Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

window, girl, alone
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline personality disorder is a mental health disorder that impacts the way you think and feel about yourself and others, causing problems functioning in everyday life. It includes self-image issues, difficulty managing emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable relationships.

With borderline personality disorder, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Yet inappropriate anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.

When to Seek Help

Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights
Forms of Treatment

Borderline personality disorder is mainly treated using psychotherapy, but medication may be added. Your doctor also may recommend hospitalization if your safety is at risk. A complete diagnosis is helpful by a psychologist or a psychiatrist incase there might be other underlying mental health diagnosis. 

Treatment can help you learn skills to manage and cope with your condition. It’s also necessary to get treated for any other mental health disorders that often occur along with borderline personality disorder, such as depression or substance misuse. With treatment, you can feel better about yourself and live a more stable, rewarding life.

What to Expect From Therapy

Psychotherapy — also called talk therapy — is a fundamental treatment approach for borderline personality disorder. Your therapist may adapt the type of therapy to best meet your needs. The goals of psychotherapy are to help you:

  • Focus on your current ability to function
  • Learn to manage emotions that feel uncomfortable
  • Reduce your impulsiveness by helping you observe feelings rather than acting on them
  • Work on improving relationships by being aware of your feelings and those of others
  • Learn about borderline personality disorder

Common Therapy styles include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT is the main evidence based treatment strategy that includes group and individual therapy designed specifically to treat borderline personality disorder. DBT uses a skills-based approach to teach you how to manage your emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
  •  Others include Psychodynamic Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, DBT informed therapy and good psychiatric management.