Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Symptoms of BPD

  • Mood swings
  • Periods of intense depression, irritability, and/or anxiety lasting from a few hours to a few days
  • Inappropriate, intense or uncontrolled anger
  • Impulsiveness in spending, sex, substance use, shoplifting, reckless driving, or binge eating
  • Recurring suicidal threats or self-injurious behavior
  • Unstable, intense personal relationships
  • Extreme black-and-white views of people and experiences, sometimes alternating between “all good” idealization and “all bad” devaluation
  • Persistent uncertainly about self-image, long-term goals, friendships and values
  • Chronic boredom or feelings of emptiness
  • Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment

Treatment for BPD


  • Reduces anxiety, depression and impulsivity
  • Helps one deal with harmful patterns of thinking and interacting
  • Fails to correct ingrained character difficulties
  • Antidepressants
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Neuroleptics


Short-term hospitalization when necessary during times of extreme stress, impulsivity or substance abuse

  • Generally difficult and long term
  • BPD symptoms often interfere with therapy
  • Usually effective

What is BPD?

  • Fairly common biologically based disorder
  • Characterized by impulsivity and instability in mood, self-image and personal relationships
  • Diagnosed more often in females than in males

Causes of BPD

  • Unclear, but psychological and biological factors may be involved
  • Originally thought to border on schizophrenia
  • Related to serious depressive illness
  • Associated with neurological and attention deficit disorders
  • Difficulties in psychological development during childhood due to such things as abuse or neglect may create identity and personality problems
  • More research is needed

Simultaneously present disorders

  • Serious depressive illness, including bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Alcohol/drug abuse
  • Sleep disorder
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