Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a complex condition often misunderstood by those outside the clinical community. Living with BPD can make life difficult for both the individual as well as their family, friends, colleagues and more.
Uncontrollable emotional states are a key indicator of borderline personality disorder, which creates some confusion and leaves people wondering, “Is emotional dysregulation the same as BPD?” Diving deeper into borderline personality disorder and emotional dysregulation will help make a clearer distinction.
What is Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that causes severe disruption to a person’s emotional regulation skills.1 This typically results in dangerous impulsive behaviors, negative self-image, harmful self-talk, and damage to relationships with others.
People with borderline personality disorder tend to experience sudden and severe mood swings. Often they struggle to feel certain about how they view themselves. Their feelings for others can shift quickly from extreme closeness to intense dislike. These erratic moods and feelings lead to unpredictable behavior and instability in relationships.
Viewing things in extremes is another common sign of BPD. For example, individuals see people, places, and things as “all good” or “all bad.” Their hobbies, activities, and interests tend to change quickly, and they often act recklessly or impulsively.
What is Emotional Dysregulation?
Emotional dysregulation refers to the inability to adapt to and manage emotional states. It seems straightforward but can be complex in the context of mental health disorders.2 Emotional dysregulation can look like inappropriate emotional responses to seemingly minor inconveniences. It can also involve drastic reactions to interpersonal disagreements, difficulties with a lack of vulnerability, or troubles setting emotional boundaries and oversharing.
Are Emotional Dysregulation and BPD the Same?
Emotional dysregulation and borderline personality disorder are often confused with each other. In reality, emotional dysregulation is a component of borderline personality disorder. Every person with BPD experiences emotional dysregulation, but not everyone who experiences emotional dysregulation has BPD.
Emotional dysregulation symptoms of BPD are often grouped into four categories:
- Emotional sensitivity
- Increased negative reactivity
- Limited appropriate coping skills
- Excess of harmful, impulsive, or dangerous responses
Individuals with borderline personality disorder each experience a range of symptoms that fall within these four categories. Their struggles with emotional dysregulation make it incredibly difficult to respond to situations without reacting. They also tend to establish and perpetuate a troubling pattern of poor emotional regulation skills.3
Finding Treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder
While no treatment cures borderline personality disorder, therapy and medication can help relieve symptoms. Specific forms of therapy, such as dialectical behavior therapy, were developed to work with individuals who have BPD. A dedicated and intentional approach to treatment can equip an individual with the emotional regulation skills and coping tools needed to face life successfully and build fulfilling relationships.
Treatment facilities like Clearview Treatment Programs are dedicated to helping individuals living with conditions like borderline personality disorder. We offer informed and comprehensive approaches to treatment specifically developed to provide individuals with the things they need to create and live an enjoyable life.
To learn more about the programs available at Clearview, please give us a call at 866-339-3544. You can speak with one of our knowledgeable admissions counselors, who will explain your options and help you determine which path is best for you or your loved one. We look forward to speaking with you soon!
- National Institute of Mental Health. (2022). Borderline Personality Disorder.
- Development and Psychopathology. (2019). Borderline personality disorder and emotion dysregulation.
- Current Psychiatry Reports. (2013). Components of Emotion Dysregulation in Borderline Personality Disorder: A Review.