Ever wondered exactly how Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) affects your brain? A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto looks at the patterns of brain activity that underlie the intense and unstable emotional experiences associated with BPD.
“We found compelling evidence pointing to two interconnected neural systems which may subserve symptoms of emotion dysregulation in this disorder,” said Neuropsychologist Dr. Anthony Ruocco of the University of Toronto. “The first, centered on specific limbic structures, which may reflect a heightened subjective perception of the intensity of negative emotions, and the second, comprised primarily of frontal brain regions, which may be inadequately recruited to appropriately regulate emotions.”
In their report, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, the researchers describe two critical brain underpinnings of emotion dysregulation in Borderline Personality Disorder:
- Heightened activity in brain circuits involved in the experience of negative emotions.
- Reduced activation of brain circuits that normally suppress negative emotion once it is generated.
According to the researchers, the reduced activity in the frontal area of the brain (the subgenual anterior cingulated) may be unique to Borderline Personality Disorder and could serve to differentiate it from other related conditions, such as recurrent major depression.
You can find the complete study, as well as the researchers’ methods, on the Biological Psychiatry website.