Each of us is unique and irreplaceable. Each of us has our own way of seeing the world, of thinking, of relating to others, of living, of acting. Each of us has our own personality, acquired throughout life through accumulated learning of our experiences (although there is a certain genetic component that predisposes us to be certain). None of them is better or worse than the others.
However, sometimes the personality develops in such a way that it generates characteristics that cause us in our relationship with ourselves or with the world to experience deep suffering or to cause it to others, or we cannot adapt to it.
We are talking about personality disorders, one of the most serious and painful of which is borderline personality disorder or BPD. Although he usually tends to be more confusing with bipolar disorder, the truth is that often some aspects of his symptoms are similar to those of major depression and it is not uncommon for them to appear co-morbid.
This sometimes causes confusion or incorrect separation between depression and TLP, although they are different issues. In order to help distinguish, throughout this article we will highlight some of the the main differences between major depression and borderline personality disorder, Explained in an easy to understand manner.
Borderline personality disorder: basic definition
By borderline or borderline personality disorder (BPD) we mean this type of personality that is characterized by the existence of a very high level of instability at the emotional level, With extreme experience and great difficulty in recognizing and managing emotions, and this usually runs with the existence of deep feelings of emptiness and strong impulsiveness.
There is usually a very low level of self-esteem, With a marked perception of uselessness and lack of value as well as a perception of the other which can oscillate between veneration and contempt. It is common for there to be a great fear of abandonment and desperate behaviors to adopt not to be, as well as frequent conflicts and fights in their social relationships. There are difficulties especially in anger management, and it is not uncommon for there to be dissociative symptoms and identity integration.
Self-injurious behaviors are also common, as are recurring thoughts of death and even suicide attempts. We are talking about a personality disorderSince, although this pattern of behavior, perception and thought has been established throughout life, it is deeply unsuitable for those who suffer to limit the subject’s functioning, or generate a high level of discomfort and psychological suffering.
As for major depression, it is one of the most common psychological disorders or alterations in the world. The presence of depression involves the onset, for most of the day, almost every day for at least two weeks, of a sad mood and severe difficulty in perceiving the pleasure or satisfaction in carrying out generally appetizing activities for the person.
It is also common to have high passivity, clinophilia or a tendency to lie down in bed, feelings of guilt, problems sleeping and hunger, and even thoughts of death and suicide.
Usually, those who suffer from depression come to have an acquired perception of helplessness, in which there is desperation as to whether the situation in which they are living can improve. Cognitive biases appear in the relationship to oneself, to the environment and to the future. They also tend to manifest attention problems, tendency to abstraction and rumination, and progressive isolation and confinement. Depression is a deep suffering for those who suffer from it, in addition to causing great impairment and limitation of functionality in everyday life.
Main differences between major depression and borderline disorder
Major depression and the borderline or borderline personality have a lot in common: in both cases, there are feelings of sadness and hopelessness, emotional instability, a tendency to cry, and a tendency to exhibit aversive cognitive biases.
too much these are disorders in which self-harming thoughts and behaviors may appear, And in which a certain feeling of emptiness generally exists to a greater or lesser degree. In fact, it is very common for people with borderline personality disorder to develop depression, one of the disorders with which they have the greatest co-morbidity.
However, these are different constructions, which have distinctive characteristics that allow us to separate the two concepts. Some of the most marked differences are as follows.
1. Relationship with the psychic structure of the subject
One of the main differences between depression and borderline personality disorder has to do with the level of connection the alteration has to the subject’s usual way of functioning. A depression can be more or less long and affect more or less the way of being of the patient as long as it lasts, but in general it implies the existence of a difference compared to the usual way of functioning, of thinking or to feel the ‘matter.
In the case of borderline personality disorder, we are faced with an alteration of the personality, that is, the pattern of thought, perception and action of the person who has acquired throughout his life . like that, the characteristics of a person with this disorder are much more integrated into their usual way of doing things, Being in fact part of his personality.
This does not mean that he cannot change (in the end the personality can change), but it implies a generally more complex therapeutic process which requires an effort of change on the part of the subject, gradually restructuring his way of doing it. to be and see the world.
2. Focus of discomfort
In depression and borderline personality disorder, it is common to experience sadness, anxiety, and pain. However, while as a general rule in depression, pain and sadness arise from thoughts of loss and guiltIn the case of the borderline personality, it is usually linked to conflicts concerning one’s own identity or the presence of dependency / independence relationships towards others.
3. Perception of one’s own identity
Related to the above, another difference between the two alterations is related to the existence of alterations in the perception and the assumption of one’s own identity. While in depression the person may come to doubt or criticize their vital position and who they are, they usually have an underestimated sense of themselves but consistent with their identity.
In the case of BPD, it is more common for the same person to have serious difficulties accepting themselves. and much of their discomfort stems from identity issues, in which large inconsistencies are observed and which usually include feeling empty and / or not being a person.
Interpersonal relationships are also a differentiating aspect between the two entities. It is possible that in depression a certain dependence on another person appears or that the termination of a relationship in a dependent person could cause depression, however the type of social relationships that are established is not a fundamental part of the process. trouble.
however, in the case of BPD, finding and maintaining relationships and fear or panic of being abandoned are widely prevalent.Thus, the widespread tendency is to maintain relationships of dependence on loved ones.
5. Interpretation of neutral stimuli
It is common for depression and borderline personalities have negative cognitive biases, focusing more on aversive information and generally having negative beliefs about themselves, the world around them and the future.
However, it has been observed that in the case of people with borderline personality, there is not only a prioritization of negative information, but also the aversive interpretation of most information ambiguous or neutral.
6. Difficulties dealing with anger
Another noticeable difference between BPD and major depression is that, as a general rule, people with BPD tend to have great difficulty dealing with anger, with strong and even explosive reactions to anger, frustration and anger. While in some cases depression, hostility and anger also occur, this is usually a one-time download than a general difficulty in managing it.
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- Turner, RM (1996). The dramatic / impulsive group of DSM-IV: borderline, narcissistic and histrionic personality disorders. In: VE Cavall, G. Buela and JA Carrobles (eds), Handbook of Psychopathology and Psychiatric Disorders (pp. 63-84). Madrid: 21st century.