In a previous BPD Awareness Month post (BPD Awareness Month- Day 6: A Brief History of Borderline Personality Disorder) I mentioned that BPD, as we know it, was not an illness until 1980. Psychology textbooks and past DSM’s still listed disorders that helped create the current BPD diagnosis.
I have an Abnormal Psychology textbook from 1972 which included two disorders that I felt possibly played a role on creating BPD: Cyclothymic Personality and Emotionally Unstable Personality (under DSM I).
I also found another personality, in the same 1972 psychology book, under Recent Classification of Personality Disorders (under DSM II): Explosive Personality (Epileptoid Personality Disorder).
Explosive personality is characterized by gross outbursts of rage, including both verbal and physical aggressiveness. These outbursts are strikingly different from the individual’s usual behaviour, and he often regrets them after they are over. These individuals are generally excitable, aggressive, and overresponsive to environmental pressures. The intensity of the outbursts and the individual’s inability to control them distinguish this group. Cases diagnosed as “aggressive personality” are classified in this grouping. If the patient is amnesic (loss of memory) for the outbursts, diagnoses such as hysterical neurosis, nonpsychotic organic brain syndrome with epilepsy, or psychosis with epilepsy should be considered.
Jaen Wirefly, today, posted about another possible new BPD name: Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.
I like the mystery behind Borderline. It keeps me safe and allows me to explain in my own words what I feel I’m all about. This is something many other disorders do not have.
(Abnormal Psychology: Changing Conception by Melvin Zax and Emory L. Cowen)
BPD symptoms have been seen individuals since the ancient Greeks and as time has passed we’ve developed a language for it.
- folie maniaco-mélancolique, Théophile Bonet in 1684
- borderline insanity, C. Hughes in 1884 and J.C. Rosse in 1890
- excitable personality, Emil Kraepelin in 1921
Those are just some examples of the earlier language used to describe was is now Borderline Personality Disorder.
BPD was first thought to be on the “borderline” (1938) between neurosis and psychosis. In the 60′s and 70′s thinking went from associating the behaviour as a borderline schizophrenia and instead thought of it as a borderline affective disorder, or mood disorder. This is how it was described in the DSM II.
Finally standardized criteria was developed and BPD became what it is today (until the DSM V) in 1980 when the DSM III was published.
I have a an abnormal psychology textbook from 1972 and this is what it has to say about early BPD:
The cyclothymic personality was described as an ordinarily outgoing person who conveys the impression of being friendly, warm, and pleasant. These individuals are subject, however, to mood fluctuations in which cheerfulness is often replaced by sadness brought on by internal factors rather than external events. Individuals typified by persistence without alteration of a heightened mood state such as euphoria or depression were also regarded as cyclothymic personalities.
I also think that this personality type could come into play.
The emotionally unstable personality is an individual who becomes over-emotional and ineffective when confronted by a minor stress. His relationships with people are quite changeable, shifting as various strong, and poorly controlled, feelings such as anger, guilt or anxiety dominate.
Abnormal Psychology: Changing Conceptions by Melvin Zax and Emory L. Cowen, 1972