Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mental Illness and Addictions


When one hears about these one tends to picture derelict street people, one doesn’t picture well-to-do “pillars” of a community.

When the pundits talk about living with these they usually talk about patients, and about recovery and treatment.

I live with both of these, but there is no end in sight as neither is being treated.

If you Google Borderline Personality Disorder - you’ll meet my mother-in-law.
Diagnosis:
A person with a borderline personality disorder often experiences a repetitive pattern of disorganization and instability in self-image, mood, behavior and close personal relationships. This can cause significant distress or impairment in friendships and work. A person with this disorder can often be bright and intelligent, and appear warm, friendly and competent. They sometimes can maintain this appearance for a number of years until their defense structure crumbles, usually around a stressful situation.
Symptoms
Relationships with others are intense but stormy and unstable with marked shifts of feelings and difficulties in maintaining intimate, close connections. The person may manipulate others and often has difficulty with trusting others. There is also emotional instability with marked and frequent shifts to an empty lonely depression or to irritability and anxiety. There may be unpredictable and impulsive behavior which might include excessive spending, promiscuity, gambling, drug or alcohol abuse, shoplifting, overeating or physically self-damaging actions such as suicide gestures. The person may show inappropriate and intense anger or rage with temper tantrums, constant brooding and resentment, feelings of deprivation, and a loss of control or fear of loss of control over angry feelings. There are also identity disturbances with confusion and uncertainty about self-identity, sexuality, life goals and values, career choices, friendships. There is a deep-seated feeling that one is flawed, defective, damaged or bad in some way, with a tendency to go to extremes in thinking, feeling or behavior. Under extreme stress or in severe cases there can be brief psychotic episodes with loss of contact with reality or bizarre behavior or symptoms. Even in less severe instances, there is often significant disruption of relationships and work performance. The depression which accompanies this disorder can cause much suffering and can lead to serious suicide attempts.

This is her to a “T” (except the sex & promiscuity part)
And to add an element of fun and excitement to the mix she has taken it upon herself to relieve many on-line pharmacies of a goodly number of medications. She bought herself a PDR and has been self-medicating for years…She is an addict. She’s been hauled off to the hospital to have her stomach pumped, on a number of occasions.
Besides the obvious problems this generates - she IS an expert manipulator and she is highly intelligent and can appear to be teetering at the brink, but can pull back at the last possible moment, thereby preventing anyone from actually forcing her into a treatment program of some kind while making our lives miserable by raging, guilting and bullying and general havoc creation.

And were you to Google Narcissistic Personality Disorder, you would meet my father-in-law.

Diagnostic Criteria
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior – behaviour in his case), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by the following:
* Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
* Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions),
* Requires excessive admiration
* Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
* Is interpersonally exploitative, (not so much this…this’d fall more in to the mother-in-law category)
* Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
* Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
* Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

He is a nightmare to go anywhere with…A special spot in heaven is reserved for any service person (waiter, sales associate, etc) who has to deal with him.

Neither one thinks that they have a problem, both think that the other is troubled, and that WE are all to blame and responsible for cleaning up the mess…

The best treatment – move far away, get call-display, and develop a thick skin.

1 comment:

eyesallaround said...

BPD sounds like my mother... She can not get over anything in the past. Rags on my poor old dad constantly... almost like she enjoys torturing him. It's pretty sad.