Borderline Personality Disorder

As a result of having borderline personality disorder, an individual is plagued by erratic mood swings and unstable feelings. It has a long-term effect on people’s mood, self-image, and behaviour, leading to impulsive behaviour and relationship issues in as many as 1.4% of adults in the United States.

At some point during adolescence and into early adulthood, borderline personality disorder symptoms are likely to become more apparent. Anger, depression, and anxiety can last from a few hours to a few days for someone with this disorder. People with borderline personality disorder are often able to manage their symptoms with treatment and make significant progress over time.

What are the symptoms of a borderline personality?

A serious mental illness, borderline personality disorder is characterised by an individual’s inability to control their emotions and a proclivity to see things from an extreme perspective. Interpersonal relationships may suffer as a result of the disorder’s tendency toward mood swings and impulsive behaviour. An individual may be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in addition to other mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or eating disorders, as well as substance or alcohol abuse.

Symptoms and Behaviors of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder is characterised by erratic moods and relationships. Intense and tumultuous relationships can result from rapid shifts in interests and values, as well as extreme emotional turmoil. Relationship issues, whether romantic, platonic, or professional, are all common occurrences. These are some of the most common behaviours and symptoms of BPD:

  • Continuous feelings of emptiness: borderline personality disorder patients often describe their feelings as “empty” or “numb”. Often, even if these people try to get rid of the nagging feeling with food, sex, alcohol, or drugs, nothing truly satisfies them.
  • An intense fear of abandonment can lead to real or imagined separation or rejection from others. Attempts to avoid abandonment, such as quickly establishing intimate relationships or cutting off communication with someone, may also occur (whether this threat is real or perceived).
  • Borderline personality disorder is characterised by a pattern of unstable and intense romantic relationships. One moment they may adore someone and the next they may find that same person cruel. Ending a good relationship can also be done without a significant reason.
  • For those with borderline personality disorder, sudden shifts in self-identity and self-image, as well as changes in goals and values, are common. One may even believe that they are an evil being or that they do not exist at all.
  • Mood swings: People with borderline personality disorder are prone to both short-term and long-term mood swings, including extreme happiness, irritability, guilt, sadness, and anxiety. These mood swings, on the other hand, last only a few hours or minutes, unlike the emotional mood swings of anxiety and depression.
  • Behavior that is impulsive and risky, such as drug use and gambling and/or sabotaging success.
  • Anger: Borderline personality disorder patients may frequently lose their cool and become enraged at themselves or others, which is a common symptom of the disorder. Fighting, shouting, and throwing things are common reactions.
  • Borderline personality disorder is characterised by feelings of dissociation, such as being cut off from oneself, seeing oneself from outside one’s body, losing track of reality, and feeling foggy and spaced out.
  • People with borderline personality disorder are more likely to engage in self-harm and suicidal thoughts as a result of their fear of separation or perceived rejection.

The onset of these symptoms can be set off by seemingly innocuous events, such as getting upset on the way to work or being temporarily separated from a loved one. It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone with BPD will exhibit all of these signs. In order to be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, a person must show at least five of the above symptoms, but some individuals will experience less than others. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these signs or symptoms of borderline personality disorder, it’s time to seek professional help.

Borderline Personality Disorder Risk Factors

As is the case with other mental health conditions, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t completely understood. This mental health condition affects both men and women equally; however, there are a number of risk factors that can be inherited, passed down through families, or encountered in society. These include:


People with a first-degree relative with a personality disorder, such as a parent or sibling, are more likely to suffer from the disorder themselves. However, just because someone has family members with a history of borderline personality disorder doesn’t mean that everyone in the family will develop it. Most people who have borderline personality disorder in their family history will never actually develop it.

structure of the mind

Those who suffer from the disorder exhibit a range of biological differences, including structural alterations in the brain. Any abnormalities in the structure or functions of the brain may increase the risk for borderline personality disorder.

Factors associated with the setting

Factors associated with the setting

Beyond biology and family history, environmental factors can contribute to developing borderline personality disorder as well. Abuse in the form of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse during childhood or adolescence, as well as childhood trauma or an unstable home environment, can all have an impact.

Risk factors are not the same as causes; just because someone has some of the risk factors does not mean they will develop borderline personality disorder. This must be understood. Actually, the disorder strikes as many people who have no prior history of it.

Conditions Similar to Borderline Personality Disorder

Additional personality disorders and mental health issues can have an impact on those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. There are many signs and symptoms of at least one other disorder in people who have more than one personality disorder. In some cases, symptoms can appear similar, yet they each have distinguishable differences and treatment plans. These include:

Other types of character flaws

Besides borderline personality disorder, there are many other types of personality disorders that change the way a person thinks and behaves. Types of personality disorders are grouped into three clusters based on similar characteristics and symptoms.

Cluster A personality disorders are characterised by odd, eccentric thinking and behaviour. These can include paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder and schizotypal personality disorder.

Individuals with a personality disorder classified as Cluster B are prone to having erratic, overly emotional, and dramatic thoughts and actions. Personality disorders such as antisocial, borderline, histrionic, and narcissistic tend to fall under this umbrella term.

Cluster C personality disorders are characterised by anxious, fearful thinking that can include avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.


This mood disorder is marked by feelings of sadness, loss, or anger and can severely impact a person’s quality of life. Depression is a fairly common mental health illness experienced by an estimated 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (CDC). Borderline personality disorder and depression are both possible co-occurring conditions.

Disorders of anxiety

An individual’s natural reaction to stress is anxiety. It is a feeling of fear or apprehension about what is to come, such as a job interview. Feelings of anxiety that last longer than six months and impact daily life are considered to be anxiety disorders.

Depression and manic episodes

Bipolar disorder is a common mental illness that can be severe and persistent. It causes a person to experience extreme highs and lows in their mood. While there are some similarities when comparing borderline personality disorder vs bipolar, there are distinct differences that are best recognised by a mental health professional.

Psychosis resulting from a traumatic event (PTSD)

Traumatic events set off this mental health condition. Whether a person experiences it, or witnesses it, symptoms of PTSD can include severe anxiety, as well as uncomfortable thoughts and feelings that can interfere with a person’s daily life.

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (ADHD)

ADHD is marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and impulsive hyperactivity. It can negatively impact a person’s normal functioning by causing a need to move about constantly and make hasty actions with the potential for harm.

Approaches to the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

Even though borderline personality disorder has a bad reputation for being difficult to treat, there are newer, scientifically validated approaches that have been shown to reduce the severity of borderline personality disorder symptoms. A mental health professional may recommend a treatment plan that includes one or more treatments, such as psychotherapy, medication, and hospitalisation. Over time, these therapies help a person’s day-to-day functioning, outlook, and quality of life improve. Maintaining a treatment plan that has been prescribed for you by a qualified mental health professional is critical.

Recognizing the problem

Diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is the first step in treatment. Ask your primary care physician for the name of an excellent therapist or psychiatrist in your area. You can also begin today by taking an online borderline personality disorder assessment.

The diagnosis process consists of a therapist asking you thorough questions about your current symptoms and emotional state and helping to determine if you have borderline personality disorder. An official diagnosis can only be made by a trained professional.


For the long term management of the symptoms of borderline personality disorder, psychotherapy is the primary treatment method. When it comes to treating emotional instability, therapy has proven to be a highly effective treatment option. Over time, new patterns of thinking can have a positive impact on your behaviour and outlook. The following therapies may be applied:

  • Dialectical behaviour therapy. This therapy type was developed for those who have borderline personality disorder and uses concepts of mindfulness and acceptance to help improve symptoms. Self-destructive behaviour can be reduced, and relationships can be strengthened, with the help of this therapy.
  • CBT (cognitive-behavioral therapy) This form of therapy helps a person identify and change unhealthy beliefs, behaviours and inaccurate perceptions they have about themselves or others. A person with borderline personality disorder may benefit from this therapy by feeling more healthy ways to react when they are angry, insecure, or worried.
  • Outpatient treatments. If a person is experiencing severe symptoms and needs intensive intervention and treatment, inpatient care and treatments may be used, as well as hospitalisation or emergency care in instances of self-harm.


In some cases, an in-person or online psychiatrist may determine that medication is also needed to assist in your treatment plan in addition to talk therapy. While medication does not cure borderline personality disorder, it can relieve its symptoms. Mood swings, depression, anxiety, and any other mental health disorders that may occur at the same time can be treated with antidepressants, antipsychotics, or antianxiety medications by a doctor.

Whenever You Need Help Right Away

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) by anyone with borderline personality disorder or anyone who knows them. This number is available around the clock, seven days a week. Calls are free, and any information you provide will be kept strictly private..

When a person is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, they can expect to face lifelong challenges and may struggle to control ongoing patterns of turbulent and unstable emotions. The key is to seek out professional medical help and stick with the treatment plan prescribed by a doctor. Over time, the combination of medication, therapy, and an overall healthy lifestyle can lead to increased satisfaction and stability following a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder.

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