Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder characterized by unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. People with BPD may experience intense and unstable emotions, have difficulties with self-image and identity, and struggle with interpersonal relationships.

BPD displays a range of symptoms, including emotional instability marked by intense mood swings, impulsive behavior, and difficulties in maintaining stable relationships. These symptoms often result in disruptions to daily life and overall well-being.

Definition of Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a psychological health condition defined by a pervasive pattern of instability in mood, behavior, self-image, and social relationships.

People with BPD may experience intense and rapidly shifting emotions, fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, and impulsive behavior. BPD is a complex and challenging condition that can significantly impact a person’s daily life and is associated with a high risk of suicide and self-harm. It’s important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional if you think you or someone you know may be struggling with BPD.

People with BPD often experience intense mood swings, exhibit impulsive behaviors, and struggle with their sense of identity.

Key features of BPD include:

  1. Emotional Instability: Individuals with BPD often experience intense and rapidly shifting emotions. They might go from feeling extremely happy to deeply sad or angry within a short span, and these emotions can be triggered by seemingly minor events.
  2. Impulsive Behavior: BPD may lead to impulsive actions without considering the consequences. This could include reckless driving, substance abuse, binge eating, overspending, or engaging in unsafe sexual practices.
  3. Unstable Relationships: People with BPD often have trouble maintaining stable and fulfilling relationships. They may experience a pattern of idealizing others at first, then quickly shifting to devaluing them, leading to conflicts and frequent changes in their social circles.
  4. Distorted Self-Image: Individuals with BPD often struggle with a sense of self-identity. They might have an unstable self-image, fluctuating between feelings of worthlessness and having a distorted perception of themselves.

This disorder affects approximately 1-2% of the general population, significantly impacting an individual’s thoughts, emotions, and functioning.

Borderline Personality Disorder


Some common symptoms of BPD include:

  • Intense fear of abandonment or rejection
  • Unstable and intense relationships
  • Rapid changes in self-identity or self-image
  • Violent and self-devastating behavior, such as physical entity abuse, binge eating, or reckless driving
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Intense mood swings and emotional instability
  • Feelings of emptiness and loneliness
  • Paranoia or dissociation under stress


The exact causes of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are not fully understood, but research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and biological factors may play a role in the development of the disorder. Some realizable causes and risk factors involved:

  1. Genetics: BPD may have a genetic component, as the disorder tends to run in families. Studies have shown that individuals with a close family member who has BPD are at a higher risk of developing the disorder themselves.
  2. Childhood Trauma: People who experience childhood abuse, neglect, or other traumatic events may be more likely to develop BPD. Traumatic experiences during childhood can disrupt normal brain development and lead to difficulties in regulating emotions.
  3. Environmental Factors: Growing up in an unstable or chaotic home environment, experiencing ongoing stress, or having a history of unstable relationships may contribute to developing BPD.
  4. Neurobiological Factors: Research has shown that people with BPD may have differences in the structure and function of certain areas of the brain, such as the amygdala and prefrontal cortex, which are involved in regulating emotions.

It’s important to note that having one or more of these risk factors does not necessarily mean that a person will develop BPD. The disorder is complex and can be influenced by a range of factors. If you or someone you know is struggling with BPD, it’s important to seek professional help from a mental health provider who can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.


Diagnosing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) involves a comprehensive evaluation by a mental health professional. The diagnosis is typically made by a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another qualified mental health provider.

The evaluation will typically involve a combination of the following:

  1. Medical History: The mental health provider will take a detailed medical history to rule out any underlying medical conditions or medications contributing to symptoms.
  2. Psychological Evaluation: The provider will conduct a psychological evaluation to assess the person’s symptoms, behaviors, and emotional functioning.
  3. Diagnostic Criteria: The provider will assess the person’s symptoms against the criteria listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals.
  4. Self-Report Measures: The provider may use self-report measures, such as questionnaires or interviews, to gather additional information about the person’s symptoms and functioning.

To be diagnosed with BPD, a person must meet specific criteria outlined in the DSM-5, which include:

  1. A distributive pattern of instability in social relationships, self-image, and emotions.
  2. Marked impulsivity in at least two areas, such as substance abuse, binge eating, reckless driving, or self-harm.
  3. Intense and unstable emotions, such as anger, anxiety, or depression, are typically short-lived and may change rapidly.
  4. Chronic feelings of emptiness, boredom, or dissatisfaction.
  5. Frequent changes in self-image, goals, values, and career plans.
  6. Fear of abandonment or rejection, and frantic efforts to avoid it.
  7. recurrent suicidal actions or dangers, self-injury, or some other kinds of self-injury.

It’s important to note that a diagnosis of BPD should only be made by a qualified mental health professional and based on a thorough evaluation of the person’s symptoms and history.


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can be effectively treated with a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and self-help strategies. The goal of treatment is to help the person manage their symptoms, improve their relationships, and lead a fulfilling life. Here are some common treatments for BPD:

  1. Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is a cornerstone of BPD treatment. Several types of therapy have been shown to be effective for BPD, including Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Schema-Focused Therapy, Mentalization-Based Therapy, and Transference-Focused Therapy. These therapies aim to help the person develop skills to manage their emotions, improve their relationships, and increase their self-awareness.
  2. Medication: Medications may be used to manage specific symptoms of BPD, such as anxiety, depression, or mood swings. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics are commonly used in BPD treatment. However, medication is usually used in conjunction with psychotherapy, as medication alone is not a sufficient treatment for BPD.
  3. Self-Help Strategies: Self-help strategies, such as practicing mindfulness, getting regular exercise, and engaging in enjoyable activities, can help the person manage their symptoms and improve their overall well-being.
  4. Hospitalization: In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to stabilize the person’s symptoms and ensure their safety.

Treatment for BPD can be a long-term process, and the person may experience setbacks along the way. It’s important to work with a qualified mental health professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and develop a personalized treatment plan.

Coping Strategies

In addition to professional treatment, there are many coping strategies that can help people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Here are some effective coping strategies for BPD:

  1. Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness can help reduce anxiety, improve mood, and increase self-awareness. Through practices like meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, one can practice mindfulness, which is paying attention to the present moment without passing judgment.
  2. Self-Care: Taking care of yourself is important when managing BPD. This can consider getting enough sleep, eating a poised diet, and engaging in activities that yield you joy.
  3. Supportive Relationships: Having supportive relationships can help people with BPD feel less alone and reduce their risk of self-harm. Support can come from family, friends, or a support group for people with BPD.
  4. Boundary Setting: Setting healthy boundaries with others can help people with BPD feel more in control of their relationships and reduce feelings of anxiety or rejection.
  5. Distraction Techniques: Engaging in activities that distract from distressing thoughts or emotions can be helpful for people with BPD. This can include activities such as drawing, reading, or watching a movie.
  6. Self-Soothing: Engaging in self-soothing activities, such as taking a warm bath or listening to calming music, can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

It’s important to remember that coping strategies may vary from person to person, and it may take time to find what works best for you. Seeking professional support and guidance can also be helpful in developing effective coping strategies for BPD.

Borderline Personality Disorder


Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition characterized by instability in interpersonal relationships, self-image, and emotions. It can be a challenging condition to live with, but with the right treatment and coping strategies, people with BPD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Cure for BPD generally involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and self-help strategies. Coping strategies for BPD can include mindfulness, self-care, supportive relationships, boundary setting, distraction techniques, and self-soothing. It’s important to work with a qualified mental health professional to develop an individualized treatment plan and find the coping strategies that work best for you.

If you want to read more articles similar to Borderline Personality Disorder, we recommend that you enter our Mental Disorders category.


What does it feel like to have borderline personality disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, with intense and rapidly shifting emotions that can be difficult to control.
People with BPD may feel a strong fear of abandonment, struggle with unstable relationships, engage in impulsive behaviors, and experience a sense of emptiness or loneliness.
These symptoms can lead to a great deal of distress and difficulty functioning in daily life.

Is a borderline personality disorder a serious mental illness?

Yes, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is considered a serious mental illness. It is a complex condition that can lead to significant distress and difficulty functioning in daily life.
BPD is associated with a high risk of suicide and self-harm, and people with BPD may struggle with other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It’s important to seek help from a qualified mental health professional if you think you or someone you know may be struggling with BPD.

What happens if BPD is untreated?

Challenges in relationships, higher risks of mental health issues, self-harm, difficulties in work or academics, and ongoing emotional distress.

What are the 7 symptoms of BPD?

Emotional instability, impulsive behavior, unstable relationships, fear of abandonment, unstable self-image, suicidal behavior or self-harm, intense mood swings.

Can people with BPD love?

Yes, individuals with BPD can experience deep and meaningful love. However, their fear of abandonment and emotional sensitivity might affect how they express and handle relationships.

What do people with borderline personality disorder think?

People with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) may experience thought patterns that are intense and extreme.
They may have difficulty regulating their emotions, which can lead to a tendency to see things in black-and-white terms. For example, they may view situations, people, or themselves as either all good or all bad. This “splitting” can lead to difficulties in relationships and a sense of instability or confusion.
People with BPD may also experience a sense of emptiness or loneliness, which can lead to impulsive behaviors or self-harm. Overall, the thought patterns of individuals with BPD can be complex and challenging and often require professional help to manage effectively.

Do borderlines cry a lot?

People with BPD might experience frequent crying spells due to intense emotions and distress, but it varies among individuals.

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