generally accepted, the etiology of the disorder is still in process of being uncovered and better defined (Zanarini & Frankenburg, 1997). The first attempt belongs to three psychodynamic theories as for instance Kernberg (1975) suggested that excessively early aggression of the child has contributed to split his/her positive and negative images, which was caused by real frustrations. These made the pre-borderline child unable to understand and merge the positive/negative images to reach a more realistic and balanced view of him/her and others. Also, according to Adler and Buie (1979), the failure in early mothering has led the child to a failure in developing stable object constancy, as a result of mother’s inconsistency or insensitivity and non-empathy, which led them to develop an unstable view of them and the world, using stress as a coping mechanism. The last theory of the psychodynamic field (Mahler, 1972), refers to fear of abandonment as the central factor in borderline psychopathology. In this case, the mother seems to get overly-involved in child’s natural autonomous attempts to discover the world by withdrawing emotionally when the child acts in an independent manner (phase of separation-individuation), which causes dysphoria and abandonment panic when later the adult faces a seemingly unsolvable
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