What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a condition in which a person has developed certain personality traits and patterns of behavior that cause problems socially and in relationships.

This is not necessarily an illness, but this can make some parts of their life difficult. People with a borderline personalities tend to have unstable moods and difficulty controlling their thoughts and emotions. These people tend to act impulsively. These traits sometimes lead to self-harming behavior, difficulty in relationships, and overreactions to stressful events.

These personality traits tend to develop in people who have had a difficult childhood or adolescence. Treatment can be achieved through psychological counseling.


Personality is the way that a person reacts to people and events in their life. The personality is formed during childhood as a result of family relationships, childhood experiences, and difficulties. Personality traits may also be partially inherited from one’s parents. If people develop personality traits that cause them difficulty in their life, this is called a personality disorder.

A major cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a traumatic life experience in childhood. This may include parental neglect, sexual abuse, or physical violence.

This condition is relatively common; it is estimated that up to 3 percent of the general population may have the personality traits of BPD. It tends to affect women more commonly than men. The personality traits tend to cause the most problems in early adulthood and become less troublesome as people grow older.


People with a borderline personality tend to:

  • Have unstable moods and difficulty controlling their thoughts and emotions
  • Often feel conflicting emotions
  • Act impulsively and, sometimes, aggressively

These traits sometimes lead to:

  • Self-harming behavior
  • Difficulty in relationships
  • Overreactions to stressful events

These people may find they experience similar problems in different relationships. They may also be involved in risky behaviors, such as:

  • Drug consumption
  • Eating disorders
  • A tendency to cause themselves harm


The diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is made after a thorough psychological assessment, which considers multiple aspects of a person’s life.

The diagnosis is often difficult as people with borderline personality disorder have often had multiple complicated experiences which have formed their personalities.

To make the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder, a doctor should exclude other causes for the symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.


Therapy aims to teach people with these personality traits how to manage difficulties and relationships and how to manage impulsive behavior. This is usually done by a psychologist.

It can take time for a person with BPD to learn new ways of dealing with problems, but this therapy can be effective if a person is determined.

Medications might be prescribed to help symptoms of depression or anxiety because people with BPD often also have these conditions.


It is difficult to prevent borderline personality disorder. Providing stable, loving support for a child or young person who is going through difficult times may help, as may early recognition and treatment of difficult personality traits.

**What is Borderline Personality Disorder?**

**Q: ⁤What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?**

**A:** BPD is a complex ‌mental health condition marked by unstable moods, intense emotions, and impulsive ‌behavior. Individuals with ‌BPD experience significant difficulty regulating their‌ emotions, maintaining healthy relationships,‍ and controlling ⁣impulsive actions.

**Q: What are the Symptoms of BPD?**

**A:** Common symptoms of BPD include:

* **Emotional instability:** Rapid mood‍ swings, extreme reactions, and intense mood episodes

* **Impulsive behavior:** Engaging in reckless or self-destructive actions, such as ⁤substance abuse, overspending, or unsafe sex

* **Self-harm:** Intentional physical harm inflicted on oneself

* **Suicidal thoughts or behavior:** Thoughts of self-harm or attempts to end one’s ‌life

* **Unstable relationships:** Intense, volatile, ‌or manipulative patterns in⁣ relationships

* **Fear ⁢of abandonment:** A persistent fear of being left alone or rejected

*‍ **Dissociation:** A feeling of disconnection or unreality, often in response to stress

**Q: What ‍Causes BPD?**

**A:** The exact cause⁤ of BPD is unknown, but it⁢ is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurobiological factors.

**Q: How is BPD Diagnosed?**

**A:** BPD ‌is diagnosed ⁣by a‍ mental health professional based‍ on ​specific criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The diagnosis typically involves a clinical interview, observation of behavior, ⁤and⁢ consideration of the patient’s history​ and symptoms.

**Q: What ‍are the Treatment Options for BPD?**

**A:** Treatment for BPD focuses on improving symptom management, reducing impulsive behaviors, and promoting emotional stability. Common treatment options ⁤include:

* **Psychotherapy:** Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Mentalization-Based Therapy (MBT) are evidence-based ⁣therapies designed to help individuals with ⁢BPD regulate their ⁢emotions and manage their behavior.

* **Medication:** Antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help manage symptoms.

* **Hospitalization:** In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary to prevent self-harm or other crisis situations.

**Q: What ‌is the Prognosis ⁤for BPD?**

**A:** The⁤ prognosis for BPD is variable and depends‍ on the‍ severity of symptoms, access to treatment,‌ and underlying ​support systems. With proper treatment, many people with BPD‌ experience significant improvement and can live fulfilling and ​productive lives.

**Q: How to Support Someone with⁤ BPD?**

**A:** Supporting someone with BPD can be challenging, but there are ways to help them:

* **Be patient‍ and understanding:** Recognize that their behavior is often driven by emotional dysregulation.

* **Set clear boundaries:** Let them know what is and is not acceptable, but do so with empathy and ⁢respect.

* **Encourage them ⁤to seek professional help:** Emphasize the benefits of therapy and encourage them to commit⁣ to treatment.

* **Listen without judgment:** Allow them⁣ to express their ⁣feelings without interrupting ⁤or dismissing them.

* **Offer practical support:** Help them access resources, such as crisis hotlines or support​ groups, when needed.

**Additional Resources:**

* [National Institute of Mental Health](https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/borderline-personality-disorder/index.shtml)

* [American Foundation for Suicide Prevention](https://afsp.org/)

* [Dialectical Behavior Therapy](https://www.dbtselfhelp.com/)


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