What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects how a person can manage their emotions. Most people with BPD have unstable relationships, trouble with impulsiveness, and regulating their thoughts and feelings. Around 14 million Americans have borderline personality disorder, yet it is frequently missed due to stigma, or misdiagnosed as other mental health conditions. BPD is not a judgment; it is a diagnosis.

Symptoms to Look For

Man with borderline personality disorder conflicted brain

BPD affects how you act, how you relate to others, and how you feel about yourself. There is no clear cause for BPD, but research suggests that genetics, a person’s biology, and traumatic childhood experiences (abuse, neglect, bullying) are some contributing factors. Symptoms experienced include:

  • Mood swings go from intense happiness to irritability and shame over a few hours or days.
  • Constant feelings of emptiness.
  • Misplaced, intense anger such as losing temper often, having physical fights, displays sarcastic and bitter behavior.
  • A deep fear of abandonment to the point where you would take extreme measures to avoid a real or perceived separation.
  • Reckless, impulsive behavior such as unsafe sex, reckless driving, gambling, or spending sprees. May sabotage success by quitting a job or ending a good relationship.

If you notice these or other classic BPD symptoms in yourself, you should seek the help of a mental health professional such as a psychologist or a provider specializing in BPD. If these symptoms are exhibited by someone you love, you can start by encouraging them to talk with their doctor. Though you can’t force someone to get help, if the relationship is profoundly impactful to your life, you may benefit from counseling for yourself.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options

When engaged in specialized treatment, the outcome for those with a borderline personality disorder is good. Symptoms are reduced, and lives can be improved with psychotherapy (talk therapy), medications, or a combination. The different therapies will help you learn to manage your emotions under stress, improve relationships, and reduce impulsivity. While there are no FDA-approved medications specifically for BPD, other medications like antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood-stabilizing drugs can help with symptoms.

A Healthy Future

Achieving a balance of symptoms and treatment takes time. Some symptoms may never go away, and others may still be triggered during rough times. Give yourself the grace to get the help needed when you need it and keep an open line of communication with your provider.

Woman living with borderline personality disorder

As researchers continue to learn more about borderline personality disorder, new possibilities in managing this condition become possible. CoreClinical is participating in the progression of treatments for BPD and other conditions. To learn more about participating in enrolling BPD studies, call (425) 443-9551, or visit us here.





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