Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified | Book Review

Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified by Robert O. Friedel, MD.



This book, BPD Demystified by Robert O. Friedel is a decade old account of sufferers with borderline disorder, treatment options (medications and modalities), hope, research, what the symptoms are and the biological basis/risk factors are, as well as including two personal anecdotal accounts of people living with the disorder.

I would recommend this book to anyone suffering from this condition–from family members or friends who know someone dealing with borderline disorder–as well as anyone in the general public or mental health realm (i.e. studying psychology) who is open to learning more about the conditions’ basics  and what people who live with it may commonly go through.

Since this book is from 2004 I’m very curious and interested to spend some of my next free time looking and reading up on any new research studies about the condition. This book is out of date in regards to the DSM but if you use it as a guide and not a permanent rule book, you can gather a lot out of this reading.


5/5 DBT’s


  1. “People who suffer from medical disorders benefit greatly from the information that is available to them. This knowledge helps them see that they have a well-defined illness and that others share their condition. It also enables them to understand the nature and cause of their illness and to realize that doctors have well researched and effective treatments for their illness” – p. XIII

From this, we can gather how effective and helpful it is to have a community of understanding and compassion when it comes to mental health disorders.

2. “(Insert BPD misconception here) To a significant degree, BPD is the result of disturbances in brain pathways that regulate emotion and impulse control” – p. XIV

So any of you dip shits out there: stop being a dip shit. (I’m mainly talking about those people who think mental health issues don’t “exist” somehow. :roll:)

3. “Because of the chronic, recurrent and episodic nature of their symptoms, and the additional problems they experience, they, their families, and their friends lose hope” – p. XV

😦 Wait for it, though!

4. “If you have BPD, please do not lose hope. Be persistent in your efforts. Participate actively in the development of your treatment program and then stick to it” – p. XVII

5. “It takes great courage to struggle on with the symptoms of BPD, but do so with the knowledge that others have persevered and have been rewarded by gaining much more control over their lives than they ever believed possible. You can, too” – p/ XVII

6. “[author will use the term borderline disorder] because I’ve had many patients tell me that the term borderline disorder is less offensive to them and helps them to accept the fact that they have this medical disorder” – p. XVIII

I’d randomly like to say in this moment that this post will be LONG and has taken a long time to get out, sadly D:

7. “The emotions of people with BD are often very unstable and undergo rapid changes that they have difficulty controlling, referred to as emotional lability
– p. 3

8. “You may find that you become very upset when something bad happens to someone else. You may even feel that it is almost happening to you” – p. 3

I think the second part of that, beyond BD, can be experienced by other people too. So it may be the case that sometimes more of us without BD can relate to those with BD that deal with this truth as well. In which case, HUGS FOR EVERYONE (unless you don’t like hugs).

9. “Emotions do not return to their normal level as quickly as they do in people without BD” – p. 4

10. “She added that, when severe, this feeling was so emotionally painful that she would do almost anything to relieve it, even cut or burn herself, although the emotional pain always returned shortly thereafter” – p/ 6

It may be the case where I don’t add too much in between quotes in this review, as there are legitimately 42 quotes I’ve written out for this piece. Like I said, it’s a LONG post. I’m hoping it WILL come out this Tuesday though.

11. “If you receive proper help you will not reach this level of desperation (drug abuse) either. You have a much better opportunity to receive effective treatment for your disorder than has ever been available before” – p. 43

A truth which can also be a possibility for others suffering from all sorts of conditions as greater expansions and treatments are revealed each day of the future with science and medicine. 🙂 YAY!

12. “I deeply believe that the effort you devote to learning as much as you can about BD ultimately will be well rewarded by your gaining a great deal more control over your life than you have experienced in the past. Knowledge is the edge that gives you an advantage in life” 0 p. 46

13. “The consistency of the symptoms of BD over a 65 year period of careful observation and research is a major indication that this diagnosis has validity and integrity” 0 p. 49 (AKA, don’t be a dip shit)

14. “This meant the issues of excessive dependency, clinging behaviors, unrealistic expectations and overly negative reactions had to be dealt with consistently and in a nonjudgmental manner” p – 50

15. “Projection is the unconscious psychological attempt to deal with anxiety by attributing one’s own unacceptable attributes to the outside world” – p. 52

Ohhhh, me and projection! We just go WAY BACK! XD

16. “The symptoms of BD have been recognized since the time of Hippocrates” – p. 60

17. “What is inherited are genetic mutations that impair the normal functions of those neural systems that control the core behavioral dimensions of BD: regulation of emotion, impulse control, and perception and reasoning” – p. 66

18. “Considering the enormous number of neural pathways and connections in the brain, it is not surprising that some of these pathways and connections do not always develop correctly. The greater the number of incorrect neural communications in the brain, the greater the likelihood is that a developmental disorder will occur” – p. 67

19. “Society rarely provides children at risk of BD with values that they can emulate and that would help stabilize their precarious view of life. In such an unstable environment, they are unable to feel secure about their fate and what the future holds for them” – p. 70

20. “This doesn’t meant that they no longer have any symptoms, but that the symptoms are significantly reduced in severity, and that they cause less disruption in the patients’ and their family’s lives” – p. 81 (about RECOVERY)

It’s important to remind ourselves of what recovery IS and what it is NOT. And it’s most certainly not a measure of the LACK of existence of a mental illness, but that that mental illness is no longer in the majority of control over your life. I.e. that your symptoms are less severe and you can still manage to LIVE WITH the disorder.

*Gwah, one other post out of the way*

21. “One of the main factors that determines the rate and degree of your improvement is your remaining in treatment as long as necessary” – p. 85

22. “It’s important to understand that the severity of BD is not the same for everyone who has it. Some people have very mild forms of BD and respond extremely well to treatment. Others have more severe forms of the disorder where the treatment plan is more complex” – p. 85-86

This applies to other mental health/physical conditions as well. I know it may be obvious, but I know I tend to forget this at times. Remember to gauge the person you’re addressing and how their experience is affecting them, rather than what that situation is itself. (i.e. it’s not how ‘bad’ the situation is but how badly it’s affecting someone).

23. “If you or a loved one suffers from severe BD, the situation is not hopeless. It does mean that you’ll have to expend more effort and patience to get better” – p. 86

True for many other conditions at well. It’s not that you can’t do it, it’s that you may not have the tools available to you at this moment to get better effectively and in a positive manner. ❤ ❤ ❤ Keep working at it though!!!

24. “Many people with BD have difficulty effectively controlling their impulses and behaving in a reasonable and rational manner, especially when they are in a highly emotional state. At such times, you may find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to calm yourself down and to reassure yourself. Because of this, you don’t have time to think through the situation you’re in carefully in order to make a well-balanced decision on how to handle it” – p. 89

25. “Low to moderate levels of stress and emotional response appear to increase memory while high levels interfere with memory formation and recall. This close relationship may explain why some people with BD have episodes of long lapses of memory when under high stress” . – p. 98

26. “BD is the result of disturbances in specific neural pathways in the brain and is not a result of intentional or willful behavior” – p. 104

27. “The use of alcohol and street drugs leads to a dramatic worsening of BD symptoms and also decreases the effectiveness of medications and therapy” – p. 113

This tends to occur with other mental health issues as well, of which I’m quite wary of ever drinking now in the future. ^^’

28. “Medications can help lessen the severity of symptoms and can also set the stage for the best possible results from the work of therapy” – p. 130

Again, another notion that can be applicable to other mental health conditions. Using medication is less of a sign of weakness or a crutch and more of something to just help take the edge off the worst of the worst symptoms and aid one in recovery by allowing the person ability to move through the behavioral aspects safely.

29. “In order to be effective all forms of therapy require changes in old behavioral habits that do not work well. Habits are difficult to break, especially when they need to be replaced by new behaviors that are at first a little strange and frightening” – p. 130


Pro tip in this spot: If you are working on changing some old negative coping strategy behaviors, practice the positive coping strategies when you are feeling WELL. That way when you feel bad, you’ll more likely recall and act on a positive coping strategy that you’ve built up a good relationship with and then use it when you’re down and TADA maybe it helps and you get some free time to just enjoy yourself from whatever hellhole you were in before.

30. “The successful journey to a more stable, happy and satisfying life for people living with BD depends on a number of factors, but it’s essential that you understand clearly and believe deeply that you , more than anyone or anything else, have the ability and responsibility for gaining control over your own life” 0 p. 131

31. “You have to take responsibility for building the foundation for your own recovery. Patience and persistence are crucial to your success. You must learn to exert the self-discipline required to do what needs to be done. These can be developed, especially with the proper help, and as you achieve small and large successes, failures become less common” 0 p. 131

32. “It’s critical that you have a safe, supportive and effective relationship with a person who is able to help you learn about your illness, how it affects you, and how to make those changes that will enable you to gain the best possible control over your emotions, impulsive behaviors, thought patterns and relationships” – (forgot page number whoops)

33. “In DBT you are usually discouraged from using the hospital as a means of controlling your emotional tensions, since the goal of treatment is to learn to manage the current emotional crisis in more effective ways” – p. 156

34. “It’s particularly reassuring to attempt to help one another deal more effectively with these problems by discussing new strategies that have been attempted and their results” (On groups) p – 156-157

35. “They viewed their bedrooms or apartments as safe havens, except when they felt depressed or desperate. At these times, some realized that it was dangerous to be alone because of the great impulse to hurt themselves” – p. 185

36. “It’s clear that it’s very helpful to stay involved with your family member with the disorder. Understanding their perspective is an important early step in the process” – p. 186

37. “But if you think about it, there’s no reason to assume that a complex organ like the brain is less susceptible to diseases that affect behavior than are other bodily organs that result in physical symptoms” – p. 191

38. “Realize that people with BD didn’t acquire their problem through any actions of their own nor do they enjoy having the disorder” – p. 191

39. “Accept that you cannot get someone into treatment. Timing is important as to when someone might be ‘open’ to hearing the idea” – p. 192

40. “Remain positive and optimistic about the ultimate result of treatment especially when your loved one has had a setback” 0 p. (I forgot)

41. “I can assure you that to try your best given the information you have, is all you can do” – p. 196

42. “I believe in the sentiment that extra ordinary achievements are accomplished by ordinary people with an extraordinary passion” – p. 208





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