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Is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) a Type of Neurodiversity?

Viewing borderline personality disorder (BPD) as a form of neurodivergence may help you embrace your natural strengths and find new ways to approach your diagnosis.
将边缘性人格障碍 (BPD) 视为神经分歧的一种形式可能会帮助您拥抱自己的自然优势,并找到新的方法来进行诊断。

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The term “neurodivergent” was coined in the 1990sTrusted Source by sociologist Judy Singer. The term helps express that neurodivergent people are simply unique from the “neurotypical” majority, with their own sets of strengths and abilities. In other words, there’s nothing “wrong” with them.
“神经分歧”一词是由社会学家 Judy Singer 在 20 世纪 90 年代创造的。这个术语有助于表达神经分歧者与“神经典型”大多数人相比是独一无二的,拥有自己的优势和能力。换句话说,他们没有什么“问题”。

As an autistic person herself, Singer hoped to change the way people thought about neurodevelopmental conditions like autism.

Over time, the concept of neurodiversity has grown to includeTrusted Source others who may experience the world uniquely due to neurological differences — including those living with certain mental health conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Some have also suggested that borderline personality disorder (BPD) may also fall under the umbrella of neurodiversity. BPD is a mental health condition marked by abrupt shifts in mood, difficulty regulating emotions, dissociation, intense fears of abandonment, or a distorted and changeable sense of self.
一些人还认为边缘性人格障碍(BPD)也可能属于神经多样性的范畴。 BPD 是一种心理健康状况,其特征是情绪突然变化、情绪调节困难、分裂、对被遗弃的强烈恐惧或自我意识扭曲和多变。

Currently, experts don’t formally recognize BPD as a neurodivergent condition, but that could change in the future.
目前,专家们尚未正式承认 BPD 是一种神经分歧性疾病,但这种情况在未来可能会改变。

Research continues to delve into the neurological underpinnings in BPD.
研究仍在继续深入探讨 BPD 的神经学基础。

“BPD is not yet officially classified as a neurodivergent condition, according to published research, but evidence suggests it should be considered a neurodivergent disorder,” says Jeanette Lorandini, a licensed clinical social worker in New York City and director of Suffolk DBT.
“根据已发表的研究,BPD 尚未被正式归类为神经发散性疾病,但有证据表明它应该被视为一种神经发散性疾病,”纽约市持照临床社会工作者兼萨福克 DBT 主任珍妮特·洛兰迪尼 (Jeanette Lorandini) 说。

For instance, one 2022 review explored the high prevalence of overlapping symptoms, such as impulsivity and difficulties with emotions, in BPD and ADHD. ADHD is a recognized neurodivergent condition. Review authors found both conditions involved changes in the same two regions of the brain.
例如,2022 年的一篇评论探讨了 BPD 和 ADHD 中重叠症状的高患病率,例如冲动和情绪困难。 ADHD 是一种公认​​的神经发散性疾病。综述作者发现这两种情况都涉及大脑相同两个区域的变化。

Neurodiversity in BPD may not be limited to neurological function, either. In a 2019 review, experts found that people with BPD may experience changes in brain structure as well as brain function.
BPD 的神经多样性也可能不仅限于神经功能。在 2019 年的一项回顾中,专家发现患有 BPD 的人可能会经历大脑结构和大脑功能的变化。

People with BPD may have underlying neurological differences compared with those who don’t have the condition. These differences could factor into their experiences of intense emotions and difficulty with regulating emotions, Lorandini explains.

Those differences in brain structure and function may also play a part in certain traits and behaviors common with both BPD and recognized neurodivergent conditions.
大脑结构和功能的这些差异也可能在 BPD 和公认的神经分歧病症中常见的某些特征和行为中发挥作用。

Examples include:   示例包括:

Self-stimulation (stimming)

Stimming refers to repetitive, self-soothing actions, such as:

  • tapping your fingertips together
  • pen clicking  笔点击
  • humming or making other sounds
  • rocking 摇摆
  • rubbing a patch of your skin or clothes

While people often associate stimming with autism and other neurodevelopmental diagnoses, anyone can express stimming behaviors.

If you live with BPD and catch yourself performing small repetitive actions when stressed or deep in concentration — such as biting your nails, twirling your hair, or tapping your pencil on the side of your leg — these may serve as your form of self-stimulation.

Stimming isn’t a bad thing. It offers a way to cope with stress or discomfort and can provide sensory relief when you need it most.

All the same, recognizing stimming patterns can help you identify times when you might benefit from other forms of stress relief.

If you catch yourself rocking back and forth in an uncomfortable social setting, for example, you might find it calming to step outside for a few moments.

Sensory overload 感官超载

Many autistic people and people with other neurodivergent conditions experience some level of sensory overload on occasion.

Lorandini says you might also notice a heightened sensitivity to environmental factors, such as sounds

or smells, if you have BPD, and find it difficult to cope with these stimuli.
如果您患有边缘型人格障碍 (BPD),并且发现很难应对这些刺激,那么您​​可能会感到刺激或气味。

Managing sensory overload can feel challenging, especially if you already feel stressed and on edge. But keep in mind that it’s always OK to take some space if the world suddenly feels like too much to handle.

You can use those moments to better understand your sensory threshold, which can make it easier to take a break before you feel overwhelmed in the future.

Systemizing  系统化

Systemizing describes a need to organize the world around you into an analytical or practical system.

Everyday examples of systemizing might include:

  • following a rigid schedule and having a hard time when plans change
  • devoting your time to a few very specific interests
  • needing to keep your belongings in exactly the same place
  • wearing a specific piece of clothing on a certain day of the week

Authors of a 2017 studyTrusted Source considering the overlap between BPD and autism found that people with either condition were more inclined to systemize.
2017 年一项研究的作者考虑了 BPD 和自闭症之间的重叠,发现患有这两种疾病的人都更倾向于系统化。

The researchers noted that systemizing could simply be an aspect of BPD. They also posed the idea that systemizing traits may develop as a way to balance out, or make up for, difficult-to-manage emotions.
研究人员指出,系统化可能只是 BPD 的一个方面。他们还提出了这样的观点:系统化的特征可能会发展为平衡或弥补难以管理的情绪的一种方式。

In short, when you find it difficult to predict or control your mood and emotions, you may find it reassuring to know you have a sense of control over your daily routine and other aspects of your life.

Plus, sticking to a fixed system or schedule may do more than comfort you. It might also work to your advantage at school or your job.

Emotional dysregulation  情绪失调

A number of neurodevelopmental conditions, including autism and ADHD, involve difficulty regulating emotions — a hallmark feature of BPD.

Emotional dysregulation can mean you’re more likely to experience outbursts, impulsivity, and abrupt mood shifts. It can also play a part in self-harm.

When you experience a rush of emotions, though, you can take the opportunity to transform them into personal growth with exercises like journaling and mindfulness.

You can also try opposite action, or practicing behaviors that counter your emotions. For instance, you might take slow breaths and sit still to suggest a calm mindset when you really feel tense and keyed up.

Differences in executive function

Cognitive differences may also be a sign of neurodivergence in BPD, Lorandini says.

For example, many people with BPD also have trouble with working memory and processing speed, which can contribute to difficulty making decisions or regulating behavior, she says.

People process information in different ways, and a little experimentation can help you find the method that works best for you. This might include using notes and other reminders to help you remember things.

You might also retain information more through hands-on learning or watching videos, compared with reading or having someone explain to you.

Just know that thinking outside of the box doesn’t mean there’s anything “wrong” with your brain.

While many experts consider BPD a type of neurodiversity, others remain uncertain.

More research may help uncover how commonly these neurological features appear with BPD and offer more supporting evidence.
更多的研究可能有助于揭示这些神经系统特征在 BPD 中出现的常见程度,并提供更多的支持证据。

Experts have mapped and identified clear neurological differences for neurodevelopmental conditions like ADHD and autism. But they have yet to discover the same for BPD — or come to any conclusionsTrusted Source about whether brain changes cause BPD, or BPD causes changes in the brain.

What’s more, experts knowTrusted Source that factors beyond neurology, including genetics and traumatic life experiences, play a part in the development of BPD.
更重要的是,专家们知道神经病学以外的因素,包括遗传和创伤性生活经历,也在 BPD 的发展中发挥着一定作用。

Approaching BPD as a type of neurodivergence can mark a helpful first step in shifting your perspective — and that of others — when receiving a diagnosis.

There’s a lot of stigma around BPD, and facing negative attitudes from others can sometimes trigger feelings of shame or a fear of judgment — both of which can make it harder to talk about your symptoms or seek support.

Yet viewing BPD through the lens of neurodiversity could help to reframe the public’s perception of people with BPD as well as provide a more compassionate and understanding approach to treatment, Lorandini points out.

There’s no cure for BPD, but support from a mental health professional can make a major difference in your quality of life, relationships, and day-to-day function.

If you have BPD, your therapist may recommend trying dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), a form of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) specifically designed to help people with BPD.
如果您患有 BPD,您的治疗师可能会建议尝试辩证行为疗法 (DBT),这是一种专门为帮助 BPD 患者而设计的认知行为疗法 (CBT)。

DBT focuses on helping you learn to tolerate distress and accept and regulate difficult emotions productively.
DBT 专注于帮助您学会忍受痛苦并有效地接受和调节困难情绪。


Medication can’t treat BPD specifically.
药物不能专门治疗 BPD。

That said, if you experience severe anxiety or depression, your therapist may refer you to a psychiatrist who can prescribe medication to help manage these symptoms.

Check out your options for online therapy and psychiatry services.

BPD tends to involve ongoing challenges related to interpersonal relationships, emotional regulation, and your sense of self.
BPD 往往涉及与人际关系、情绪调节和自我意识相关的持续挑战。

While experts have yet to officially recognize BPD as a neurodivergent condition, a growing body of research suggests it may fit that definition.

Reframing BPD as a form of neurodivergence — along with seeking professional support for any symptoms that affect your daily life and relationships — could be the key to finding new, positive ways to adapt to the condition.

Last medically reviewed on January 14, 2023
最后一次体检日期为 2023 年 1 月 14 日

How we reviewed this article:

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Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version 当前版本

Jan 14, 2023 2023 年 1 月 14 日

Written By 撰写者

Hope Gillette 霍普·吉列

Edited By 编辑者

Crystal Raypole 水晶雷极

Medically Reviewed By 医学审查者

Nicole Washington, DO, MPH

Copy Edited By 复制编辑者

Suan Pineda 苏安·皮内达

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