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Borderline Personality Disorder





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What is Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness characterized by changes in mood, self-image, and impulsive behavior.


-Mood swings and uncertainty about self-image and self-worth

-Drastic changes in values and perception of good and bad

-Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, such as rapidly initiating intimate (physical or emotional) relationships or cutting off communication with someone in anticipation of being abandoned

-A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)

-Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self

-Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating.

-Please note: If these behaviors occur primarily during a period of elevated mood or energy, they may be signs of a mood disorder—not borderline personality disorder

-Self-harming behavior, such as cutting

-Recurring thoughts of suicidal behaviors or threats

-Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days

-Chronic feelings of emptiness

-Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger

-Difficulty trusting, which is sometimes accompanied by irrational fear of other people’s intentions

-Feelings of dissociation, such as feeling cut off from oneself, seeing oneself from outside one’s body, or feelings of unreality

Treatments & Therapies

Borderline personality disorder is a tricky mental illness to treat. With recent evidence-based treatment, individuals with BPD experience less severe symptoms.

-Two types used for BPD:

-Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): This type of therapy was developed for individuals with borderline personality disorder. DBT uses concepts of mindfulness and acceptance or being aware of and attentive to the current situation and emotional state. DBT also teaches skills that can help:

-Control intense emotions

-Reduce self-destructive behaviors

-Improve relationships

-Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): This type of therapy can help people with borderline personality disorder identify and change core beliefs and behaviors that underlie inaccurate perceptions of themselves and others, and problems interacting with others. CBT may help reduce a range of mood and anxiety symptoms and reduce the number of suicidal or self-harming behaviors


-Research is still unclear on how effective medication is for BPD, but in some cases medications may be used to manage symptoms

Where To Begin

Making an appointment with a mental health provider
Talking to your Doctor
Support Groups

All information taken from:

NIMH - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Depression (NIH Publication No. 15-3561). Bethesda, MD: U.S. Government Printing Office.