What you Need To Know About Borderline Personality Disorder in 2018

What you Need To Know About Borderline Personality Disorder in 2018

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder is a mental disorder. People with this disorder have unstable relationships and extreme mood changes, such as sudden shifts to anger or sadness. They sometimes do things that seem extreme and can even be violent. Plus, they act without thinking about the consequences.

Caretakers are often intimidated or alienated by patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD), compounding the clinical challenges posed by the severe morbidity, high social costs and substantial prevalence of this disorder in many health-care settings. BPD is found in ∼ 1.7% of the general population but in 15–28% of patients in psychiatric clinics or hospitals and in a large proportion of individuals seeking help for psychological problems in general health facilities.

What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Borderline Personality Disorder?

People with borderline personality disorder often have the following symptoms:

  1. Unstable relationships
  2. Sudden shifts in how they see themselves or others
  3. Extreme mood changes, such as sudden feelings of rage, deep sadness, or total emptiness
  4. Problems with risk-taking – For example, they sometimes take illegal drugs or have unsafe sex, and they can be violent with themselves or others.
  5. Trouble thinking clearly or logically when overcome by emotion

Part of the reason that people with borderline personality disorder have unstable relationships is that they tend to see people in their life as all good or all bad. At one moment, they might feel close to a loved one; at the next moment they might feel disgusted by that person. People with borderline personality disorder can also misunderstand the reactions of others. For instance, they might think a person who likes them actually hates them.

People with borderline personality disorder often think about suicide. Roughly 1 in 10 people with the disorder actually kill themselves. For this reason, it's very important that people with borderline personality disorder be treated by a professional who has experience with the disorder.

Many people with borderline personality disorder have other mental problems, too. For example, they might have depression, anxiety or eating disorders, or they might abuse drugs or alcohol.

What Are The Causes Of Borderline Personality Disorder?

The cause of borderline personality disorder is not yet clear, but research suggests that genetics, brain structure and function, and environmental, cultural, and social factors play a role, or may increase the risk for developing borderline personality disorder.

  1. Family History. People who have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling with the disorder may be at higher risk of developing borderline personality disorder.
  2. Brain Factors. Studies show that people with borderline personality disorder can have structural and functional changes in the brain especially in the areas that control impulses and emotional regulation. But is it not clear whether these changes are risk factors for the disorder, or caused by the disorder.
  3. Environmental, Cultural, and Social Factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder report experiencing traumatic life events, such as abuse, abandonment, or adversity during childhood. Others may have been exposed to unstable, invalidating relationships, and hostile conflicts.

Although these factors may increase a person’s risk, it does not mean that the person will develop borderline personality disorder. Likewise, there may be people without these risk factors who will develop borderline personality disorder in their lifetime.

Is there a test for borderline personality disorder?

No. There is no test. But a mental health expert, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist, should be able to tell if you have it by learning about your symptoms, your relationships, and your experiences.

Should I get help?

If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, go to the emergency room or call for an ambulance (in the US and Canada, dial 9-1-1). If you have the symptoms described above and they make it hard for you to have a normal life, talk to a therapist who has experience treating borderline personality disorder.

How is borderline personality disorder treated?

The main treatment for borderline personality disorder is psychotherapy. There are different types of psychotherapy that can help. In general, they all focus on helping you learn new ways of thinking and behaving, so that you have less extreme mood changes and feel more at ease.

Many people with borderline personality disorder also benefit from medicines to help with mood changes, anger, and other symptoms

Mood changes

What will my life be like?

Experts used to think that borderline personality disorder was something you had for the rest of your life. New studies suggest that many people get much better over time. If you have borderline personality disorder, seek help and follow through with treatment.

All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.

Does Borderline Personality Disorder Get Better OR Worse With Age?

Some experts have speculated that BPD symptoms decline because the symptoms naturally “burn out” or that people simply grow out of the symptoms as they mature. In particular, research has shown that the impulsivity symptoms of BPD are the most likely to decline over time. This is consistent with the observation that, in general, older people engage in less impulsive behavior, even if they do not have BPD.

It may be that as we age and mature, the urge to engage in impulsive behaviors slowly goes away, allowing us to make more measured and rational decisions. Just as partying all night loses its appeal for many in their forties and fifties, impulsive or reckless BPD behaviors may also seem less natural.

This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. This is only a brief summary of general information. It does NOT include all information about conditions, illnesses, injuries, tests, procedures, treatments, therapies, discharge instructions or lifestyle choices that may apply to you. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.

You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to accept your health care provider’s advice, instructions or recommendations. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.

All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete.

Resources

Video Interviews With Medical Experts Covering Mental Health

National Alliance On Mental Illness


Related Content

Personality Disorders & Relationships: Unravel the Mystery. Rediscover Success.
Personality Disorders & Relationships: Unravel the Mystery. Rediscover Success.

Personality disorders affect someone's ability to relate to others. Almost 15 pe...

Read more
Menstruation Symptoms May Worsen for Women with Borderline Personality Disorder
Menstruation Symptoms May Worsen for Women with Borderline Personality Disorder

Women with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) tend to experience more severe ...

Read more
Personality Disorders & Relationships: Unravel the Mystery & Rediscover Success | OFFICIAL TRAILER
Personality Disorders & Relationships: Unravel the Mystery & Rediscover Success | OFFICIAL TRAILER

Personality disorders affect someone's ability to relate to others. Almost 15 pe...

Read more
How Rejection Feels With Borderline Personality Disorder - According to Research
How Rejection Feels With Borderline Personality Disorder - According to Research

Why do people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) find rejection so painf...

Read more
Childhood Roots Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Nipping It In The Bud Early On
Childhood Roots Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder & Nipping It In The Bud Early On

It’s estimated that up to 6% of the US population has narcissistic personality d...

Read more
Are Relationships A Struggle When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder?
Are Relationships A Struggle When You Have Borderline Personality Disorder?

Perhaps you first heard about borderline personality disorder from a celebrity w...

Read more