Borderline Personality Disorder

A health condition in which people tend to have an increased risk of suicide and self-destructive behavior is called borderline personality disorder (BPD). The most common symptoms of this mental disorder are extreme mood swings, difficulty controlling emotions, and unstable relationships. Physicians usually prescribe talk therapy as a primary treatment for this condition.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

BPD is a mental health disorder, which is characterized by extreme mood swings, impulsivity, instability, and others. Most people with this condition experience intense fear, regulating emotion problems, and dangerous behaviors (including reckless driving). That’s why they cannot maintain relationships.

BPD is considered one of the group of diseases “Cluster B” personality disorders. These mental conditions are chronic dysfunctional behavior patterns that commonly provoke social problems and distress. Furthermore, many people live with this condition but do not realize they have it.

Is There a Difference between Bipolar Disorder and BPD?

While people with bipolar disorder also experience fluctuations in behavior and mood, these mental conditions are different. For example, those who suffer from BPD have a quick change in mood and behavior, especially when experiencing stress but in bipolar disorder moods are less reactive. Moreover, bipolar disorder can also cause significant changes in activity and energy while BPD does not.

Who’s Affected by Borderline Personality Disorder?

Usually, mental disorders start in the teen years. BPD is most diagnosed in people over 18 years old. However, anyone can get this condition but it is more likely if you have a family history. For example, people with the following mental disorders are at higher risk of developing BPD. For example anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and others.

Approximately 75% of BPD cases are diagnosed in women or people assigned to female at birth (AFAB). However, experts suggest that males and people assigned to males at birth (AMAB) can equally be affected by BPD as women and AFAB. In addition, men and AMAB are misdiagnosed in many cases with depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Common is BPD?

This mental disorder is considered rare because it affects only 1.4% of the adults in the United States.


People experience BPD symptoms in late teenage or early adulthood. The symptoms are usually caused by some stressful events. There are some symptoms that can disappear over time while others are severe and require treatment. For example:

  • Fear of abandonment – In such cases, people with borderline personality disorder feel uncomfortable when they are alone. They also can experience intense fear or anger.
  • Unstable or intense relationships – Usually, friendships, marriages, and relationships are unstable because of a quick change of mood. It means that a person with BPD can evaluate someone and abruptly change their view about the same person.
  • Unstable self-image – People with this mental condition often experience guilt or shame and see themselves as bad.
  • Fast mood swings – They can also experience the following emotions when it is not the case. For example anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, or love. The previous symptoms may change suddenly without any reason.
  • Impulsive and dangerous behavior – For example, reckless fighting, gambling, driving, substance use, unsafe sexual activity, and others.
  • Self-harm or suicidal behavior – Those who experience BPD can harm themselves including cutting, burning, or injured. Moreover, they can also have suicidal thoughts that commonly cause abandonment or disappointment in a lover or caregiver.
  • Persistent feelings of emptiness – In such cases, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing.
  • Anger management issues – Those who suffer from this condition often cannot control their anger. Thereafter, they can feel ashamed and guilty.
  • Temporary paranoid thoughts – In some circumstances, when an individual experiences extreme stress, it may lead to paranoid thoughts and hallucinations (rare).

Not everyone who experiences borderline personality disorder will experience all the symptoms listed above.


Experts consider the following factors to provoke this mental condition. For example:

  • Brain changes – When the brain part that is responsible for controlling emotions does not work properly, people can develop BPD.
  • Genetics – Another causing factor is genetics and it means that borderline personality disorder usually begins in families.
  • Childhood abuse and trauma – Approximately 70% of BPD cases are caused by emotional, sexual, or physical abuse in childhood. In addition, the following factors can also contribute to this mental disorder. For example maternal separation and poor maternal attachment.


Mostly, BPD develops during childhood and adolescence development. However, this condition is not commonly diagnosed before 18 years old. This category of mental disorders (including borderline personality disorder) can be challenging to diagnose.

Furthermore, people seek medical help when personality disorders cause anxiety or depression, or when they experience some health problems (such as divorce, lost relationships, and others).

Additionally, your doctor may direct you to a mental care specialist such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who will help to diagnose this condition. They usually diagnose a personality disorder based on the criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Healthcare professionals will ask some questions about your symptoms that will help to determine your previous work history, impulse control, and medical and family history.


Usually, it is quite difficult to treat this mental disorder. The treatment includes talk therapy (psychotherapy) and medications. Your doctors may also suggest a hospital for a short period because there is a place without any stressful events. However, people with BPD also experience other mental disorders. For example:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Somatoform disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Mood disorders

Therefore, if you have any of the previous conditions along with BPD, you will need treatment for both mental conditions.

Psychotherapy Treatment

This is considered one of the effective methods in the BPD treatment. Check below some examples:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) – During this procedure, people are helped to accept their own reality and behavior. DBT also helps to learn techniques on how to change your life.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – This therapy helps to look closer at your emotions and thoughts. Therefore, you will learn skills on how to manage your bad emotions and thoughts.
  • Group therapy – This therapy involves a group of people who discuss their problems under medical supervision. This treatment option can help to interact with other people more positively.


Usually, physicians do not prescribe medications are a primary treatment for borderline personality disorder. However, medications can be used when you experience other mental conditions along with BPD. For example anxiety, depression, mood swings, and others.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to prevent this health condition?

However, it is impossible to prevent BPD because it is an inherited condition (that passes from biological parents to biological children). Treatment can improve the symptoms and improve your overall quality of life.

What is borderline personality disorder?

This is a mental health condition in which people suffer from long-term patterns of unstable emotional states.

Can borderline personality disorder be cured?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to cure this condition. If you suspect you have this mental disorder or any others, do not hesitate to visit a healthcare professional.

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