Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition characterized by an ongoing pattern of trouble regulating emotions. Those with BPD also often experience self-image issues, impulsivity, and unstable relationships. The symptoms of BPD can make it hard for individuals with the disorder to perform daily tasks and activities. It estimated that 1.4% of the United States adult population experience BPD, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Of that percentage, approximately 75% of those diagnosed with BPD are women.

For those with borderline personality disorder, there is hope. With treatment many individuals can manage symptoms and live their life to the fullest.

SIgns and SYmptoms

BPD can affect one’s self image, how they relate to others, and how they act or behave. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, that alternate between idealizing someone and believing someone doesn’t care or is cruel
  • Intense fear of abandonment, and often frantic efforts to avoid the real or imagined abandonment by friends or family
  • Distorted or unstable self image that can often affect mood, goals, relationships, and more
  • Impulsive behaviors that can often have dangerous outcomes, such as gambling, reckless driving, substance abuse, unsafe sex, and more
  • Self-harming behavior including self injury, suicidal threats, or attempts
  • Wide mood swings that can last a few hours or days and include intense feelings of happiness, depression, irritability, or anxiety
  • Dissociative feelings, such as feeling cut off from one’s self or out of one’s own body


The exact causes of borderline personality disorder are not fully understood yet but, experts agree that the disorder is the result of a combination of the following:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental factors
  • Brain function


Treatment varies by person, but the most common types of treatment used for BPD include the following: 

  • Medication
    • Although there is not one medication specifically made for the main symptoms of BPD, several medications can be used off-label to help treat symptoms.
  • Psychotherapy (often called “talk therapy”)
    • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Psychodynamic psychotherapy


If you or a loved one is in a crisis, it is important to get help immediately. If in danger of suicide:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest emergency room
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988

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