BPD Myths

People with BPD are currently the most stigmatized in the mental health system. A number of myths contribute to this problem including:

MYTH: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a permanent condition that cannot be treated or improve.

FACT: Research shows that people with BPD can recover with effective treatment. Recent reports state that up to 88% of people with the disorder experience significant improvement over time.

MYTH: People with Borderline Personality Disorder are attention seeking and manipulative.

FACT: The phrases “attention seeking” and “manipulative” imply that conscious and deliberate thought and planning is involved but most BPD behavior is not a deliberate attempt to manipulate people or get attention. It is an attempt to get needs met.

MYTH: People with BPD have a flawed personality.

FACT: BPD is caused by a combination of  environmental and neuro-biological factors, not a personality flaw.

MYTH: The term “Borderline Personality Disorder” is based on up-to-date research reflecting the true nature of the disorder.

FACT: The term “borderline” was developed in the early 1900’s when psychoanalysts realized that BPD did not fit into their oversimplified way of categorizing mental illness – either as neurotic or psychotic. BPD was thought to be on the “borderline”. There is currently a move to have the name changed to something similar to Emotional Processing Disorder or Emotional Regulation Disorder in the next edition of the DSM.


Alexander, L., Chapman & Kim L. (2007). The Borderline Personality Disorder Survival Guide: Everything you need to know about living with BPD, Oakland:,CA:  Newbringer Publications Inc

Currently the following changes are being proposed:

DSM 5 Proposed Revision to Borderline Personality Disorder

You can get in on the debate. What do you think BPD should be called?


  1. It really doesn’t matter what BPD is called – the stigma is based on the beliefs about people with the illness, not the actual illness itself. If it was called emotion regulation disorder – the thoughts about those with the illness would not change, they would still be seen as manipulative, attention-seeking, difficult and combative. The only thing that will reduce stigma – regardless of what the illness is called – is education and truth. I’m proud that I recovered from BPD because of the stigma, no matter what they say about BPD and those who have it – I beat it. I think the first shift needs to be – stop calling people “borderlines” and discourage people from saying “I’m borderline” because it’s an illness, not an identity. You are not borderline – you are fighting borderline and you will recover – that is the truth.

  2. I want BPD to be called Emotional Processing Disorder or Emotional Regulation Disorder, as it makes for more clarity as to what is happening.

    • Yes I agree with “Emotional Processing Disorder”.

  3. I believe some people are misdiagnosed as BPD as they are just sensitive people. I wish there will be proper assessment tools to rule out this condition as some people are overly sensitive without being impulsive or destructive. It should not be called personality disorder for sure as anyone diagnosed with PD is treated as if the condition was their own fault

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