Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition in which a person has long-term patterns of unstable or explosive emotions.
These inner experiences often result in impulsive actions, self-image issues, and chaotic relationships with other people.
What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder?
Borderline personality disorder causes are unknown. Genetic, family, and social factors are thought to play roles.
Risk factors for BPD include:
- Abandonment in childhood or adolescence
- Disrupted family life
- Poor communication in the family
- Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
Borderline personality disorder tends to occur more often in women and among hospitalized psychiatric patients.
Signs & Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
Persons with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly. They tend to view things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people can change quickly, for example a person who is looked up to one day may be looked down on the next day. These suddenly shifting feelings often lead to intense and unstable relationships.
Other Borderline Personality Disorder symptoms include:
- Intense fear of being abandoned
- Cannot tolerate being alone
- Frequent feelings of emptiness
- Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
- Impulsive and risky behavior, such as with substance misuse, gambling, binge eating, or sexual relationships
- Repeated crises and acts of self-harm
- Distorted sense of self
BPD has been known to lead to:
- Substance use
- Problems with work, family, and social relationships
- Suicide attempts, self-harm, and death by suicide
Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment and Help
Individual talk therapy can successfully treat BPD. In addition, group therapy can sometimes be helpful. In some cases, medications can improve mood states and treat depression or other disorders that may occur with this condition.
The outlook of treatment depends on how severe the condition is and whether the person is willing to accept help. With long-term talk therapy, the person often gradually improves.
Learn how to talk about mental health to help you speak to a loved one who you may think is experiencing any mental health concerns.
- If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org.
- To learn how to get support for mental health, drug, and alcohol issues, visit FindSupport.gov.
- To locate treatment facilities or providers, visit FindTreatment.gov or call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP (4357).
- An Introduction to Co-Occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders
- TIP 42: Substance Use Treatment for Persons with Co-Occurring Disorders
- National Institute of Mental Health: Borderline Personality Disorder
- National Alliance on Mental Illness: Borderline Personality Disorder