This is a title of an article I recently came across in a health related magazine. Amazing results in just days! The attraction of the quick fix is strong, especially when you’re feeling emotional distress. If you feel worthless, have no appetite, want to stay in bed all day, are extremely emotional or feel tension, anxiety and discomfort wouldn’t it be wonderful to have “amazing results in just days?”
The central goal of DBT is to change problem behaviors. This is accomplished through focusing on changing the thoughts and emotions that precede problem behaviors, as well as by solving the problems you face that contribute to problematic thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
Making change is an incredibly complex and difficult process. Problems with money, eating, aggression, self-injury, gambling, substances or relationships often feel intractable. We may want to improve finances and physical or mental health, spend more time with family or get out of a job rut. A 2003 study in The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions found people who express a commitment to change are significantly more likely to change than those who do not. So how do you select that all important goal that will improve your life?
What makes some people able to manage life’s daily stresses and burdens with equanimity, while others experience an emotional rollercoaster when they hit even the slightest bump in the road? Are they simply built differently? Is it a result of a better childhood? Traumatic experiences? Our DNA?
People diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often experience some of the greatest struggles with everyday obstacles. They frequently describe themselves as having problems controlling emotions, being moody, getting angry quickly and feeling like relationships are out of control. Superficial cutting, over or under eating, drinking excessively, substance abuse, using physical violence and interpersonal struggles with friends and family members are common high risk behaviors. Negative emotions and problem behaviors seem ever present, whether they want them or not.
In her book Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, Marsha Linehan, Ph.D., explains her bio-social theory for understanding where these problematic emotions and behaviors originate. Linehan’s theory suggests that BPD is primarily a dysfunction in how our bodies regulate emotions. In other words, some people are hard-wired to be more sensitive to emotional stimuli than others. Those who are diagnosed with BPD tend to be highly sensitive and reactive to emotional events.