BPD Living With BPD Understanding Stigma When You Have BPD By Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. Learn about our editorial process Updated on December 01, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Akeem Marsh, MD Medically reviewed by Akeem Marsh, MD LinkedIn Twitter Akeem Marsh, MD, is a board-certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to working with medically underserved communities. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Eric Audras / ONOKY / Getty Images A stigma is a preconceived idea or stereotype that causes someone to devalue or think less of the person in question. People tend to distance themselves from individuals in stigmatized groups, to blame individuals in these groups for negative actions and to discriminate against the stigmatized individuals. The Stigma of Mental Illness Unfortunately, stigma is often an issue that those with mental illnesses must deal with, which makes getting effective treatment more difficult. If you have an illness like borderline personality disorder (BPD), that means you have to handle the symptoms of your disease while also dealing with the preconceptions of others. Because of portrayals of mental illness on television and in movies, many people view those with mental disorders to be dangerous, weak-willed, unstable, and unreliable. According to research from World Psychiatry, surveys have shown that because of these depictions of these diseases, people's mindsets have been changed in a negative way. It has caused them to view those with mental illness in three ways: Fear: They believe that mentally ill people are a danger to the people around them and are prone to violent episodes.Irresponsible: People also believe that mentally ill people are self-indulgent and lazy and could get over the disease if they just stopped wallowing. Helpless: Others believe those with mental health issues are childlike and require the same assistance as a toddler, incapable of making their own choices. What's more, many patients with borderline personality often have high levels of self-stigma due to these societal prejudices. The Stigma Associated With Borderline Personality Disorder Of the major mental illnesses, individuals like you with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are perhaps among the most stigmatized. Even among healthcare professionals, BPD is frequently misunderstood. Common stereotypes include that BPD patients are dramatic, manipulative, and attention-seeking. These stereotypes can cause therapists to not take your symptoms or fears seriously, negatively impacting your health. It can also interfere with treatment, causing mental health professionals to emotionally distance themselves from clients or be unwilling to help and therapeutically engage. Stigma surrounding BPD can also lead to misdiagnosis. Those with borderline personality disorder are frequently diagnosed with bipolar disorder or major depressive disorder because of a lack of understanding. Because the treatments for these illnesses are very different, this inaccurate diagnosis can harm your well-being. Because of these issues, it's important to find a doctor or clinician with a strong understanding of borderline personality disorder and the current standards of care. Stigma's Impact on Treatment This stereotype can make it more difficult for those undergoing treatment to find a stable job, secure safe housing and live a normal life. They are always suspected of wrongdoing, carelessness, or anger and so have difficulty building a regular routine. Because of the heavy burden of stigma, many people with psychiatric difficulties attempt to hide their illness, refusing to admit to others or even to themselves that something is wrong. Others will neglect their treatment, skipping therapy sessions and medication so that their condition will not be discovered. This can cause major difficulties and delays in their therapy, causing significant setbacks. Stigma about mental health is very prevalent in society and is a constant struggle; these disorders continue to be perceived in incorrect ways. Some progress has been made to end preconceptions, but more work needs to be done. When pursuing treatment options, it's important to look for a doctor who understands your needs and to build a support network of people that you trust. 5 Keys to Living With Borderline Personality Disorder 5 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Corrigan PW, Watson AC. Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World Psychiatry. 2002;1(1):16–20. Grambal A, Prasko J, Kamaradova D, et al. Self-stigma in borderline personality disorder - cross-sectional comparison with schizophrenia spectrum disorder, major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorders. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016;12:2439-2448. doi:10.2147/NDT.S114671 Sansone RA, Sansone LA. Responses of mental health clinicians to patients with borderline personality disorder. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2013;10(5-6):39–43. Creurer SR. The Professional Stigmatization of Borderline Personality Disorder. Professional Psychology Dissertations. 2015-. 5. NAMI. Why borderline personality disorder is misdiagnosed. Additional Reading Ring D, Lawn S. Stigma perpetuation at the interface of mental health care: a review to compare patient and clinician perspectives of stigma and borderline personality disorder. Journal of Mental Health.:1-21. doi:10.1080/09638237.2019.1581337 Corrigan, P., Watson, A. Understanding the impact of stigma on people with mental illness. World Psychiatry. Feb. 2002. 16-20. By Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD Kristalyn Salters-Pedneault, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and associate professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for BPD Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.