Borderline personality disorder: Topics for research paper

The subject of personality and emotions covers many psychological conditions concerning emotional regulation, including borderline personality disorder. Some people have difficulty managing their emotions, controlling addictions or dealing with feelings of suicide, such as with comedian and Oscar-winning actor Robin Williams who recently succumbed to suicide due to borderline personality disorder.

Well-known actor Robin Williams suffered from borderline personality disorder. (Credit: Politisite.com)

Well-known actor Robin Williams suffered from borderline personality disorder. (Credit: Politisite.com)

Another example, borderline personality disorder symptoms can include impulse control and difficulty relating to others. Here are some good research paper topics for personality and emotion issues, conditions and treatments.

How do you study personality and emotion?

The Personality and Emotion Research Lab at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia offers context for personality and emotion studies: “Emotion regulation is what we all do to change emotions we would prefer not to have, increase emotions we want, and express emotions in a way that works for us. Dealing with other people, managing stress, functioning at work, and simply getting through the day all require some degree of emotion regulation. Some people, however, struggle with emotion regulation difficulties on a chronic basis.”

Robin Williams: bipolar disorder sufferer

On August 11, 2014, actor and comedian Robin Williams, a sufferer of borderline personality disorder, committed suicide. He was known to experience episodes of extreme energy and productivity, followed by low points of severe depression, which are the standard symptoms of borderline personality disorder. Sadly, his manic style of comedy, which made him famous, was also a symptom of his illness.

In an interview with Terry Gross on the NPR program Fresh Air, he said he gets manic at times but not always, and when he comes down from the emotional high it hits him hard. It was after a long period of depression that he took his own life at the age of 63.

Medication for borderline personality disorder is essential, yet some people feel it puts them in a fog and limits their creativity or ability to make emotional connections with people. “People who limit their treatment or stop taking medications may be at higher risk for the symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, such as mania or depression. Most people with bipolar disorder need lifelong treatment for the concern, as there is no cure for it,” said John M. Grohol, Psy.D., in “Robin Williams, Bipolar Sufferer, Dead at 63 Due to Suicide,” posted online at Psych Central.

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a debilitating mental illness. People with borderline personality disorder have emotional instability in emotional situations. They fear being alone yet they also push people away if they feel confused about the emotional relationship they have with that person. They have low self-esteem, a distorted self-image, and frequent mood swings. Patients engage in risky and destructive behavior, have anger outbursts, and sometimes attempt suicide. Patients are difficult to treat and often fail to respond to treatment.

Therapies for borderline personality disorder

Another good research paper topic is to describe and explore effective therapies for borderline personality disorder. For patients with BPD, “Promising Psychotherapies for Personality Disorders,” by George Hadjipavlou and John S. Ogrodniczuk, a study published in Canadian Journal of Psychiatry April 2010, revealed that “beneficial effects of psychotherapy included [in the study] reduced symptomatology, improved social and interpersonal functioning, reduced frequency of maladaptive behaviours, and decreased hospitalization.” In addition, “many of the treatments studied required only limited training by therapists.”

One effective therapy is dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), developed by psychologist Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s. DBT is a cognitive behavioral approach that encourages patients to feel better about themselves; helps identify thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that make life problematic; and helps patients work through problems in their relationships with others.

Resources for personality and emotion topics

American Psychological Association at apa.org – offers information on various psychology topics including addiction, ADHD, depression, eating disorders, learning & memory, and stress.

PsychCentral.com – online source for information on such topics as alcoholism, anxiety, child disorders, depression, PTSD, and sleep problems.

For more information, check out Questia’s library on Personality & Emotion. 

What are some other personality and emotion psychological topics that would make good research papers?

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