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Borderline Personality Disorder is thought to be caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors – nature versus nurture. Now scientists are finding that cognitive training can alter brain chemistry. This is what I've long since known as I experienced this in my own recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder. The good news for those with BPD is that regardless of the degree to which brain chemistry may be altered (yet to really be proven) the fact is that therapy, specifically cognitive based therapy can alter brain chemistry and create the changes required in thinking to recover from Borderline Personality Disorder.

Audio Programs © A.J. Mahari

Science Daily (Feb. 9, 2009) — Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet have shown for the first time that the active training of the working memory brings about visible changes in the number of dopamine receptors in the human brain. The study, which is published in the journal Science, was conducted with the help of PET scanning and provides deeper insight into the complex interplay between cognition and the brain's biological structure.
"Brain biochemistry doesn't just underpin our mental activity; our mental activity and thinking process can also affect the biochemistry," says Professor Torkel Klingberg, who led the study. "This hasn't been demonstrated in humans before, and opens up a floodgate of fascinating questions."

Science Daily

The rest of the article talks in more detailed way about the neurotransmitter dopamine and how it plays a key part in many of the brain's
functions. "Disruptions to the dopamine system can impair working
memory, making it more difficult to remember information over a short
period of time …"
This is less the issue with the causation and reality that Borderline Personality Disorder is treatable and has a lot more to do with being applied, according to the article, to disorders "such as ADHD and schizophrenia."

This study though does, I believe, have some relevance to the reality of BPD and the fact that at the heart of BPD are fragmented and cognitively distorted or impaired patterns of thinking that have their roots in abandonment and/or childhood trauma – which can change brain chemistry – as well as in the effect of stress experienced when mirroring and attachment needs are not met causing an arrested emotional development which in many ways can be somewhat said to be what BPD really is.

I often receive emails from people diagnosed with BPD who think that what they've heard about BPD and the brain means that it will take some "magical pill" to "cure" BPD. Many who have emailed me also feel there is no reason to then work hard in therapy and take a self-directed and determined approach to the process and work of therapy.

Audio Programs © A.J. Mahari

There is a danger that some with BPD may start to believe that "my brain made me do it" or "my brain made me feel this" or "my brain made me say that" in what are not accurate beliefs, number one. And number two, in what are responsibility shirking victim stance mindsets that will only continue to keep borderlines stuck in the active throes of BPD.

It is also important for those with BPD to know that all of the information coming out from study after study these days, none of it proven or totally understood or directly related to any proven conclusion, does not mean that you cannot recover. This information does not mean that your brain is controlling you and that you can't help it and therefore aren't responsible for it. To think this way is to directly cause yourself to stay stuck in the pain and suffering of BPD.

There isn't and won't be any magical-cure-all pill. Each person with Borderline Personality Disorder still needs to take personal responsibility for getting into therapy, making a committment to do the work, stick with it, and to trust the process.

Let the awareness that you have choices to make be your guide. Your brain is not making choices for you. It's a part of it but it's not some automatic machine totally independent of what you think. Learn what it means that so much of what others refer to as your borderline behaviour has all to do with choices that you are making – often subconsciously.

Consciously or subconsiously – choices that are choices nonetheless.

Choices that are often limited to negative patterned ways of thinking distorted thoughts because those with BPD tend to experience what they feel as being real – often skipping being aware of what they are actually thinking. It is those thoughts that you are thinking, if you have BPD, that are producing the feelings that you are reacting to and acting on, often impulsively, that really fuel borderline behaviour and in fact, borderline pain and suffering.

So much of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialiectical Skills Training (DBT) therapy and other forms of therapy have at their core teaching the person with Borderline Personality Disorder how to be more aware of what they are thinking and how thoughts effect feelings to put it simply.

There is hope for change and recovery in and from Borderline
Personality Disorder even when things are talked about by professionals
in terms of having something to do with brain chemistry. It is
important with all the latest breaking studies to keep in mind the
awareness that BPD can be recovered from.

© A.J. Mahari, February 12, 2009 – All rights reserved (except for the quoted material noted above)

A.J. Mahari, who has been recovered from BPD for 14 years now, is a Life Coach who, among other things, specializes in working with those with Asperger's Syndrome and their partners, relatives, or friends. A.J. has 6 years experience as a Life Coach and works with clients from all over the world.

BPD and The Brain – Cognitive Training Can Alter Biochemistry Of The Brain