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Alcohol and Mental Health

Quiet BPD: All Quiet on the Mental Front

July 11, 2023
8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 11, 2023
8 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 11, 2023
8 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 11, 2023
8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 11, 2023
8 min read

The title of the war classic All Quiet on the Western Front works through poignant contrast: while to the outside world a day during a war might look uneventful, for a particular soldier it can be anything but quiet.

In a similar way, in the world of Quiet Bipolar Disorder, emotional storms brew beneath a seemingly calm exterior. Let’s explore this lesser-known side of BPD, diving into its characteristics, underlying science, and ways to cope.

What Is Quiet BPD?

The term Quiet BPD might sound like an oxymoron. After all, most people are familiar with the bigger, more extroverted display of Bipolar Disorder symptoms, such as emotional outbursts.

People with Quiet BPD experience the typical symptoms associated with BPD, such as intense mood swings, fear of abandonment, and feelings of emptiness. However, instead of projecting these feelings outward, they internalize them. They're often wrestling with a self-critical inner voice and experiencing a deep fear of rejection that they keep hidden behind a façade of composure.

The Science Behind Quiet BPD

The causes of BPD and Quiet BPD are not entirely clear, but they’re likely due to a combination of genetic, environmental, and brain factors. Some studies suggest that BPD might be related to an overactive amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotion and fear responses. In other words, people with BPD may have a more reactive emotional center in their brain, leading to the intense feelings associated with the condition.

The Symptoms of Quiet BPD

People with Quiet BPD often wrestle with feelings of emptiness, self-doubt, and fear of abandonment, but they keep these fears to themselves. They might have an intense need for validation, yet rarely seek it. They may feel like they're on an emotional rollercoaster, but others might see them as even-keeled because they internalize their ups and downs.

Quiet BPD and Alcohol

Alcohol can make any struggle messier, and Quiet BPD is no exception. The effort to keep emotional highs and lows under wraps can be so overwhelming that some individuals might turn to alcohol as a way to cope. However, in reality, drinking too much often leads to increased emotional instability, anxiety, and additional health risks.

Looking at the science, the picture becomes clearer. Research shows that people with BPD are more likely to develop substance use disorders — including alcohol misuse — partly due to their high level of emotional distress. It makes sense: when we’re caught up in intense feelings, our priority is to find something that makes us feel a little more at peace.

Alcohol might initially appear to calm the emotional storm caused by an overactive amygdala, but chronic use can make emotions even harder to regulate, taking an extra toll on coping mechanisms.

Living With Quiet BPD

Now that we understand what Quiet BPD is, some potential causes, and its symptoms, how can someone living with this condition navigate their daily life in a healthy way? Let's break it down.

Acknowledge your feelings. Validate your own emotions. They are real, and they matter! Recognizing what’s going on in your mind without judgment is the first step towards managing these feelings effectively.

Ask for help. A mental health professional can give you the right tools and therapies to manage Quiet BPD. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has been shown to be a particularly effective modality.

Practice mindfulness. Activities like yoga, meditation, and deep-breathing exercises can help manage stress and promote a sense of calm.

Self-care. Eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and ensuring you get enough sleep can improve your overall mood and energy levels.

Build a support network. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members, or join a support group. You are not alone in this journey.

Create a routine. A predictable daily schedule can provide a sense of stability and control, helping reduce feelings of chaos.

Develop coping skills. Learn and practice distress tolerance and emotion regulation strategies, techniques for managing intense emotions.

Remember, Quiet BPD, like any mental health condition, doesn't define us — we are much more than our diagnosis! Living with Quiet BPD can be challenging, but with understanding, compassion, and the right tools, people with this condition can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.

After all, everyone has a unique story to tell and struggles to overcome. Likewise, we all have something we carry with us — seen or unseen — as we are navigating our own path.

Start Your Path With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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