Co-Morbid Conditions

People who are living with borderline personality disorder often experience additional conditions, whcih are commonly referred to as  ‘co-morbid’ conditions. These may include common mental conditions such as depression, anxiety or phobias, as well as less prevalent conditions such as trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder). Reprinted with permission from the NHS mental health website, here are some brief guides to some mental health conditions you may have.

Agoraphobia is categorised by an intense fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong. Although commonly mistaken as a fear of open spaces, agrophobia is actually more complex.

Anger – it is common to experience anger occasionally, it is a natural emotion that everyone encounters at some stage. However if anger starts to affect your daily life, it might be necessary to seek additional support.

Anorexia nervosa is both an eating disorder and a serious mental health condition. People who have anorexia try to keep their weight as low as possible by not eating enough food or exercising too much, or both. This hamrful behaviour can lead to severe illness.

Antisocial personality disorder – Personality disorders are mental health conditions that affect how someone thinks, perceives, feels or relates to others. Among these disorders, antisocial personality disorder is a particularly challenging type of personality disorder characterised by impulsive, irresponsible and often criminal behaviour.

Binge eating disorder involves regularly eating a substantial amount of food over a short period of time until you’re uncomfortably full. Binges are often planned in advance, usually done alone, and may include specific binge foods.

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that affects an individual’s emotional state, which can swing between two contrasting extrememes. It used to be known as manic depression.

Body dysmorphic disorder or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others.

Bulimia is classified as both an eating disorder and mental health condition. Individuals with bulimia experience episodes of consuming large quantities of food within a brief period of time, known as binge eating. Subsequently, they engage in behaviors such as self-induced vomiting, the use of laxatives, excessive exercise, or a combination of these methods, in an attempt to prevent weight gain.

Claustrophobia is an intense phobia characterised by the fear of enclosed spaces. Individuals will actively avoid confined areas like elevators, tunnels, small rooms, etc. However, this avoidance behavior can inadvertently strengthen the fear itself. The intensity of claustrophobia varies among individuals, with some experiencing mild anxiety when in a confined space, while others endure severe anxiety or even panic attacks.

Clinical depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or down. Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you’re clinically depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

Dissociative disorders are a range of conditions that can cause physical and psychological problems. Some dissociative disorders are very shortlived, perhaps following a traumatic life event, and resolve on their own over a matter of weeks or months. Others can last much longer.

General anxiety disorder – anxiety is a sensation of discomfort, encompassing apprehension or dread, which can range from mild to intense. It is a common experience for everyone at certain stages in life. For instance, one may experience worry and unease when facing an examination, undergoing a medical examination, or attending a job interview. In such situations, feeling anxious is considered a natural response. However, certain individuals struggle to manage their concerns effectively. Their anxiety persists and frequently interferes with their everyday activities.

Health anxiety (sometimes called hypochondria) is when you spend so much time worrying you’re ill, or about getting ill, that it starts to take over your life.

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common mental health condition where a person has obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviours. OCD can affect men, women and children. Some people start having symptoms early, often around puberty, but it usually starts during early adulthood.

Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder where you regularly have sudden attacks of panic or fear. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety and panic at certain times. It’s a natural response to stressful or dangerous situations. But someone with panic disorder has feelings of anxiety, stress and panic regularly and at any time, often for no apparent reason.

Postnatal depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after having a baby. It’s a common problem, affecting more than 1 in every 10 women within a year of giving birth. It can also affect fathers and partners.

Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental health illness that can affect someone soon after having a baby. It affects around 1 in 500 mothers after giving birth. Many people who have given birth will experience mild mood changes after having a baby, known as the “baby blues”. This is normal and usually only lasts for a few days. But postpartum psychosis is very different from the “baby blues”. It’s a serious mental illness and should be treated as a medical emergency. It’s sometimes called puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder caused by very stressful, frightening or distressing events. Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Someone with PTSD often relives the traumatic event through nightmares and flashbacks, and may experience feelings of isolation, irritability and guilt.

Psychosis is when people lose some contact with reality. This might involve seeing or hearing things that other people cannot see or hear (hallucinations) and believing things that are not actually true (delusions).

Psychotic depression Some people who have severe clinical depression will also experience hallucinations and delusional thinking, the symptoms of psychosis. Depression with psychosis is known as psychotic depression.

Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health condition. It causes a range of different psychological symptoms. Doctors often describe schizophrenia as a type of psychosis. This means the person may not always be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern. SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are usually more apparent and more severe during the winter. A few people with SAD may have symptoms during the summer and feel better during the winter.

Skin picking disorder, also called dermatillomania or excoriation disorder, skin picking disorder is where you cannot stop picking at your skin. There are things you can try to help yourself, but some people may need professional treatment.

Social anxiety (social phobia) is a long-term and overwhelming fear of social situations. It’s a common problem that usually starts during the teenage years. It can be very distressing and have a big impact on your life. For some people it gets better as they get older. But for many people it does not go away on its own without treatment.

Stress – most people feel stressed sometimes and some people find stress helpful or even motivating. But if stress is affecting your life, there are things you can try that may help. Stress can cause many different symptoms. It might affect how you feel physically, mentally and also how you behave.

Trichotillomania (hair pulling disorder), also known as trich, is when someone cannot resist the urge to pull out their hair.
They may pull out the hair on their head or in other places, such as their eyebrows or eyelashes. Trich is more common in teenagers and young adults.