This article was originally published on Psychreg.
The term “borderline personality disorder” (BPD) is interesting in psych nomenclature. Usually, psychosocial illnesses are named after their most prominent symptoms. For example, bipolar disorder (formerly, manic depression) refers to the “two poles” of mania and depression.
Many medical conditions have carried different labels throughout history; even now, official diagnoses change every so often. But sometimes these designations have incorrectly described illnesses and contributed to misinformation. This is unfortunately still the case with schizophrenia (with “schizo” meaning “split” and “phrenia” referring to “mind”). And just as there have been efforts to change the name of schizophrenia, the same is true of BPD.
But why exactly was it called borderline personality disorder in the first place? In this article, I’ll briefly cover the conceptual history of BPD, including its name and classification. I’ll also touch on why many people would prefer to call the BPD construct by a different name – or to reclassify it altogether.
Originally, I was only going to discuss the “borderline” aspect, however, there’s also the quite popular view that BPD should not be deemed a “personality disorder” at all. So, I’ll explore both parts of the diagnosis.
At the end of the day, it’s essential for us to remember the power held by words. We should be mindful that words can be used to discriminate and disempower, especially if we are writers and editors.
If you’re a reader of BPD Beautiful, you most probably either have borderline personality disorder (BPD) or know somebody close to you who has it. Or perhaps you’re just interested in the topic of personality disorders and want to know more. BPD is one of the best-known of these conditions. Much research in the personality disorder field has focused on it. On the other hand, avoidant personality disorder (AvPD) is a lesser-known and studied disorder. However, it frequently co-exists with BPD. Due to this common co-occurrence, it’s great to learn about this related condition.
In this article, I provide an overview of avoidant personality disorder. I also describe how BPD can present when it co-occurs with AvPD (including a look at the “discouraged borderline” and “quiet borderline” concepts). In addition, I share thoughts on the differences between AvPD and social anxiety disorder. And finally, I share other thoughts on personality disorders, discussing how they’re diagnosed and the stigma surrounding them.
If you believe you have BPD, AvPD, or both disorders, please don’t lose hope! There are so many sources of support, insight, and comfort out there. Many people have recovered from BPD and AvPD and have gone on to lead fulfilling and peaceful lives. (Bear in mind that there are lots of acronyms in this article! Hopefully, you’re okay with that.)