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Mental Illness

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder is categorized under mental health illnesses. It is a disease in which the patients undergo instability in emotions, relationships with others, or themselves.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) comes under the mental health disorder of ailments. In this ailment, the patient suffers from having a personality disorder. It causes disturbances in the way the person thinks. As a result of this, it becomes difficult to conduct even day to day functions. Furthermore, the person also suffers from self-image issues. It normally occurs in early adulthood.

Patients are extremely sensitive that makes them vulnerable. A little action can upset them and bring out a range of emotions in them. It becomes difficult to calm them at that moment. This ultimately leads them to have difficulty in keeping up good relationships with friends and family members. They also tend to indulge in risky behavior and cause self-harm to themselves.

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

The common symptoms of this medical condition are as follows

Fear of Being Left Alone

People suffering from this disorder have a continuous fear of being left alone by loved ones. This can result in a frenzied effort to keep the loved ones close by. The person may raise their voice for the loved ones to not leave them. Also; they might physically try to stop their loved ones from leaving.

Changes in Self-Image

This disease makes the person have changes in the way they think about themselves.  At certain times, the patients might feel themselves in a good mood, and sometime later, they might feel as if they are worthless. They can start to have negative thoughts about themselves. They question the purpose of their lives. They live with a constant feeling of worthlessness.

Imperfect Relationships

People suffering from borderline personality disorder do not tend to have perfect relationships. Friendships and any other relationships are short-lived. Suffering from an erratic compilation of emotions, none of the relationships they have last for a long time. This leads to these patients suffering from an emotional void too. Consequently, they deal with non-companionship.

Feeling of Hollowness

Patients of this disorder suffer from a feeling of hollowness. They feel some emptiness within themselves. To fill this void, they might take up bad habits like alcohol, drugs, smoking.

Self-Destructive Nature

Patients with a borderline personality disorder also suffer from self-destructive nature and behavior.  Such patients may indulge in alcohol, drugs, risky sex, reckless driving, shoplifting, and other such behaviors. After behaving in such a manner, they might feel a high momentarily but it harms them in the long run.

Cause Harm to Themselves

Such patients can tend to harm themselves too in certain cases. They might have suicidal thoughts. They can even hurt themselves intentionally by cutting or burning themselves. Such behavior is common among such patients.

Unstable Emotions

Patients with borderline personality disorder have extreme levels of unstable emotions running through their minds. At one moment, they can be joyful, and soon they might become sad. Small and simple things can bring intense happiness to them. Similarly, small things can make them sad. Such unstable emotions are termed as mood swings.

Not Able to Control Anger

The patient is unable to control extreme anger. They can have physical fights too.  Even small things can alter their good mood into a bad one immediately.


There is a constant feeling of disconnectedness with themselves for patients of this disease.  They also feel disconnected from the surroundings and people around them.

Borderline Personality Disorder BPD

Borderline Personality Disorder Causes

This medical condition can be caused by a combination of factors and not necessarily one cause. Few of the causes of BPD are mentioned below.

Issues with the Chemicals in the Brain: When serotonin or other chemicals in the brain are not in the right quantity, it can lead to this medical condition in the person.

Genetics: Certain genes if inherited from parents can lead to the child being diagnosed with this ailment.

Environmental Factors: Environmental factors can lead to a person being diagnosed with the borderline personality disorder. A few of such factors can be being neglected by either or both parents, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, some sub-conscious fear, or growing up with someone who has had a mental disorder.

Improper Brain Development: If the brain has not developed in a proper manner, people might develop borderline personality disorder over a period of time.

Types of Borderline Personality Disorder

There are four types of borderline personality disorders. They are

Discouraged borderline personality disorder

In discouraged BPD, the patient has extreme co-dependency behavior. They bring out their anger with people close to them and live with them. They will have suicidal thoughts. A constant feeling of worthlessness exists in them. All these facets can lead them to depression too.

Impulsive borderline personality disorder

In a patient with impulsive BPD, there is always some magnetism. They are full of energy. They wish to have attention most of the time. They are often impulsive too conducting themselves in a particular manner without thinking of the consequences. They feel the necessity to have the approval of people around them.

Petulant borderline personality disorder

In the petulant type of BPD, the patient has unpredictability, defiance, irritability, and impatience. Along with being resentful, they are often pessimistic and want their way always. They can get angry all of a sudden. They can even self-harm themselves in order to get attention.

Self-destructive borderline personality disorder

In this type of BPD, the patients can involve themselves in self-destructive behavior. They consume themselves in self-loathing and bitterness. The feeling of being abandoned by loved ones continuously exists. With the feeling of hollowness existing, they can hurt themselves in an attempt to feel something.

Borderline Personality Disorder Tests

BPD is diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional. They apply the following approach.

  • A proper consultation
  • Conducting a thorough medical examination on the patient

Often BPD leads to other mental health conditions too. Examples are depression, bipolar disorders, and anxiety disorders. The licensed mental health professional will be able to come up with the proper diagnosis.

BPD Complications

The main complications arising out of this disease are drug abuse, issues with family and friends, inability to maintain relationships, repeated job losses, indulging in rash driving and other risky actions, and having suicidal thoughts. Apart from these, the other complications that arise are medical in nature. Patients suffering from BPD often get diagnosed with other mental illnesses like anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorders, and depression.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment


Presently, there are no approved medications from the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of this disease. Certain medications are prescribed to treat the symptoms. Also, medications are given for the mental illnesses that the patient gets diagnosed with. Medications include antidepressants, mood stabilizing drugs, and antipsychotics.


The main treatment of BPD is psychotherapy. It is also referred to as talk therapy. The main aim of this mode of treatment is :

  • For the patient to learn about their disease
  • To learn to manage the emotions that cause distress
  • To learn to maintain healthy relationships with loved ones
  • Adapt to reduce the impulsiveness associated with the disease

There are various subcategories of psychotherapy. A few of them are mentioned below.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This type of psychotherapy involves individual and group therapy. It involves a skill-based approach in an attempt to learn to live and manage the patient’s emotions, improvement of relationships, and to tolerate distress.

Mentalization Based Therapy (MBT)

This is a form of talk therapy that helps to realize and identify the patient’s feelings and thoughts at a particular time and then try to create a different perspective of it. It works on the principle of thinking before action.

Schema Focused Therapy

This form of therapy can be done in a group or individually. It aims to identify the unmet needs of the patient which can have led to unhappiness and dissatisfaction. It aims to form positive life patterns in the patient.

Systems Training for Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS)

This approach involves a 20-week treatment cycle inclusive of working in groups that constitute loved ones, caregivers, or spouses. It is conducted with other types of the approach too.

Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP)

Transference focused psychotherapy is also referred to as psychodynamic psychotherapy. It focuses on the developing relationship between patient and therapist. The aim is to be able to comprehend the patient’s emotions and interpersonal difficulties. The findings and insights are then applied to ongoing situations.

Good Psychiatric Management

This form of approach of psychotherapy involves an attempt to comprehend emotionally trying moments. It tries to understand the patient’s interpersonal aspect of feelings. It can be an individual therapy or with groups and loved ones. Medications are also involved.

How to Cope With BPD?

A patient with BPD has to learn to cope up with the disease. Few ways to do so are mentioned below.

  • Knowledge is power. Learn about the disease. It will aid you a great deal. If you are a family member of a BPD patient, then you need to learn about the disease too. It will help you to deal with the uncertain emotions of the patients in a better way.
  • Get professional help. This will work a great deal to make things better for the patient as well as the family members of the patient.
  • Recognize what factors trigger the outbursts or the impulsive behavior and then try to control those aspects with time.
  • Talk to your therapist or caregiver about it in detail. Talking will help in bringing out facts about the occurrence of the symptoms.
  • Try meditation. This will help in coping up with the symptoms during an outburst.
  • Get proper treatment for your condition.
  • Follow the treatment plan with dedication.
  • Talk to your caregivers and loved ones freely about your emotions and thoughts. It will help to bring out in words the emotions you are feeling.
  • Do not overthink about how people will feel about you. Your loved ones know about your diagnosis and are there to help you out.
  • Join a talk group. This way, you will come to know about other patients’ conditions too and how they cope. You can learn something from it in how to deal with your own conditions too.
  • You build your support group. It can involve your friends and family.
  • Learn not to blame yourself. You have an ailment. Learn to accept it and live with it in the most positive way.
  • Exercise daily. It will help to reduce stress.
  • Try meditation. It will help to deal with the disease and the stress.
  • Have a balanced diet with healthy food items.

When you’re in the throes of overwhelming emotions, you’re unable to think straight or stay grounded. You may say hurtful things or act out in dangerous or inappropriate ways that make you feel guilty or ashamed afterward. It’s a painful cycle that can feel impossible to escape. But it’s not. There are effective BPD treatments and coping skills that can help you feel better and back in control of your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Frequently Asked Questions (BPD FAQs)

How does a person with BPD behave?

A person with BPD has a continuous feeling of abandonment, emptiness along with a series of mood swings. They also behave impulsively and can get angry at little matters.

Can a BPD person live a normal life?

It is difficult for a BPD person to live a normal life but with proper medications and therapy, they can live a satisfactory life.

Does BPD get worse with age?

This medical condition usually begins in early adulthood. Initially, it gets worse and improves moderately with age.

What happens if BPD is left untreated?

If BPD is left untreated, the effects can be mortifying. It can affect their relationship with their friends and family. They can self-harm themselves, cause accidents, get STDs, or even think and conduct suicide.

What medications are usually prescribed for BPD?

Mood stabilizers and antipsychotic medications are usually prescribed for BPD?

How to deal with a BPD spouse?

Communication is the first and foremost way to deal with a BPD spouse. The normal spouse should not blame the BPD spouse and should always be supportive by words and actions. Threats given by the BPD spouse should not be ignored.

Is there any hope for someone with BPD?

Yes, there is hope for people with BPD as treatment is available.

Can BPD patients get diagnosed with other mental health conditions?

Yes, BPD patients can be diagnosed with other mental health conditions like anxiety disorders, bipolar disease, and depression.