• Alexis Sands

Ending the Stigma of BPD One Book at a Time (Part II)

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Other stigmas I have encountered reading reviews and comments about Slated (Book One in my series) center around substance abuse and mental illness. In both Books One and Two, there is drug use.

Many people expressed distaste for the characters using drugs. Some resorted to name-calling while others blamed moral weakness. These reactions highlight their misunderstanding(s) of the science behind self-medicating behaviors. When an adult reads a fiction novel, some general knowledge of the reader is inferred. I summarized below, a very simplistic summary of the contributing physiological factors of recreational drug use occurring in those struggling with mental illness.

When a person is under stress, such as when mental illness symptoms aren’t manageable, the chemistry in the brain and central nervous system functions change. Adrenaline and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine spikes. This elicits the ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The person’s body temperature rises and blood pressure rises, and their heart rate accelerates. Individuals feel irritable, jumpy, restless, anxious, and on edge.

Hence, to alleviate anxiety or mask certain symptoms, many with mental illnesses turn to various drugs, to self-medicate.

I’m considering adding an appendix to Book 2, for information like this. Further, perpetuating stereotypes and negative attitudes prevent those with mental illnesses and/or addictions from receiving adequate treatment on the whole in the US.

Also, impulsivity and risk-taking, in typically two areas, are symptoms of BPD. Not everyone diagnosed exhibits substance abuse. Others may exhibit reckless driving, spending excessively, sexual promiscuity, or binge eating.

I hope the release of Book 2, Split, deepens accurate understanding of the complexities of BPD.

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