Impulse Control Disorder Answers

How can I change my thought patterns and control my mood swings?

Hi Phoenix22 and thank you for asking me your question about changing your thought patterns and decreasing mood swings. You mentioned that your mood swings have become more frequent and more difficult to moderate after you had your second chid about two years ago. From your description, it sounded that you were not having mood swings from feeling "high" or manic to then shortly afterwards experiencing a swing in your mood to severe depression. I am not trying to diagnose you and without conducting a diagnostic interview in person, would not be able to diagnose you with anything. In any case, my first thought, when reading the title of your question was that you were experiencing Bipolar Disorder. While psychotherapy can be helpful in decreasing severity and frequency of  mood swings in a person with Bipolar Disorder, the most important issue first would be to consult a psychiatrist to figure out which medication combination would work best. After that, therapy could be useful. You mentioned being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. If this diagnosis predates the birth of your second child, then I would want to be certain that the doctor treating you evaluated you for Post-Partum Depression, to ensure the diagnosis is correct and to rethink medication choices.  Your symptoms do sound to be consistent with Borderline Personality Disorder and assuming this is the case, it could be helpful to read about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), particularly exercises that discuss and teach you how thoughts lead to emotions and together, these influence actions and behaviors. In addition, it would be helpful to learn about cognitive distortions which often cause us to believe that situations are much worse than they really are and happen as automatic thoughts. It could be helpful to determine which of the types of cognitive distortions influence your thoughts and emotions the most and from there, you could modify these distortions and automatic thoughts so that your thoughts are not as severely negative and then you would have less negative emotions and thoughts influencing your daily actions and behaviors.  If you were in therapy, I would also introduce Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, (DBT) the only therapy approach to lead to reliable improvements in better mood regulation in individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder.  DBT involves several modules in which a person learns to make decisions and settle disagreements only when you can approach these issues from what is called a "Wise Mind". The wise mind is not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it is calm and able to assess all aspects of a problem and incorporate the information needed to come to an informed decision or resolution. DBT also teaches mindfulness mediation which teaches a person to be present in the here and now and not worrying about things from the past and future. Another of the core modules of DBT teaches the many activities and methods a person can engage in to help them tolerate distress, or deal with pain and other unpleasant variables without resorting to impulsive and destructive actions and behaviors. The final core module teaches Interpersonal Effectiveness. This is exactly as is sounds, how to relate to other people while remaining calm and civil as well as communicating effectively. Some versions of DBT have additional modules that are helpful, however the ones that I have mentioned here will be found in any article or book on Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The information from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can usually be found online with persistent searches. I wish I could come up with a single book on CBT to suggest, however all the ones that I have are written either with a lot of clinical language or written academically and would be like text books and not of help to you. As for DBT, much can be found on the internet, although an even better source would be one of the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy workbooks. There are several available and they have information and lessons that are easy to understand and are printed and bound like spiral notebooks so that you can make copies of the worksheets in the book. The worksheets are helpful because they go over lessons and ask you to think of personal examples and answer questions from the viewpoint of the personal situation that you chose at the beginning of the worksheet. Along with those suggestions, I think it is important for you to see a therapist who is well versed in DBT as soon as you are able. I hope this information gives you a helpful place to start and I wish you the best of luck and a great life, Daniel Boyle Downey, LCSW
Answered on 08/17/2022

Who can I ask for help when I feel like I have borderline personality disorder?

Thank you so much for your question. Coping with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be very challenging. BPD is characterized by the difficulty in being able to regulate one's emotions. Emotions can be felt more intensely for extended periods of time for people who are diagnosed with this condition. These challenges in healthy mood regulation can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, conflict in interpersonal relationships, and intense emotional responses to stressors.  I am going to answer this question from two main perspectives of (1) a person with a confirmed diagnosis from licensed mental health professions and (2) a person without a confirmed diagnosis. I would also encourage you to contact your benefits provider to find out what kind of behavioral health care coverage you have because oftentimes if you have assistance for medical coverage, the benefits plan will account for mental health as well.  (1) If you have already received a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) from a licensed professional, the next step would be to try to get engaged with treatment services. Psychotherapy has been proven to be very effective in the treatment of BPD as it addresses the emotional dysregulation associated with the disorder. You can check to see if there are any providers that your insurance may cover that offer Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and/or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). -DBT focuses on teaching coping skills to help fight destructive urges, regulate emotions, improve relationships, and practicing mindfulness. -CBT focuses on helping to reduce negative thinking and the behaviors associated with BPD by learning effective coping strategies. Sometimes medication-assisted treatment can be effective with the combination of psychotherapy which usually requires a prescriber. Some things you can do on your own include: -Connecting with others through support groups (in-person or online) -Taking care of your physical health (eating balanced meals, getting adequate rest, stress-relieving activities like meditation or yoga) -Avoid the use of mood-altering substances like alcohol and drugs as it can exacerbate symptoms of BPD   (2) The first thing a person would benefit from doing if they suspect they have BPD is to get assessed by a licensed mental health professional, preferably one who specializes in personality disorders. It is important to not self-diagnose because these professionals are trained to look for symptomatology and potential causes of these conditions. A licensed professional with be able to help a person navigate the mouse appropriate level of care.   For more free resources please check out these sites below:
Answered on 10/09/2021