Borderline personality disorder
Borderline personality disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition in which a person has long-term patterns of unstable or turbulent emotions. These inner experiences often result in impulsive actions and chaotic relationships with other people.
Personality disorder - borderline
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Cause of borderline personality disorder is 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
This personality disorder tends to occur more often in women and among hospitalized psychiatric patients.
Persons with BPD are often uncertain about their identity. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly. They also tend to view things in terms of extremes, such as either all good or all bad. Their views of other people can change quickly. 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 symptoms of BPD include:
- Intense fear of being abandoned
- Cannot tolerate being alone
- Frequent feelings of emptiness and boredom
- Frequent displays of inappropriate anger
- Impulsiveness, such as with substance abuse or sexual relationships
- Repeated crises and acts of self-injury, such as wrist cutting or overdosing
Signs and tests
BPD is diagnosed based on a psychological evaluation that assesses the history and severity of the symptoms.
Individual talk therapy may successfully treat BPD. In addition, group therapy can sometimes be helpful.
Medications have less of a role in the treatment of BPD. But in some cases, they can improve mood swings and treat depression or other disorders that may occur with this condition.
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.
- Drug abuse
- Problems with work, family, and social relationships
- Suicide attempts and actual suicide
Calling your health care provider
See your health care provider if you or someone you know has symptoms of borderline personality disorder. It is especially important to seek help right away if you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide.
Blais MA, Smallwood P, Groves JE, Rivas-Vazquez RA. Personality and personality disorders. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, Biederman J, Rauch SL, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2008:chap 39.
Reviewed by:David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorousstandards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information andservices. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorialpolicy, editorialprocess, and privacypolicy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch.)
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatmentof any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 2015 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication ordistribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.