Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that affects how people feel and think about themselves and others, resulting in everyday functioning problems. It features difficulty controlling emotions and behavior, self-image issues, and a pattern of unstable relationships.
Those with borderline personality disorder possess an intense fear of abandonment or instability and may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Although they desire to have loving and lasting relationships, their inappropriate anger, impulsiveness, and mood swings may drive others away.
The onset of borderline personality disorder occurs in early adulthood. The condition is more pronounced in young adults, and it may gradually improve with age. If you have a borderline personality disorder, please do not give up. Many people with this disorder respond well to treatment over time and can live full and satisfying lives.
Symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder can affect your feelings, your relationships, and your behavior.
Symptoms and signs may include:
- An acute fear of abandonment that may consist of extreme measures taken to avoid real or imagined rejection or separation
- A pattern of intensifying or destabilizing relationships that tends to idealize someone one moment and believe that person does not care or is cruel the next
- Rapidly changing goals or values
- Self-image and self-identity changes such that one is bad or doesn’t exist at all
- Stress-related paranoia and dissociation from reality lasting from a few minutes to hours
- Risky or impulsive behavior may include driving recklessly, engaging in dangerous sexual activity, binge eating, substance use, spending sprees, or sabotaging success
- Self-injurious or suicidal behavior often perceived by the fear of separation or rejection
- Mood swings like intense joy, shame, irritation, or anxiety can last several hours or days
- Feelings of emptiness
Anger, often expressed inappropriately, such as often losing one’s temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical confrontations
This information is not to diagnose or treat any symptoms. Talk with your doctor or a mental health provider and seek help if you notice one or more of the signs or symptoms listed above.
If You Have Suicidal Thoughts, Seek Professional Assistance Immediately
- Call 911 or your local emergency number
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) any time of day or night
- Contact your mental health professional, doctor, or another healthcare provider.
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