Borderline Personality Disorder: 10 Signs
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties in regulating emotion. This difficulty leads to severe, unstable mood swings, impulsivity and instability, poor self-image and stormy personal relationships. People suffering from borderline personality disorder often try to avoid situations that consist of abandonment or expressions of vulnerability. Persons loving with untreated BPD can experience an escalation of symptoms resulting in destructive behaviors, such as self-harm (cutting, burning) or suicide attempts. People who have BPD feel emotions intensely for extended periods of time, making it difficult it to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally intense event. Unfortunately, Suicide attempts and threats are fairly common for people with BPD.
These individuals are very sensitive to environmental circumstances. The perception of impending separation or rejection, or the loss of external structure, can lead to profound changes in self-image, affect, cognition, and behavior. BPD is one of many personality disorders that include an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates from the norm of the individual’s culture. The pattern is seen in two or more of the following areas: cognition; affect; interpersonal functioning; or impulse control. The enduring pattern is inflexible and pervasive across a broad range of personal and social situations.
The direct causes of borderline personality disorder are not fully understood, however, researchers believe BPD is the result of a combination of factor that include:
Heredity and genetics as persons with a familial history of the disorder are five times more likely to have a first-degree relative with the disorder.
Maladaptive brain functioning. The brain of individuals with BPD often works differently than those that do not have the disorder.
History of trauma or abuse (sexual or physical abuse in childhood), parental abandonment or neglect.
BPD is more prevalent in females than in males. 75 percent of BPD diagnoses involve females.
Symptoms of BPD include:
History of unstable relationships
Chronic mood swings
Self-harming behaviors (cutting, burning)
Suicidal threats or attempts
Attachment issues (unrealistic fears of abandonment)
Periods of intense depressed mood, irritability or anxiety lasting a few hours to a few days.
Feelings of emptiness
Intense or otherwise inappropriate anger responses
Like a lot of other mental illness there is no single medical test to diagnose the disorder. BPD like other serious mental health disorders require a combination of methods to accurately identify the disorder. BPD should be diagnosed by an experienced mental health professional following a comprehensive psychiatric assessment, interviews with all pertinent family members and friends, previous clinicians, and reviewing medical evaluations. To be diagnosed with BPD, a person must have at least 5 of the 9 BPD symptoms listed above.
Treatment of BPD can include individual and familial psychotherapy, medication, and support groups. The overarching goal is for someone with BPD to increasingly self-direct his or her treatment plan as he or she learns what works as well and what doesn’t.