What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental health condition. It impacts how a person feels about themselves and others. BPD is characterized by intense, unstable emotions, difficult relationships, and personal feelings of insecurity.
People with BPD often experience intense and unstable emotions over long periods, making it difficult to return to a stable baseline following an emotionally provoking incident. This instability may lead to self-harm, and other harmful habits might stem from a lack of self-control.
Gender Differences in Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?
Recent research has demonstrated that men and women are diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) equally. However, men and women may experience different presentations of BPD symptoms. Men are more likely to demonstrate an explosive temperament and have a substance use disorder or an antisocial personality disorder. Women are more likely to develop eating, mood, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders.
Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
BPD symptoms commonly arise in late adolescence or early adulthood. A troubling or stressful event might either set off or worsen symptoms. Symptoms usually fade away with time.
Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms may present differently for each person and range from mild to severe in intensity. Since BPD and bipolar disorder symptoms are similar, individuals frequently mix the two.
The following are the most prevalent symptoms of BPD:
- Frequent and intense mood swings
- Fear of abandonment
- Difficulty maintaining relationships
- Impulsive and dangerous behavior
- Unstable personal relationships
- Distorted and unstable self-image
- Self-harming behavior, including suicidal threats or attempts
- Dissociative feelings
Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder
Researchers believe BPD is the result of a variety of factors, including:
People who have been through traumatic life events, such as physical or sexual abuse as a child, or neglect and separation from their caregivers, are more likely to develop BPD.
While no one gene or gene profile has been proven to cause BPD, research has shown that having a family member with BPD increases the chances of a person developing it.
The brain parts that control emotions, decision-making, and judgment may look differently for individuals with BPD, suggesting a neurological basis for some symptoms.
Treatments for BPD
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a treatable condition. Individuals with BPD can manage their symptoms and live fulfilling lives. Examples of treatment options include:
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are most used to treat BPD. A counselor works with the client during several sessions to learn distress tolerance skills, emotional regulation skills, how to recognize and change unwanted behaviors and how to gain a new perspective to help improve relationships with oneself and others.
Although no medication can cure BPD, doctors may prescribe one or more drugs to alleviate its symptoms such as anti-depressants. Medications can help manage anxiety and depression, mood swings, and impulsive behavior.
Frequently Ask Questions
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is often misunderstood. To support a loved one with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), you may want to consider:
- Reading up on common myths of BPD: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) holds many misconceptions, such as being untreatable, resulting from child abuse, or only affecting women. By researching the disorder, you will be more equipped to help someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) receive quality care and treatment.
- Looking for warning signs: People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) often struggle with self-regulation. Keeping an eye out for self-harm, relationship instability, or extreme emotional swings may help identify symptoms that may require treatment.
- Speaking honestly and kindly: Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a treatable condition, and many people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) go on to live long and fulfilling lives. If you would like to encourage a loved one to seek treatment, staying positive and speaking to them without judgment is important.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) impacts men and women equally. However, how men and women may experience Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) symptoms may differ. For example, while men are more likely to engage in substance abuse, women are more likely to develop disordered eating.
There is no “best” treatment. Individualized treatment plans are most efficacious. Speaking honestly to your practitioner or therapist can help you find what type of treatment suits your needs, goals and personality.
The information on this page, or elsewhere on this site, is not intended to take the place of diagnosis, treatment or informed advice from a qualified mental health professional. You should not take or avoid any action without consultation with the latter.
If you would like to talk to a counselor, please click here.
Borderline personality disorder – Symptoms and causes. (2019, July 17). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20370237
Borderline personality disorder. (2019, October 5). NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): Symptoms, Treatment, Causes. (2018, September 13). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9762-borderline-personality-disorder-bpd