Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health disorder that impacts the way a person manages emotions about themselves and others, causing difficulties when forming relationships. Oftentimes, conflicts in relationships can trigger severe, rapid fluctuations in mood.
People with BPD can be high functioning in certain settings, but have trouble self-soothing during times of stress and tend to have extremely intense emotional responses to upsetting life events. As a result, they may turn to self-harm or other self-destructive behaviors. People with BPD are also known to be impulsive and even reckless, in some cases.
Other mental health conditions are often seen in coordination with BPD, such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse, ADHD and other personality disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Symptoms of borderline personality disorder include:
- strong emotions that can change quickly
- a pattern of intense but unstable relationships
- impulsive behavior (such as spending too much money in a short amount of time)
- frequent episodes of anger or anxiety
- intense emotional pain that can lead to suicidal or harmful behaviors
- viewing things in extremes (black and white thinking)
- difficulty regulating emotions (such as expressing anger in an extreme way when the situation doesn’t call for it)
- frequent feelings of abandonment, even when faced with a realistic separation or loss
- chronic feelings of emptiness
- difficulty trusting and/or being suspicious of people’s intentions
Symptoms of BPD generally start around adolescence or early adulthood. Someone with BPD may experience only a few symptoms, while others may experience a larger number of symptoms. Symptoms can be triggered by “ordinary” events, which can make it seem as though the person is overreacting.
Psychiatrists can accurately diagnose BPD, so if you or a loved one are showing symptoms, schedule a consultation with our physicians at Florida Family Psychiatry today.
Although BPD is commonly confused with Bipolar disorder because they both have symptoms of impulsiveness and mood swings, the two have several key differences. For starters, Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, while Borderline Personality Disorder is a personality disorder.
Consequently, the mood swings associated with Bipolar disorder last from four days to months and are accompanied by changes in sleep, energy, speech, and thinking. Since Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder, it can be better managed with mood-stabilizing medications.
On the other hand, people with Borderline Personality Disorder have a pattern of moment-to-moment swings in mood, relationships, self-image, and behavior that are triggered by interpersonal conflicts and/or upsetting life events (reactionary). They are also more likely to have problems with self-harm, addictions, eating disorders, body image, and anxiety. Since Borderline Personality Disorder is a personality disorder, medications alone are not always effective and therapy is also recommended.
There is no single test to diagnose BPD. Instead, BPD is diagnosed after a physical exam, discussion of your medical history, a review of symptoms, and ruling out other conditions that cause similar physical symptoms. You will likely be asked to fill out a self-assessment and/or answer specific questions so that your physician can give you an accurate diagnosis.
In most cases, a combination of talk therapy and medication is recommended. Talk therapy can help change thoughts and behaviors associated with BPD and can improve how those with BPD interact with others, while medication is generally used to balance brain chemicals that affect mood and emotions. It is important to note that medication may or may not be used to treat BPD, depending on the severity of mood swings and/or the diagnosis of co-occurring mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Did You Know?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NAMI), people with Borderline personality disorder are at a significantly higher risk of self-harm and suicidal behavior than the general public.
- Borderline Personality Disorder in Adolescents, 2nd Edition: What To Do When Your Teen Has BPD: A Complete Guide for Families
- The Borderline Personality Disorder Workbook: An Integrative Program to Understand and Manage Your BPD
- Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder | Audiobook
- I Hate You–Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality
- Loving Someone with Borderline Personality Disorder: How to Keep Out-of-Control Emotions from Destroying Your Relationship
Some of the contents on this Florida Family Psychiatry (FFP) webpage were sourced from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the National Institute of Mental Health, and their affiliates. The content on this page should be used for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. FFP has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the content on this website. However, the information is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind.
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