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Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder

What is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness that centers on the inability to manage emotions effectively. The disorder occurs in the context of relationships: sometimes all relationships are affected, sometimes only one. It usually begins during adolescence or early adulthood.

While some persons with BPD are high functioning in certain settings, their private lives may be in turmoil. Bipolar disorder is one example of a misdiagnosis as it also includes mood instability. There are important differences between these conditions but both involve unstable moods.

Diagnostic Criteria

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self image and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

Personality Disorder

1. Fear of abandonment

2. Unstable or changing relationships

3. Unstable self-image; struggles with identity or sense of self

4. Impulsive or self-damaging behaviors (e.g., excessive spending, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).

5. Suicidal behavior or self-injury

6. Varied or random mood swings

7. Constant feelings of worthlessness or sadness

8. Problems with anger, including frequent loss of temper or physical fights

9. Stress-related paranoia or loss of contact with reality

*Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association

Finding Good Treatment 

The right therapist will be your partner and key to your recovery. You need someone who you can trust— who you feel comfortable talking to about difficult subjects and personal secrets. 

* Experience matters. 

* Learn about different kinds of treatment you can be offered

* Trust your gut. Your connection should feel right

* Do you feel that the therapist truly cares about you and your problems?

* Does the therapist accept you for who you are, without judging?

*Can you be honest and open about your most personal information and secrets?

* Is the therapist a good listener?