a couple that fights about borderline personality disorder

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

If you have recently been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you are probably wondering what to expect regarding this condition. Understanding your condition will help you work closely with your health care team to get your life back on track. 

Borderline personality disorder, often referred to as BPD, is a mental health condition characterized by significant emotional instability. Your image of yourself is often severely distorted, and you may feel worthless or flawed. 

You may desire to feel loved and accepted but push others away because you don't feel worthy of receiving love. Frequent bouts of anger, being moody, and acting impulsively may make it difficult for you to develop close relationships with others. 

Borderline Personality Disorder Causes

The exact cause of borderline personality disorder is not known or fully understood. However, experts agree that a combination of factors may play a role in the development of the condition. Often no single, clear cause is found for cases of borderline personality disorder. 

Genetics may be a factor. Mental health disorders often run in families and may be inherited, especially if family members suffer from other mental health conditions.

Abnormalities in the brain may cause aggression and anger. A deficiency of certain chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, can cause mood fluctuations and emotional instability.

Environmental factors are found in many BPD sufferers. Those who have experienced childhood abuse may develop the condition. Feeling neglected by loved ones or caregivers when young may contribute to the development of BPD. 

Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms

  • Being aware of self-destructive behavior but feeling helpless to change it
  • Participating in risky behavior such as driving above the speed limit, having unprotected sex, gambling, or using drugs
  • Intense episodes of anxiety and depression that come and go
  • Feeling alone or hopeless
  • Feelings of self-hatred
  • Antagonistic behavior, getting into fights

Borderline Personality Disorder Risk Factors

Both environmental and hereditary factors play a role in shaping your personality. Experiences during your childhood years should be considered when determining your risk of developing BPD. Risk factors include: 

  • Severe neglect or abandonment by loved ones
  • Physicial or sexual abuse in youth
  • Having a family member who has been diagnosed with BPD, anxiety, depression, or other mood disorders

Borderline Personality Disorder Treatments

Treatments vary based on the severity of your condition. Psychotherapy and counseling are useful. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular treatment and helps you learn alternative strategies for coping with negative thinking. Antidepressant, antipsychotic, and antianxiety medications may be used in combination with therapy. However, medications alone do not cure BPD.

In severe borderline personality cases, hospitalization may be recommended, especially in cases in which self-harm or suicidal thoughts are present. 

Being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder can be discouraging. However, most people with the disorder go on to live happy and productive lives. You should seek a counselor who specializes in BPD. Working closely with your counselor will help you get the best results from your treatment plan. 

Last Updated: March 02, 2015