Borderline Personality Disorder Overview

Borderline personality disorder is an illness where people affected have ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. This often results in impulsive actions and problems in relationships. People with borderline personality disorder may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days. They might also experience mood swings and display uncertainty about how they see themselves. As a result, their interests and values can change quickly. People with borderline personality disorder also tend to view things in extremes, such as all good or all bad. Their opinions of other people can also change quickly, a person who a friend one day may be considered an enemy or traitor the next. Due to these shifting feelings people with this disorder can have a hard time with relationships. New evidence based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, anger management, dialectical behavior therapy, transference focused psychotherapy, psychotherapy, and schema therapy have proven to be effective. (Video)

Signs and Symptoms

When diagnosing people with borderline personality disorder, it is important to remeber that not all symptoms show in a person with borderline personality disorder.

  1. Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment, such as rapidly initiating intimate (physical or emotional) relationships or cutting off communication with someone in anticipation of being abandoned
  2. A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love to extreme dislike or anger
  3. Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating.
  5. Self-harming behavior, such as cutting
  6. Recurring thoughts of suicidal behaviors or threats
  7. Intense and highly changeable moods
  8. Chronic feelings of emptiness
  9. Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
  10. Difficulty trusting, which is sometimes accompanied by irrational fear of other people’s intentions

Stigma of Borderline Personality Disorder

Research has shown that through the depiction of borderline personality disorder in media such as movies and books, people have changed their thinking on the disorder in a negative way. A common stereotype the associated with the people have the disorder is that they are dramatic, manipulative, and attention-seeking. This stereotype has seen to cause therapists to not take the symptoms or fears seriously, negatively impacting the patients health. Stigma behind this disorder often leads to a misdiagnosis, due to the lack of understanding behind the disorder. Patients with Borderline Disorder can often be diagnosed as bipolar disorder or major depressive order, which can be detremantal to the patient.