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What are the Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder?

A female sits with an anguished look on her face, she holds her chin in her hand while someone off screen holds her for comfort

Frequent outbursts, mood swings, and self-harming behaviors are some signs of Borderline Personality Disorder. If you or someone close to you experiences intense emotions, impulsive behaviors, and unstable relationships, it may be BPD. Learn to spot the signs and symptoms, so you or your loved one can get treatment that works. 

What are the signs of Borderline Personality Disorder? Let us explain them and how you can treat it.

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

People with Borderline Personality Disorder tend to demonstrate impulsive behavior and have unstable relationships. They may experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety. These feelings can last anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Characteristics of Borderline Personality Disorder include:

  • Mood swings
  • Trouble controlling emotions
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Intense feelings

Symptoms usually appear during adolescence or early adulthood, but they can appear at any time.

What are the Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder can cause wide-ranging symptoms. If you experience BPD, you may have problems with jobs, relationships, self-image, and your social life. You may feel extreme emotions and rapidly shifting feelings in how you relate to friends and family members. And you may face difficulties in the workplace or at home.

Impulsive behavior is also typical in Borderline Personality Disorder. Excessive drinking or drug use, compulsive shopping, engaging in risky sexual activity, or binge-eating are possible signs of this mental health issue.

Signs and Symptoms include:

  • Fear of abandonment
  • Unstable relationships
  • Impulsivity
  • Self-harm or suicidal behaviors
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Risky behavior
  • Mood swings and emotional instability
  • Paranoid thinking
  • Dissociation (feeling numb or like you are not really in your body)
  • Irrational fear and difficulty trusting people
  • Paranoia

Not everyone experiences every symptom, and symptoms can change over time. Sometimes people also may have other illnesses that contribute to the symptoms or complicate the diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, stress can increase symptoms. 

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What are the Risk Factors for Borderline Personality Disorder?

The causes of Borderline Personality Disorder are unknown. Researchers say genetics, family, and social factors may play a role in increasing a person’s risk. Evidence shows that there are changes in the brain structure of people with the disorder. Having a relative with the condition or childhood trauma also may increase the risk.

Risk factors include:

  • Family history and genetics
  • Brain factors
  • Environmental factors
  • Abuse and trauma
  • Childhood abuse, trauma, neglect
  • Early separation from caregivers
  • Either real or fear of abandonment in childhood or adolescence
  • Disrupted family life
  • Poor communication in the family
  • Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse

Not everyone with risk factors for Borderline Personality Disorder will develop it. Also, people can develop the disorder without having any risk factors or discernible causes.

There is no medical test to confirm that someone has the disorder. Instead, mental health professionals base the diagnosis on symptoms and mental health history. For a diagnosis, a person must experience five or more signs and symptoms in various contexts.

Can You Treat Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline Personality Disorder is treatable. With psychotherapy and medication for specific symptoms, you can learn to cope with and manage your symptoms. Effective treatment takes time and patience. Sometimes a short hospital stay may be necessary, but, overall the outlook is good.

Successfully treating the disorder requires expert care and long-term commitment. Finding treatment that addresses the whole person — mind, body, and spirit — is essential for successful outcomes.

Borderline Personality Disorder often co-occurs with other mental illnesses and addictions. An effective treatment plan will address all concerns and the co-existing issues.

ILC Can Help You Overcome Borderline Personality Disorder

Recovering from Borderline Personality Disorder begins with getting an accurate diagnosis. Integrative Life Center’s mental health professionals can identify issues, diagnose the condition, and pinpoint any other co-occurring illnesses that may be contributing to the issue. You can get appropriate treatment for the disorder and other co-occurring conditions at ILC. Contact us today to get on the path to a healthy and happy life.

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