Source Credit: Mental Health Grace Alliance
The Good News about Borderline Personality Disorder
Date: 06 Feb 2012
Amanda Smith, Founder of Hope For BPD
After being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2004, she started her path of recovery. As she oversees the programs of Hope for BPD, she has also served as Executive Director of a NAMI affiliate in Florida and currently serves on a local NAMI board of directors in Texas.
Harvard-based researcher Mary Zanarini, PhD has called borderline personality disorder (BPD) the “good prognosis diagnosis” and there are many reasons to be hopeful about the long-term outlook.
Borderline personality disorder—most frequently characterized by rapidly-changing mood swings, unstable relationships, identity disturbance, and chronic feelings of emptiness—is a mental illness with a lifetime prevalence rate of almost 6% among the general population.
Time and again, research has shown that individuals who have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder can feel better about themselves and their world, are able to work towards academic and vocational goals, sustain healthy relationships, and experience a sense of purpose or meaning in their lives. We also know more now about the neuroplasticity of the brain and understand that our brains continue to change and adapt so that we can learn new behaviors and process information in healthier ways.
But there are many things that increase the likelihood of recovery. These include:
• taking part in an evidence-based treatment that was created specifically to treat BPD such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and mentalization-based treatment (MBT)
• reading books and articles that actively promote recovery
• getting steady support and encouragement from family, friends, church leaders, and other people who have been diagnosed with BPD
• making a commitment to self-care that includes getting enough sleep, eating balanced meals, exercising, and treating physical illnesses
• being brave and asking for help before things become a crisis or an emergency
Family members who are in need of education and support can connect with organizations such as NEA-BPD and take part in their free Family Connections classes or NAMI’s Family-to-Family program.
Remember, the vast majority of people with BPD get better and go on to create lives worth living. If you’re someone who has been diagnosed with the disorder, that means you!
For more information about BPD, please visit Hope for BPD.
Amanda L. Smith
Treatment Consultation for Borderline Personality Disorder and Self-Injury
February 11, 2012 Posted by peterhbrown | Cognition, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Identity, Personality Disorder, research, Resilience, Spirituality | borderline personality disorder, bpd, dbt, personality, Personality Disorder, treatment | 6 Comments
Could your personality kill you—or might it make you live longer? Could it give you heart disease, or protect you from illness? Could it push you toward or away from doctor appointments?
Credit: Angela Haupt , health.usnews.com
Personality traits play a distinct role in determining how healthy we are, psychologists say. “Everything is related to everything else. How stressed or angry you are, and how you interact with the world, is contingent in large part on your personality style,” says Michael Miller, editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter. “And that is going to have an enormous impact on your health.”
Here’s a look at common personality types and traits and how each can help or hurt your health (sometimes both):
One of the aspects of the impatient, hard-charging Type A personality that is known to increase heart disease risk is hostility. Hostile people eat and smoke more and exercise less than other personality types, says Redford Williams, head of behavioral medicine at Duke University Medical Center and author of Anger Kills. They’re likelier to be overweight in middle age and have higher cholesterol and blood pressure. Williams’s past research suggests hostile people are also more likely to develop irregular heart rhythms, and to die before reaching their s. Most of these problems can be traced back to elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as increased inflammation in the walls of the coronary arteries, which leads to a greater risk of heart attack.
No personality is set in stone, however, and Type A’s can be taught how to take the edge off their hostility. Hostile heart patients who attend workshops that teach coping skills, for instance, have a lower incidence of depression and healthier blood pressure than Type A’s who don’t go. The key, Williams says, is learning how to communicate more clearly and how to control anger and other negative emotions. He suggests asking yourself four questions when you get angry: Is this issue truly important? Is what I’m feeling appropriate to the facts? Can I modify the situation in a positive way? Is taking such action worth it? Meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can damp hostility with a layer of calm.
Because Type A personalities are defined by competitiveness, a drive to succeed, and a sense of urgency, they are prone to take risks and act without thinking, neither of which is likely to improve health. Non-Type A’s can be impulsive, too. Such people are often not as well-grounded as others, says Robin Belamaric, a clinical psychologist in Bethesda, Md.: “They’ll look at an opportunity that comes along and say, ‘Hmm, that sounds like fun,’ whereas another, more thoughtful person, will say, ‘I’m going to pass, because I’m not sure it’s the best idea.’ ”
If you’re a Type B, you roll with the punches. You’re relaxed, take life a day a time, and handle stress without cracking. That translates to a higher quality of life and lower likelihood of heart disease—less anxiety strengthens the immune system. The more we chill, the better off we are, says Miller: “You don’t want to get locked into a stressful, tense state of mind.” Over the long term, he adds, relaxing and managing stress effectively will lengthen your life, help your heart and gastrointestinal system, and just make you feel better overall.
People who are outgoing, involved in their communities, and have strong social connections reap health benefits. An analysis of studies published in the online journal PLoS medicine in July found that on average, adults enrolled in a study with many close friendships were percent likelier to survive until their study ended than were those with few friendships. And a 2009 study published in Perspectives in Psychological Science suggests that social support leads to improved coping skills, healthy behavior, and adherence to medical regimens. Bonding with others also reduces stress and improves the immune system—so making friends and getting involved becomes, in effect, a well-being tonic.
What drives at least some of the health benefits goes beyond biology, Miller says. “It may have to do with the fact that when you’re around people, you think, ‘Oh, Martha has gone for her mammogram—that reminds me, I should, too.’ ”
Eager to please
People-pleasers—Type C’s—are conforming, passive, and want to accommodate. That can be a good thing when it comes to patient compliance: They’re more likely to take the right medicines in the right doses at the right times, for instance—once they see a doctor, that is. Making and following through on appointments can be challenging for Type C’s, who tend to accept their fate as inevitable and fall readily into hopelessness and helplessness. That means others must push them to take care of themselves. “They may be less likely to maintain their health on their own,” Belamaric says. “If they develop a problem, they may just complain about it, hoping somebody says, ‘I have a good doctor, I’ll make you an appointment.’ ”
Some Type C’s may be so mired that they don’t seek medical attention—even when it’s clearly necessary—and slough off preventive behaviors, like watching what they eat. “If they get a serious diagnosis, they may be passive, throw their hands up, and say, ‘Well, there’s nothing I can do about it, anyway. If it’s my time, it’s my time,’ ” Belamaric says.
Stressed and distressed
Type D’s—D is for distressed—dwell on negative emotions and are afraid to express themselves in social situations. Compared to more optimistic sorts, a Type D may face three times the risk for future heart problems, according to a recent study in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Type D’s also face a higher likelihood of compulsive overeating and substance abuse. “If you’re a person who is prone to depression or anxiety, or if you’re overly self-critical, there’s more of a chance of turning to gratifying behavior to feel better,” Miller says.
Optimistic versus pessimistic
Optimism “heavily influences physical and mental health,” concluded a study published in May in the journal Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health after researchers followed more than males for years. The rate of heart-related deaths was percent lower among optimists than among pessimists. “Optimists have a higher quality of life, and they may be more resilient in the way they deal with stress,” Miller says. “So if a problem comes along, they’re able to handle it better, and they become less symptomatic.” Glass-half-empty types harbor little hope for the future and tend more toward depression and anxiety disorders.
But there’s a catch for those at the extreme end of the optimism spectrum: They think of themselves as impervious to risks. Extreme optimists who smoke are the best examples. They believe they won’t develop lung cancer. Why give up smoking to prevent a nonexistent risk?
The “self-healing personality”
That is the name Howard Friedman, a professor of psychology at the University of California-Riverside, attaches to people who are curious, secure, constructive, responsive, and conscientious. These traits translate to enthusiasm for life, emotional balance, and strong social relationships. “Positive emotions buffer hormonal responses to stress,” says Friedman, who studies the relationship between personality and longevity. Self-healers, he says, “have healthier behavior patterns: more physical activity, a better diet, and less smoking and substance abuse.”
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September 24, 2010 Posted by peterhbrown | Acceptance and Commitment Thaerapy, brain, Cognition, Health Psychology, Identity, Personality Disorder, stress | Conditions and Diseases, facebook, Health, Heart disease, Mental health, personality, psychology, research, Social Sciences | 3 Comments
It’s a hot-buzz topic that covers everything from improving workplace performance and successfully climbing the corporate ladder to building the happiest of marriages to ending school bullying. But what exactly is Emotional Intelligence (EI)? If we lack it, can we learn it? And how do we know if our EI is high or low? Is it only high if we’re really, really nice?
Three scholarly researchers – including University of Cincinnati Psychology Professor Gerry Matthews – delved into the science of EI and published “What We Know About Emotional Intelligence: How it Affects Learning, Work, Relationships, and Our Mental Health.”
Published by MIT Press (2009), the book was recently awarded the American Publishers Award for Professional and Scholarly Excellence – the PROSE Awards – in the biological and life sciences category of biomedicine and neuroscience. The book, co-authored by Matthews, Moshe Zeidner (University of Haifa) and Richard D. Roberts (Center for New Constructs, Educational Testing Service, Princeton, N.J.), was also on display at the UC Libraries’ Authors, Editors and Composers Reception and Program from 3:30-5 p.m., Thursday, April 22, in the Russell C. Myers Alumni Center.
MIT Press promotions describe EI as the “ability to perceive, regulate and communicate emotions – to understand emotions in ourselves and others.” Workplaces want to test for it to find the most EI-talented employees, and consultants are touting training and EI tests to improve productivity. “In the popular writings, EI tends to be defined very broadly and one can’t proceed with scientific research with such a vague and broad definition,” Matthews says.
Matthews’ research interests have explored how stress, mood and coping ability can affect performance on tests, in the workplace and on the highway. He adds that amid the grim economy, even the people who have jobs are feeling high levels of stress in the workplace and are feeling more challenged by workplace demands and concerns about job security. In general terms, those who can roll with the punches – with a shrug and a smile – may have higher Emotional Intelligence.
Then again, “The intimate association of personality and emotion sets a trap for researchers interested in Emotional Intelligence,” writes Matthews. “It might seem that happy, calm states of mind should be seen as the person imbued with high Emotional Intelligence. However, such emotional tendencies may be no more than a consequence of biases in brain functioning or information-processing routines operating without insight or ‘intelligence.’ Some individuals – in part because of their DNA – are simply fortunate in being prone to pleasant moods, so it follows that emotional states do not alone provide an index of Emotional Intelligence,” Matthews states in the book.
In fact, Matthews says he’s skeptical that people who are better at managing stress hold higher Emotional Intelligence, but as the researchers found as they tried to narrow down the science of Emotional Intelligence, more research is needed. For instance, is someone with higher EI in the workplace more productive, or are they just better at self-promotion and forming positive relationships with co-workers? Matthews says he believes EI appears to be very modestly related to workplace performance, and could turn out to be nothing more than a business fad.
He adds the researchers are also skeptical about all of those EI tests, particularly those self-assessments. After all, people could be rating themselves the way they see themselves or the way they would like to be seen, and not like they actually are.
Currently, authors Matthews and Roberts are researching the testing of EI through video scenarios. The situation judgment test involves watching the videos unfold a challenging situation, and then the video comes to a stop and offers different options for resolving the problem. Matthews is building on his earlier research which explored whether negative moods affected good decision making abilities. “Through the video project, the idea is to see if emotionally intelligent people are better able to make rational decisions under stress,” he says.
The researchers are also examining the link between EI and school social and emotional learning programs.
University of Cincinnati
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May 2, 2010 Posted by peterhbrown | anxiety, Books, Cognition, Health Psychology, Identity, Positive Psychology, research, Resilience | Cognition, Educational Testing Service, EI, Emotional Intelligence, intelligence, Mental health, personality, psychology, research, Resilience, Social Sciences, University of Haifa | 4 Comments
Men Are From Earth, Women are from Earth: Do Studies Show That Gender Has Little Or No Bearing on Personality, Cognition and Leadership?From American Psychogical Association http://www.apa.org
The Truth about Gender “Differences”
Mars-Venus sex differences appear to be as mythical as the Man in the Moon. A 2005 analysis of 46 meta-analyses that were conducted during the last two decades of the 20th century underscores that men and women are basically alike in terms of personality, cognitive ability and leadership. Psychologist Janet Shibley Hyde, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, discovered that males and females from childhood to adulthood are more alike than different on most psychological variables, resulting in what she calls a gender similarities hypothesis. Using meta-analytical techniques that revolutionized the study of gender differences starting in the 1980s, she analyzed how prior research assessed the impact of gender on many psychological traits and abilities, including cognitive abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, aggression, leadership, self-esteem, moral reasoning and motor behaviors.
Hyde observed that across the dozens of studies, consistent with the gender similarities hypothesis, gender differences had either no or a very small effect on most of the psychological variables examined. Only a few main differences appeared: Compared with women, men could throw farther, were more physically aggressive, masturbated more, and held more positive attitudes about sex in uncommitted relationships.
Furthermore, Hyde found that gender differences seem to depend on the context in which they were measured. In studies designed to eliminate gender norms, researchers demonstrated that gender roles and social context strongly determined a person’s actions. For example, after participants in one experiment were told that they would not be identified as male or female, nor did they wear any identification, none conformed to stereotypes about their sex when given the chance to be aggressive. In fact, they did the opposite of what would be expected – women were more aggressive and men were more passive.
Finally, Hyde’s 2005 report looked into the developmental course of possible gender differences – how any apparent gap may open or close over time. The analysis presented evidence that gender differences fluctuate with age, growing smaller or larger at different times in the life span. This fluctuation indicates again that any differences are not stable.
Media depictions of men and women as fundamentally “different” appear to perpetuate misconceptions – despite the lack of evidence. The resulting “urban legends” of gender difference can affect men and women at work and at home, as parents and as partners. As an example, workplace studies show that women who go against the caring, nurturing feminine stereotype may pay dearly for it when being hired or evaluated. And when it comes to personal relationships, best-selling books and popular magazines often claim that women and men don’t get along because they communicate too differently. Hyde suggests instead that men and women stop talking prematurely because they have been led to believe that they can’t change supposedly “innate” sex-based traits.
Hyde has observed that children also suffer the consequences of exaggerated claims of gender difference — for example, the widespread belief that boys are better than girls in math. However, according to her meta-analysis, boys and girls perform equally well in math until high school, at which point boys do gain a small advantage. That may not reflect biology as much as social expectations, many psychologists believe. For example, the original Teen Talk Barbie ™, before she was pulled from the market after consumer protest, said, “Math class is tough.”
As a result of stereotyped thinking, mathematically talented elementary-school girls may be overlooked by parents who have lower expectations for a daughter’s success in math. Hyde cites prior research showing that parents’ expectations of their children’s success in math relate strongly to the children’s self-confidence and performance.
Moving Past Myth
Hyde and her colleagues hope that people use the consistent evidence that males and females are basically alike to alleviate misunderstanding and correct unequal treatment. Hyde is far from alone in her observation that the clear misrepresentation of sex differences, given the lack of evidence, harms men and women of all ages. In a September 2005 press release on her research issued by the American Psychological Association (APA), she said, “The claims [of gender difference] can hurt women’s opportunities in the workplace, dissuade couples from trying to resolve conflict and communication problems and cause unnecessary obstacles that hurt children and adolescents’ self-esteem.”
Psychologist Diane Halpern, PhD, a professor at Claremont College and past-president (2005) of the American Psychological Association, points out that even where there are patterns of cognitive differences between males and females, “differences are not deficiencies.” She continues, “Even when differences are found, we cannot conclude that they are immutable because the continuous interplay of biological and environmental influences can change the size and direction of the effects some time in the future.”
The differences that are supported by the evidence cause concern, she believes, because they are sometimes used to support prejudicial beliefs and discriminatory actions against girls and women. She suggests that anyone reading about gender differences consider whether the size of the differences are large enough to be meaningful, recognize that biological and environmental variables interact and influence one other, and remember that the conclusions that we accept today could change in the future.
Archer, J. (2004). Sex differences in aggression in real-world settings: A meta-analytic review. Review of General Psychology, 8, 291-322.
Barnett, R. & Rivers, C. (2004). Same difference: How gender myths are hurting our relationships, our children, and our jobs. New York: Basic Books.
Eaton, W. O., & Enns, L. R. (1986). Sex differences in human motor activity level. Psychological Bulletin, 100, 19-28.
Feingold, A. (1994). Gender differences in personality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 429-456.
Halpern, D. F. (2000). Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities (3rd Edition). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, Associates, Inc. Publishers.
Halpern, D. F. (2004). A cognitive-process taxonomy for sex differences in cognitive abilities. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 13 (4), 135-139.
Hyde, J. S., Fennema, E., & Lamon, S. (1990). Gender differences in mathematics performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 107, 139-155.
Hyde, J. S. (2005). The Gender Similarities Hypothesis. American Psychologist, Vol. 60, No. 6.
Leaper, C. & Smith, T. E. (2004). A meta-analytic review of gender variations in children’s language use: Talkativeness, affiliative speech, and assertive speech. Developmental Psychology, 40, 993-1027.
Oliver, M. B. & Hyde, J. S. (1993). Gender differences in sexuality: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 114, 29-51.
Spencer, S. J., Steele, C. M. & Quinn, D. M. (1999). Stereotype threat and women’s math performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 35, 4-28.
Voyer, D., Voyer, S., & Bryden, M. P., (1995). Magnitude of sex differences in spatial abilities: A meta-analysis and consideration of critical variables. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 250-270.
March 14, 2010 Posted by peterhbrown | Cognition, Education, General, Identity, Social Psychology | adult, children, Cognition, gender differences, mars and venus, Parenting/Children, personality, research, Resources | 1 Comment
In everyday life asking others for help can be embarrassing, perhaps even a painful experience. Requesting help potentially shows our own weakness and also opens us up to rejection. It’s a relief when people say yes.
In a series of studies Francis Flynn and Vanessa Lake of Columbia University tested people’s estimation of how likely others were to help them out. They got people to ask others to fill in questionnaires, to borrow cell phones and to escort them to the gym.
Across these studies they found that people underestimated how likely others were to help them by as much as 100%.
This is such a high figure that it demands an explanation – what’s going on here?
Part of the answer is our egocentric bias – we find it difficult to understand what others are thinking and feeling because we are stuck inside our own heads.
But it’s more than just that, argue Flynn and Lake, it’s also the fact that we underestimate just how much social pressure there is on other people to say yes. In effect, when you ask someone to help you, it’s much more awkward and embarrassing for them to say ‘no’ than you might think.
In two further studies Flynn and Lake supported this intuition by asking participants to put themselves in either the role of someone asking for help, or someone being asked for help.
They found that when people were help-seekers they reliably played down the social costs of saying no. But when they were the potential helper they realised how difficult it was to say no.
There’s two very practical messages coming out of this research:
- If you want help, just ask. People are much more likely to help than you think, especially if the request is relatively small. Most people take pleasure in helping others out from time-to-time.
- Make it easy for others to say no. The other side of the coin is that most of us don’t realise just how hard it is to say no to a request for help. Other people feel much more pressure to say yes to our requests than we realise. If the help you need is likely to be burdensome then think about ways of making it easier to say no.
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July 28, 2009 Posted by peterhbrown | Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Cognition, Health Psychology, Positive Psychology, research, Resilience, Social Psychology | Add new tag, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Pat Flynn, People, personality, psychology, research, Social, Social Sciences | Leave a comment
Peter Brown BHMS (Hons) MPsychClin MAPS
I’m a Clinical Psychologist and have a private practice and consultancy in Brisbane Australia. I have 24 years experience in child, adult and family clinical psychology. I have a wonderful wife and three kids.
I am co-founder of Christian Wholeness Counselling Services.
I like researching issues of the brain & mind, reading and seeking out new books and resources for myself and my clients. I thought that others might be interested in some of what I have found also, hence this blog…
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