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Borderline Personality Disorder

A Borderline Personality Disorder is a pattern of feelings and behaviors that seem correct to the person experiencing them. Even though these feelings and behaviors cause problems in that person’s life.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder that shows following symptoms:

  • Inappropriate or extreme emotional reactions
  • Highly impulsive behaviors
  • Unstable relationships

Intense mood swings, impulsive behaviors, and extreme reactions. This makes it difficult for people to complete schooling, maintain stable jobs and have healthy relationships.

It impacts thinking and feeling about yourself and others. This causes problems in everyday life. 

With borderline personality disorder, you have fear of abandonment or instability. Yet anger, impulsiveness and frequent mood swings may push others away. Even though you want to have loving and lasting relationships.

It usually begins by early adulthood.

Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Having an unstable or dysfunctional self-image or a distorted sense of self (how one feels about one’s self)
  • Feelings of isolation, boredom and emptiness
  • Difficulty feeling empathy for others
  • A history of unstable relationships that can change drastically from intense love and idealization to intense hate
  • A persistent fear of abandonment and rejection, including extreme emotional reactions to real and even perceived abandonment
  • Intense, highly changeable moods that can last for several days or for just a few hours
  • Strong feelings of anxiety, worry and depression
  • Impulsive, risky, self-destructive and dangerous behaviors, including reckless driving, drug or alcohol abuse and having unsafe sex
  • Hostility
  • Unstable career plans, goals and aspirations

Many people experience one or more of the above symptoms regularly. A person  will experience many of the symptoms consistently throughout adulthood.

When to see a doctor

If you think you have any of the signs or symptoms above, talk to your mental health provider.

Borderline Personality Disorder and Suicidal

Around 80 percent of people with borderline personality disorder display suicidal behaviors.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If you have fantasies or mental images about hurting yourself or have other suicidal thoughts, get help right away by calling or contacting:

  • local emergency number immediately.
  • suicide hotline number.
  • your mental health provider, doctor or other health care provider.
  • Reach out to a loved one, close friend, trusted peer or co-worker.
  • Contact someone from your faith community.

If you notice signs or symptoms in a family member or friend then talk to that person about seeing a doctor or mental health provider.

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

As with other mental health disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully understood. Borderline personality disorder may be linked to:

  • Genetics. 
  • Brain abnormalities. 

Risk factors

These include:

  • Hereditary predisposition. 
  • Stressful childhood. 


It can damage many areas of your life. It can negatively affect relationships, jobs, school, social activities and self-image, resulting in:

  • Repeated job changes or losses
  • Not completing an education
  • Multiple legal issues
  • Conflict-filled relationships, marital stress or divorce
  • Self-injury, such as cutting or burning, and frequent hospitalizations
  • Involvement in abusive relationships
  • Unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections, motor vehicle accidents and physical fights due to impulsive and risky behavior
  • Attempted or completed suicide

In addition, you may have other mental health disorders, such as:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or other substance misuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Other personality disorders

Source: psycom, mayoclinic