Its All In Your Head: Borderline Personality Disorder and the Brain

The field of psychiatry is heating up and neuroscientists are discovering what’s going on in the mind during the fog of mental illness

Brain scans have shown people with BPD have amygdala’s that are noticeably smaller than the general population, and may even have undergone atrophy. The smaller the amygdala, the more overactive it is.

For people with Borderline Personality Disorder, the hippocampus is in a state of continuous hyperarousal. Uncoordinated and dysfunctional, it consistently misinterprets threats, and relays faulty messages back to the amygdala.

The ‘Hypothalamic-pituary adrenal axis’, is primarily responsible for the body’s production of cortisol. Cortisol is a natural chemical released during times of stress. Studies have shown people with BPD have abnormal levels of cortisol in their bloodstream.

People with BPD have prefrontal cortexes which are inactive and inefficient. This is one of the reasons for some of hallmark symptoms of BPD including impulsivity.

It remains to be seen whether structural abnormalities in the borderline brain, are the cause of the condition, or a consequence of trauma. An indelible imprint on our brain of suffering.

The reason for the atrophy of the amygdala and hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex, is because high levels of cortisol have eroded parts of it away.

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